Over 100 secondary students from 17 different schools in Surrey, White Rock, and Langley debated global affairs at a Model United Nations (UN) on Saturday (Feb. 11) at Johnston Heights Secondary.
Krishna Verma co-founded the Model United Nations club with some of his classmates at Johnston Heights last year. The club is made up of mainly grade 11 and 12 students who meet weekly to learn about current world issues and the purpose of Model UNs. Verma, a grade 12 International Baccalaureate student, was the student in charge of Saturday’s Model UN.
Verma said Saturday’s event was the largest of its kind in Surrey.
This event was open to secondary students in the area who wanted to improve their debate and public speaking skills. It also provided students with an opportunity to debate and discuss, “global issues that certain politicians might glance over within the actual UN,” added Verma.
Irtaza Ahmad, a grade 12 student at Johnson Heights, was the co-head of the Model UN on Saturday.
“It’s a great platform for young individuals who are going into the political world to have a sense of what they’re possibly going to go into in the future,” said Ahmad.
Mat Giacomello, a global politics teacher at Johnston Heights, noted in a Surrey Schools post the students came up with the idea of hosting the event and they were “incredibly eager and excited to do it.”
The students represented different countries and discussed current and historical events, “in front of four committees modelled after groups from the UN:
•Historical Crisis Committee: analyzing and discussing the Berlin Crisis of 1961;
•Social Humanitarian & Cultural Committee: discussing the Uyghur Muslim disenfranchisement and oppression in China;
•United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime: discussing organ trafficking over international borders;
•United Nations Development Program: discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focusing on development of the nations.”
Over 100 secondary students from Surrey, White Rock, and Langley debated global affairs at a Model United Nations on Saturday (Feb. 11) at Johnston Heights Secondary. @SurreyNowLeader @Surrey_Schools 1/4 pic.twitter.com/MNrDgN3Zst— Anna Burns (@AnnaBBurns) February 11, 2023
“It’s quite a spectrum, and the students will get to discuss where their country lines up on those particular issues,” Giacomello said, adding that Model UN is also a great opportunity for students to develop public speaking skills.
“It’s great to see students become more involved in their understanding of politics,” he said. “Maybe it’s just because of the world and how kids are so connected now, it seems like younger generations are so much more connected to politics and global issues and international mindedness. It’s really encouraging for the future, as a teacher.”