Model United Nations

Nanoose Bay student leads a model UN conference that included young people from 10 Vancouver Island schools

Shawnigan Lake School student

Shawnigan Lake School student, Maddy Torrie, from Nanoose Bay, recently led a Model UN conference.

Ten schools from Vancouver Island participated in the simulation on groups including a variety of historical and current geopolitical issues including the International Criminal Court, a Crisis Committee, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the General Assembly.

“When I was nine, someone asked me what my favourite show was, and I told them, ‘the news,'” said Maddy Torrie. “With my interest in current events, joining the Model UN at Shawnigan made sense.”

The Model International Press Corps — selection of international news agencies —  created news articles about the other committees, which were displayed where all delegates could read them. They also prepared and executed lines of questioning for certain countries’ delegates in press conferences.

They debated topics like:

International Criminal Court Simulation: The Prosecutor vs Bashar Al-Assad.

Crisis Committee: The French and Indian War / Seven Years War.

General Assembly—SOCHUM: Social Issues of HIV/AIDS.

“Model UN is not just a challenging academic pursuit, it is also a chance to perfect public speaking skills and offers the opportunity to meet new people. Being part of the Model UN team, my public speaking skills have grown tremendously, and I have learned more than I could in any class,” Torrie said.

“Where debate gets more attention in some schools, I feel that Model UN’s are actually a more worthwhile endeavour as they focus on working with people of opposing stances and forming a common resolution rather than arguing solely for one side.”

The work at Shawnigan Lake School provides students with the opportunity to discover, debate and analyze global issues with other students. Although most of the program is focused on preparing for Model UN conferences, some opportunities are available to prepare for formal debate competitions on the Island. Students learn many skills, including greater confidence in their public speaking and research skills, a greater ability to build consensus with others on complex issues and to take interest in world affairs.

“Maddy has grown in confidence by leaps and bounds since attending her first Model UN conference last year,” said Shawnigan Model UN teacher, Paul Klassen. “She will go on to university and into life,  armed with the skill to analyze and solve problems at a very high level, making her highly qualified for just about any career she puts her mind to.”

— Submitted by Sarah Doyle,

Shawnigan Lake School