This term has seen the focus of MUN shift to preparation for the weekend-long Conference at Kingswood School in Bath (the 27th Bath International Schools Model United Nations Conference) on 3rd – 5th March, 2017. This well-established event attracts delegations from both home and abroad and is typically attended by upwards of 600 delegates. This year (our first) St Mary’s attended with two delegations of four girls representing Chad and Oman. The girls (Ally, Alexandra, Coco, Farida, Hannah, Anna, Jemima, Maiya and Myra) each sat on one of several committees including Human Rights, Political, Economic, Environment, Disarmament, Health, Middle East, Africa and the Security Assembly. Among the topics for debate were:

The Political Committee
Combatting Cyber Warfare
The Situation in Syria
Combatting Islamic State

The Economic Committee
The Illegal Drugs Trade
Forced Labour
World Trade

The Health Committee
Combatting Cancer
Mental Health
Antimicrobial Resistance

The Environment Committee
Climate Change
Marine Pollution
Sustainable Farming

The Disarmament Committee
The Arms Trade Treaty
Child Soldiers
Nuclear Disarmament

The Africa Committee
Healthcare in Africa
Poaching in Africa
Combatting Terrorism & Extremism

Human Rights Committee One
The Use of Torture
Human Rights in Russia
The Migrant Crisis in Europe

Human Rights Committee Two
The Rights of Women
The Rights of the Disabled
GBT Rights
Human Rights in the Middle East

The Middle East Committee
The Situation in Syria
The Question of Palestine
The Middle East and Weapons of Mass Destruction
The Rights of the Kurds
The Rights of Women in the Middle East

The Security Council
The Situation in Syria
The Situation in the South China Sea
The Question of Palestine
North Korea’s Nuclear Programme
Reform of the Security Council
Current Threats to International Security

Forty three schools (including two from Germany and one from the Netherlands) sent 600 + delegates (pupils) and our girls performed admirably. On Friday evening, after the Welcoming Ceremony, the girls went straight into the Lobby procedure in their Committees in which they attempted to attract eight signatories to their Resolution (a previously prepared - using stringent methodology - solution to the problems posed in their Committees). This lasted for two hours and at the end of it, two of the girls (Ally and Alexandra) had succeeded in gaining the requisite support to have their Resolutions debated on the Saturday.

The following day was a long one which involved arguments for and against each Resolution and Amendments being made to them. Although neither Ally nor Alexandra had their Resolutions adopted for voting in the General Assembly, all of the girls spoke eloquently and passionately in their Committees. Sunday saw the adopted Resolutions further debated and voted on in the General assembly before the Closing Ceremony and awards for Best Delegates and Delegations.

Overall, this was a hugely rewarding and enjoyable weekend which the girls benefited massively from and I would like to think that next time they will be even more prepared ‘to have a go’.

Mr Philip Jones, Director of Higher Education and Professional Guidance