Student diplomats engage at Model UN

9 July 2010

Student diplomats at the Asia Pacific Model United Nations Conference.
Student diplomats at the Asia Pacific Model United Nations Conference.

The United Nations represents an ideal in the world of justice and human rights and this week the University of Sydney will be hosting the Asia Pacific Model United Nations Conference (10 - 16 July), where tertiary students can exercise their diplomatic negotiation skills in a replica of the United Nations.

The conference features 17 general assembly committees and a fully operational mock press gallery. The opening ceremony will take place in the Great Hall, Camperdown Campus on Sunday 11 July.

Over six exciting days, 500 tertiary students from Australasia will have the opportunity to play the parts of international ambassadors debating topics of global significance, such as seaborne piracy and its root causes, the economic impacts of widespread HIV/AIDS, and how to aid the elimination of child soldiers.

"Participating in Model UN allows students to debate pertinent international issues in a truly international atmosphere with students coming from including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Pakistan, China, Singapore and Japan," says AMUNC spokesperson Amelia Joyner.

The Model UN is now in its sixteenth year. It was created to give young people the opportunity to recreate the environment of the intellectually and morally demanding world of the diplomatic ambassador. Students have the chance to wade in the deep end with disarmament and international security, law, economics, human rights, health, children's rights and the environment.

"AMUNC is not only a debate forum," says Amelia, "it allows students from our region to come together, share their stories and form lasting friendships, encapsulating the conference theme We the Peoples, which is taken from the first words of the UN Charter. This highlights how important it is not only to address these issues, but also to address them together as a region and as a global community."

Predominantly taking place in the new Sydney Law School building and McLaurin Hall, the conference will culminate on Friday 16 July at the Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour.

Some sessions will involve speaker panels with community leaders including Associate Professor Ben Saul, the Co-director of the Sydney Centre for International Law, the Hon Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia and Dr Eileen Pittaway, Director of the Centre for Refugee Research.

In his letter of welcome for the conference, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, congratulated the participating students "for taking part in one of the most practical, hands-on experiences in international diplomacy for young people."

He went on to say that as students participate in the Model UN, they "will get a full taste of the complexity of international relations. You will gain a better understanding of the intricacies of negotiations, the challenges of achieving consensus and the patience required to win diplomatic progress. These skills will help you in whatever course you choose in life," he said.

For more information, see the full conference program or visit the AMUNC website.

Media enquiries: Jacqueline Chowns, 0434 605 018,