Haileybury has cemented its place as one of the top three schools in the country when it comes to debating issues of world importance. We achieved this accolade at the recent 22nd annual Royal Russell Model United Nations conference, which was attended by over 60 schools and 500 people.
Eleven Haileybury pupils, making up two teams, attended the gathering, known as one of the best MUN meetings in Britain, and competition was very high. The lead team was representing Spain while the second team represented Venezuela. Five Haileybury members came away with Distinguished Delegate awards while the lead team won a Distinguished Delegation award. Only two delegations from other schools received the same team award.
Spain was represented by Ben Rowe (B), Dan Kimpton (B), Will Taylor (Th), Kasita Rochanakorn (M), Suzi Battersby (Aby), Pete Gillespie (B) and Rob Millar (B) while the Venezuelan team was made up of Chelsea Spearman (Alb), Fran Burn (Alb), Chris Winsley (Ed) and David Gillespie (Ba).
Dan Kimpton, one of the pupils who took part, explains the process: "During the lobbying stages, everyone who took a resolution obtained enough signatures to debate it in committee. This was a very encouraging start as this is not an easy task. The standard of debate was of a very high quality; and meant that if we were to fulfil our intentions and win, we would have to work twice as hard.
"With reports coming back to our advisors that four of our delegates were controlling the debates and one other playing an important role, we were beginning to have hopes of winning and if not, at least pick up a few individual awards which, again, is no small achievement."
A tradition at Royal Russell is to devise an emergency situation and create a specialist committee to try and deal with the situation. This year the disaster was a flu-like disease that had a 50% fatality rate and was spreading very fast. There were reports of North Korea claiming that this was a terrorist attack and threatening military actions, and this caused even more concern. Everyone had to go to their committees and elect five of their best delegates to represent them in the special committee. The idea of this special committee is to devise a resolution to deal with the problem.
Continues Dan: "Three of our delegates were elected to go through, but unfortunately only one person per country could represent us. On the Sunday afternoon, General Assembly was in session and this was the time when Spain wanted to make its best impression. With three delegates assigned to speak on a resolution, it mean that our presence would already be noted. However, all but one delegate took the floor at least once and this lead to a very successful two days in General Assembly for us."
The team representing Venezuela were unfortunate to not be recognised but when they did put questions to the speakers, they were challenged and even had one rethinking his argument.
Although they didn’t win any awards, Venezuela, led by Chris Winsley, was a team of first-time delegates who were unlucky not to win any awards as many good reports were made about them.
"The next conference is the Hague, the biggest MUN in the world and, with two wins out of two, we look forward to the next challenge," says teacher in charge, Jenny Cranch.