Davis College diplomats conquer Lisbon

Students from Davis College recently travelled to Lisbon, Portugal, to participate in the 20th Iberian Model United Nations conference. Over 400 students from all over the world participated in this conference. Students assumed the role of delegates in representation of countries or NGOs and debated pressing global issues such as the questions of the use of biofuels, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, ISIS, sexual education, human trafficking, mental health, digital privacy, corruption, etc.

Davis College students were the Irish entourage at this conference and represented the delegations of Japan, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Lithuania, Malawi, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Peru and Congo. Their preparation for this conference started months ago as they were researching the issues at hand, writing clauses, resolutions, speeches and position papers.

Once in Lisbon, they arrived at the conference furnished with a background knowledge and documentation that impressed all of those around them. During lobbying and caucusing time, they convinced other delegates to co-submit their resolutions. Over 60 resolutions were submitted but only the 8 best ones were selected by the international approval panel for debate: three of these were from Davis College and their submitters cannot receive enough praise for this achievement: Colin Roche, Hope Williams, Eoghan O’Leary Fitzpatrick and Joshua Sheahan (on the issue of the use of biofuels), Ciaran Teape, Lilly Aures and Aine Dunniece (combating human trafficking) and Jed Duane, James Redmond and Michael Leahy (transparency of governmental organis-ations).

During debate they presented outstanding speeches, gave remarkable answers to the different points of information (questions from other delegates) and many other delegates from other countries, impressed by the quality of the resolutions, spoke passionately in favour of the resolutions written by the Mallow students.

Questioned about this Lisbon experience and the participation in Model United Nations conferences, Eoghan O’Leary Fitzpatrick, said that it “gives you an opportunity to know about politics, get an insight onto different countries, understand different perspectives. It makes you come out of your own reality, eliminate stereo-types and appreciate how other people from various nationalities and cultures view the world around us”. Like the keynote speaker at the conference Richard Zimler said, it makes you appreciate that there is not only one truth about world issues and that your opinion is not necessarily it.

Davis College is now an excellence centre in Munster for public speaking and debating at secondary school level. It will organise in January the first ever International Model United Nations in Munster and the expectations could not be higher. Schools from all over the province and also from overseas will attend this conference.