Davis College hosts first international Model United Nations in Munster

On 20th, 21st and 23rd of January, Davis College welcomed students and teachers from nine different schools all over Munster and Portugal for the first ever International Model United Nations to take place in Munster. The event took place in Mallow GAA Complex, and as well as Munster schools, a school travelled all the way from Portugal to participate in this prestigious event. Throughout the three days of the conference, students became delegates of different countries and NGOs carried out a great deal of research and worked very hard to write clauses, engage in lobbying, debate and vote on their resolutions.

The focus of the debate was on three main issues: the question of self-determination of world nations; the question of women’s rights and closing the gender gap worldwide; and the question of climate change and its impact upon food and water availability. On the first day of the event the students and their chaperones were welcomed to Davis College, where they registered for the conference and were presented with a keynote address delivered by Dr. David Fitzgerald from UCC’s History Depart-ment. They then initiated lobbying, which was the time to find co-submitters for their clauses and submit them for debate.

The function room in Mallow GAA Complex looked just like the real UN General Assembly in New York. Delegates were given keynote addresses, this time by the special envoy of the Portuguese Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Joao Macedo, and by Palestinian activist, Dr. James Bowen, who spoke on that very same issue. Opening speeches followed and the rest of the day was devoted to the discussion of matters related to self-determination of world nations, such as the questions of Tibet, Kurdistan, Falklands, Northern Ireland and Palestine, among others. In fact, this mock general assembly approved in its resolution the creation of the state of Palestine. This was “a fundamental step towards the provision of international justice for the people of Palestine” said the delegate of the Palestinian National Authority, Ana Pedrosa, a student from the visiting Portuguese school. The question of Northern Ireland also led to quite a heated debate and the clause approved sees Northern Ireland facing a referendum in the coming years, similar to the one that took place in Scotland in 2013.

The following days were dedicated to the discussion of women’s rights and climate change. The former issue created a very inter-esting debate between two different civilisations: the western and the Islamic worlds. Many compromises were reached and diplomacy prevailed. As a consequence, very well structured and realistic clauses were approved. Climate change also led the delegates to an interesting debate on matters such as CO2 emissions, agricultural impacts, illegal logging, provision of water, tech-nological advances in terms of buildings, roads, etc.

Minister of State Seán Sherlock concluded the procedures at the closing ceremony with a speech in which he stated how impressed he was by the whole procedure, level of preparation and quality of the arguments. Toastmasters was repres-ented by Mr. Pat Sexton and its president Mr. Liam Flynn, who gave speeches about the importance of public speaking and debating.

A variety of certificates were awarded to the staff and delegates who stood out throughout the three days of the conference. These included leadership awards for those students in charge of the conference: Nathan O’Regan, secret-ary-general; Andrew Sheehan, head of administrative staff; Charlotte O’Callaghan and Alison Buckley, press; and Natacha Santos, chair.

Best Junior Delegate awards were given to the first and second year Davis College students: Turkey (Rory O’Connor), Austria (Emily O’Callaghan) and WWF (Adam McCarthy). Visiting delegates who participated for the first time in such an event were awarded the distinction of Best Debut Speakers: IMF (Padraig McAuliffe – Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig), Liberia (Imogen Green – Loreto School Clonmel), Sweden (Mariana Cardoso – CIC, Portugal), Russian Federation (Samuel Woodham – Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig), Armenia (Mairead O’Connor – St. Mary’s Charleville), Ethiopia (Aoife Osbourne – Scoil Mhuire, Blarney) and Zambia (Aisling Ni Mhurchu – Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig).

The awards of Best Second Language Speakers were given to the delegates of Serbia (Andres Garcia Treceno of Spanish nationality, Davis College), Greece (Szymon Kita of Polish nationality, St. Brendan’s, Killarney), New Zealand (Lilly Aures of German nationality, Davis College), Amnesty International (Giedre Klovaite of Lithuanian nationality – Davis College) and Brazil (Alexandra Domingues of Portuguese nationality – CIC, Portugal). Five students received the awards of Revelation of the Year. These included: Rep. Korea (Liam Flaherty – Davis College), Oman (Sadhbh Madigan – Loreto School, Clonmel), Niger (Alisha Nagle – Davis College), Norway (Orla Gaughran – Loreto School, Clonmel) and Germany (Cathal O’Brien – CBS, Charleville).

Higher prizes included the award of Most Disting-uished Delegates. All the chaperones at the conference elected the delegates of France (Jed Duane – Davis College), Mali (Cassie Morrissey – Loreto School, Clonmel), Iceland (Adina Zago – Mount Mercy, Cork), Ireland (Colin Roche – Davis College) and the Netherlands (Hope Williams – Davis College). The highest prize in contention was the award of Best Delegate split between a male and a female delegate: United Kingdom (Ciaran Teape – Davis College) and Argentina (Alison Clarke – Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig).