Debating Tour to Ireland: April 2017

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Peter Jarvis
May 4, 2017
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St Andrew’s down Graeme College in a “test match”
May 8, 2017

Debating Tour to Ireland: April 2017

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College has been participating in Model United Nations Debating for the past 10 years. It is a style of collaborative debating where teams are allocated a member state of the UN and then spend a number of days drafting resolutions for and debating real world problems. This style of debating requires an in depth knowledge of world politics as well as an ability to network, compromise, negotiate and stand one’s ground when required.

Debaters at St Andrew's in Dublin

SAIMUN (St Andrew’s College (Dublin) Model United Nations) has been running for the last 30 years. It is hosted by our namesake, the prestigious St Andrew’s College, Dublin and is largely run by the students for the students. This year 820 delegates from around the world participated in the conference. There were delegations from the USA, France, Spain, Turkey, Bahrain, UK, Ireland and of course – South Africa.

College were allocated the tough task of representing Donald Trump’s USA and, under the guidance of Security Council Am
bassador Rorke Wilson – Tom Crutchley, Philip Parker, James Ridley, Kieran Baart, Geir Wilson, Dayton Avery and Daniel Roodt took on some of the most experienced MUN debaters in the world.

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Prior to the conference the boys were hosted by St Andrew’s College, Dublin for four days. They attended classes as normal and engaged in the extramural activities while Mr Cuyler and Mr Molony observed lessons and discussed curriculum and pedagogical structures with the staff and management. There was also the mandatory visit to the Guinness Storehouse, an amphibious ‘Viking’ tour of the city of Dublin and a whistle-stop trip to Giant’s Causeway and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The conference itself was frenetic! Imagine 820 teenagers (and their teachers) in the Lobby of the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire – desperately trying to get some early lobbying done; The General Assembly followed where each of the 96 member states had an opportunity to state their case and set the scene for the next 4 days. Delegates then separated into their committees, lobbying was completed, resolutions drafted and merged; it had begun!

As the resolutions were submitted electronically to the Approval Panel (all the IT was set up and managed by school students under the guidance of a very competent Grade 9), the teachers started meticulously filtering through each one: the resolutions needed to comply with UN formatting regulations and would only be approved and returned to the various committees once they did. The approved resolutions were then debated in committee over the next 3 days followed by another General Assembly where some of the resolutions passed in committee were then debated.

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All the boys held their own in their committees and Tom Crutchley and Geir Wilson were awarded ‘Distinguished Delegate’ awards making the College delegation the only novice team to achieve 2 such awards at the conference.

What a wonderful experience!

David Molony and Craig Cuyler