'Diplomats' debate hot topics at summit

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am


On April 16, more than 100 students from around Hong Kong gathered at Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong and became diplomats for a day.

The students were participating in the first Li Po Chun UWC Model United Nations conference.

Model UN conferences provide an authentic simulation of the UN General Assembly and its other bodies. Student 'delegates' represent the position of a selected country. They play the role of diplomats in negotiations and debates, sharing their research and insights on important global issues, and speak on behalf of their country.

Delegates were divided into eight different committees, including the Security Council, the Social and Humanitarian Committee and the Development Programme, where they debated on topics ranging from the crisis in Sudan to democratic governance in the world today.

They began by presenting their country's case and position on an issue, and then moved into the debate about specifics. For example, in the Counter-terrorism Committee, delegates debated the length by which the UN mission in Afghanistan should be extended, each giving different reasons for different time periods.

They then drafted a resolution, which took into account different countries' viewpoints. These resolutions were debated and amended before being put to a vote, which determined whether they were adopted or not.

Participants found the day worthwhile. 'The small committee sizes gave us more opportunities to speak and negotiate, and the quality of debate was high, thanks to good preparation by most of the speakers,' said Raphael Leung from La Salle College.