On the weekend of May 28-29, 101 participants in 29 teams from 16 schools competed at the Western Sydney Model United Nations Assembly (WS MUNA) debating competition at Kingswood High School.
Most of the participants were colourfully dressed in National dress. The organising team from the Lower Blue Mountains Rotary Club faced a number of challenges in re-establishing WS MUNA which had not been held since 2019 due to COVID19 restrictions on large gatherings. It was difficult to re-establish links with teachers, as many had moved to new schools out of our area. Furthermore, most NSW schools were affected by the high student and staff absentee rates throughout the enrolment period which prevented 11 regular schools from participating this year
(Above)Participants resplendent in their National Dress competition
MUNA aims to provide students in years 10-12 with a hands-on experience of a United Nations-style (UN) conference modelled on the General Assembly. It enhances international understanding and goodwill, one of the main objectives of Rotary. After an initial round of general policy statements and bloc meetings where participants forge alliances and strategies for debating matters of world importance. Topics for debate included: The South China Sea Situation; Aggression against Ukraine; Global Climate and Covid 19; Effects of Universal Sanctions; Structural Reform of the UN; & International Co-operation on peaceful uses of Scientific and Technological Advances. Some teams even proposed their own resolutions for debate: Modern-day slavery and the exploitation of vulnerable workers; Prevention of Youth Crime in less economically developed countries; & Humanitarian concerns regarding aggression against Occupied Palestine.
All teams came well prepared, so the quality of the debate was passionate and of very high quality, making the adjudicator's task extremely difficult. Participants were fortunate to have Jack Maddock as a mentor. Jack was part of the successful MUNA team in 2019 that went on to win the National competition in Canberra, before travelling to New York to participate in a MUNA at the UN building. Adrian Zhang (right) representing Ukraine debating.
The team representing the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK - North Korea) won the Best national Dress Competition. Matthew Connor, Ewan Tamsett & Isabel Turner representing Switzerland won the Peace Prize. The best individual speaker was Lachlan Leith from the Saudi Arabian team. His team ultimately won the competition, with the team from Sri Lanka placed second. Both teams will be sponsored to attend the National MUNA to be held in the Old Parliament House, Canberra from August 19-21.
(Above) The team representing Saudi Arabia won WS MUNA 2022 shown with the perpetual trophy and individual certificates. Drew Fitzpatrick (Convenor); Jamie Wong; Lachlan Leith; Zayed Leith; Lindsay May (District Governor for District 9685).