Students at Flinders Explore World Issues Through a United Nations Lens

Lucy Sinnamon in Year 11 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College is learning how to be an aware global citizen, embracing adventure and travel as part of her schooling journey.

Lucy recently secured a travel bursary to attend the Change the World Model United Nations (CWMUN) conference in Singapore from 30 April 30 to 2 May.

CWMUN conferences are hosted around the world and give young people the opportunity to imagine working for the United Nations by accurately reproducing the actual working procedures of the major UN multilateral bodies while exploring global issues.  

The conference was an inspiring precursor for when UN Youth Australia will visit Matthew Flinders Anglican College on the Sunshine Coast on Monday, 3 June to host an exciting day-long program. Lucy and 50 Flinders Secondary students from Years 9 to 12 will take part. 

Lucy was also one of nine Flinders students with a passion for international relations who ventured to the Gold Coast in February this year to attend the UN Youth Queensland State Conference. Their student reflections are shared below.

Conference Highlights

Lucy successfully applied for the travel bursary to cover the travel costs of attending the CWMUN in Singapore, and then travelled independently, staying two nights on her own before joining some of the student delegates in shared accommodation for the start of the conference. 

As a delegate, Lucy had to take on the role of ambassador to the UN, which for Lucy involved representing the country of Austria. 

The students from different countries cooperated with each other to build concrete proposals, negotiated to reach consensus and eventually passed resolutions that represented the results of an intercultural creative process used to face some of the world’s most pressing troubles.

Lucy said, “One of the highlights of my trip was the amazing people I met. I had conversations with people from all over the world and made some really great friends. It was so interesting to hear their perspectives on current world issues, and also learn more about many different countries and cultures. 

“I am considering studying international relations after I graduate, so this was a fascinating insight into that world.” 

Flinders Students Inspired to Explore a World View

Flinders Secondary Teacher and Round Square Co-ordinator Mrs Jodie Symons invited the UN Youth Australia schools program to Flinders to inspire and challenge students by opening their eyes to the world.

“We are excited to have the UN Youth Australia visit our College on 3 June to supplement the Queensland curriculum and give our students meaningful and insightful experiences to explore international issues and learn about the role of the United Nations,” Mrs Symons said.  

“The program aims to invigorate our students who - just like Lucy - are passionate about building their capacity to engage in the most important humanitarian and environmental issues facing our world, from conflict and intervention to human rights, gender rights, and poverty and aid.”  

Lucy and two fellow Year 11 students at Flinders have also registered for the upcoming Round Square International Service Trip in Thailand from 16-29 July. Participants will help to construct a school as part of an ongoing, sustainable program of support, targeting the education of the younger members of the local community. Two Flinders students attended the 2023 Round Square Service Learning trip to Thailand.

Matthew Flinders Anglican College is a certified Round Square school in the global network of like-minded schools. Through this partnership, Flinders is able to offer its students safe, diverse and exciting service learning opportunities and exchanges to Round Square schools around the globe. 

Student Reflections from the UN Youth Queensland Youth Conference

Nine Flinders Secondary students attended the annual Queensland Youth Conference, run by UN Youth Australia, on the Gold Coast in February this year as an opportunity to engage with world affairs and issues.

Students participated in workshops and model UNs as an assigned country and tackled Interactive Problem-Solving activities (IPS) from the position of key decision-making bodies. 

We asked some of the students to reflect on their conference highlights.

Elizabeth: “I absolutely loved the conference and would 100% recommend it to others, and I would love to do it again. It was interesting being able to see how the UN makes decisions and the process and formalities required when trying to pass resolutions. It was also extremely funny to hear some of the crazy amendments that people tried to pass in the resolutions! I enjoyed the General Assembly and the model debates the most. The Interactive Problem Solving task was also hilarious as we tried to come up with the most creative solutions to problems as possible! I also loved meeting all the different people. It was interesting to hear their perspectives on ATAR, school, UN conferences and more."

Johanna: “The people that I meant were just amazing and were all so passionate and curious just like we were. Something that stood out to me was that young people have so many things they can achieve from a young age.”

Monisha: “During the 3 days, I met many like-minded (and non-like-minded) individuals who were both pro-model UN competitors and novices like myself; everyone had fun collaborating (and constructively arguing) throughout the conference. I especially enjoyed the trivia night with the delegates as well as chatting with different people and facilitators at meal times.”

James: “I enjoyed the debating and General Assemblies throughout the experience, and I also enjoyed participating in the different scenarios. I met many interesting people and had many good discussions. My favourite memory is having a General Assembly with everyone to discuss world issues. For Flinders to apply this, perhaps we could create a Model UN Club with the challenge to debate world issues.”

Flinders students at the Queensland Youth Conference on the Gold Coast in February, 2024

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