On June 22, a team of four Westbourne students were chosen to represent Australia at the German Language Model United Nations Conference. This year, our Year 11 team comprised of Cleo Mountford, Bronwyn Pepper, Cat-Uyen Phan and William Stomann, with the conference being held on the topic of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
The day was broken up into a morning session, a moderated and unmoderated caucus session, and finally the amendment session. As each nation presented their respective position statements, we took the time to note down possible allies and foes for the following caucus session; one in which we hoped to garner support for our proposed amendments. Naturally, Australia received several critical comments during this session for our use of detention centres. We, as a team, then formulated a response to enclosing Australia’s justification of such centres.
After the moderated and unmoderated caucus sessions, each country had the opportunity to create or modify amendments, which in themselves required at least two other countries to support them. As there was an abundance of amendments, not all could be voted upon, and unfortunately those created by us were not voted upon and therefore not passed. However, amendments created or modified by other countries that we supported did pass, meaning we still created a positive change.
Although at sometimes speaking and listening to German was difficult, we believe wholeheartedly that the mock UN debate was beneficial in our learning. The aftereffects of the debate were clear after we returned to Westbourne, as it gave us all a boost in our learning in German, and we recommend that this fantastic opportunity be taken to all students learning German at present and in future.
Cat-Uyen Phan and Bronwyn Pepper