In 2011, our Society launched the Model United Nations in Schools (MUNiS) program aimed at high school students. The MUNiS program involves over 30 high school students from across the greater-Sydney area. Students are invited to UNSW to attend a one-day Model United Nations intensive training and skills-development session. Each high school student is paired with an experienced member of the society (a “mentor”) who guides the student through the procedural rules of model united nations as well as basic public speaking and negotiation skills. The students are then given a problem scenario based on a current international issue (such as global warming) and are required to reach consensus through discussion and accurate representation of their country stance. This program is the first face-to-face tertiary/secondary program of its kind in New South Wales and in 2012 it received positive support from the UNSW Faculty of Law.
The MUNiS program reflects our Society’s continuing desire to not only connect with the student body at UNSW, but with the wider community. Creating awareness about international issues and teaching students important skills regarding communication and team-building are essential in ensuring that our Society “gives back” in a constructive and meaningful way. The program also fosters confidence amongst high school students, and improves the leadership qualities of the mentors involved.
This year, our Society aims to extend our MUNiS’s participating students to include high-school students from disadvantaged schools and communities. By doing this we hope to promote tolerance of diversity and to encourage high school students to enter into tertiary education. We also aim to provide the high school students with relevant speakers to give their discussion a perspective and an appreciation of the reality of these diplomatic discussions in real life.