Dubai: Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon to visit school, help students debate 'real-world issues'

Children to interact with the ex-Secretary-General at Q&A session during UN Model United Nations Conference



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by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 4:25 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Jan 2023, 10:29 AM

Students in several Dubai schools are gearing up for their Model United Nations (MUN) Conference, with one school looking to host none other than Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations (UN) where students play the role of delegates from different countries.

The agenda for the conference is primarily focused on various committees, where students are given subjects and questions that will be debated over the course of a few days, all with the goal of passing resolutions, similar to what happens at the UN.

The idea is to replicate the life of a UN ambassador representing their country, making hard and informed decisions based on research and debate to resolve “real world issues”.

Helen Al Uzaizi, Director of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Impact, GEMS World Academy – Dubai says, “On January 27-29, 2023, GEMS World Academy – Dubai is hosting one of the largest MUN Conference to date, involving over 600 students from 50 schools throughout the UAE. We are also honoured to have him joining us again this year as our ambassador, Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. He will join the students during the opening ceremony and will also spend some time meeting with the Secretariat team. They will have the opportunity to ask him questions about the UN and its global role. GWA MUN’s theme is ‘Envisioning innovative approaches to conflict mitigation’.”

Organising committee heads aver the level of preparation has been incredible, from the awards, communications and other logistical work revolving around the event.

Hitesh Bhagat, Principal, Dubai International Academy, Emirates Hills says, “DIAMUN is the largest MUN conference in the Middle East and is affiliated with The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) Foundation, one of the largest MUN organizations in the world. DIAMUN develops the skills of diplomacy, debate, dialogue and negotiation in students. It is completely student-run. Student leaders of DIAMUN have gone to universities like Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge and many others. It develops leadership and collaboration in students. Deep research is undertaken prior to the conference. Students have complete leadership over their learning.”

The DIAMUN that is scheduled to be held from March 3-5, 2023 will run under the theme, “Collaborating to Foster Sustainable Development.”

Bhagat adds, “The conference is paperless and uses an app developed by students of the school. DIAMUN contributes towards providing education to underprivileged through the philanthropy via the GIVE (Gift of Innoventures Education) initiative through Dubai Cares.”

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, Principal and Director of DPS Dubai, said, “Our school was one of the pioneers in organising the Model United Nations Conference in Dubai. It began as an intra-school event in 2008 and was quick to scale up to a student-led inter-school conference that welcomed its first cohort of delegates from schools across the UAE in 2012. MUN@DPSD has since had nine iterations and has grown from strength to strength with each passing year. The MUN conference is an incredible learning platform for students. During the conference, they split into nine committees that range from the United Nations Security Council, Futuristic Crisis Committee and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. They are then involved in extensive lobbying, hard bargain negotiations and finding innovative solutions to pertinent global challenges.”

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Schools act as a facilitator to the students by providing them with myriad opportunities through the year to perform thorough research, draft position papers and engage in constructive debates.

“As we gear up for the tenth edition of MUN scheduled to be held in April, we are focusing not only on the issues that are relevant to the UN but also on how the UAE is setting the stage for an impactful global climate summit, COP28. We believe that MUN inspires our youth to be an active force in moulding a fair and just society for the future of humanity,” adds Nandkeolyar.


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