By: María Inés González-Treviño H.
We live in a world connected by the media at every imaginable level but still we remain ignorant to what happens around us, this has become a huge problem in society today. As a consequence, there is an urgency to submerge our students in global affairs, which connect them with pressing and relevant current situations around the world.
Model United Nations (MUN) is one of such activities that have been held at Colegio San Agustín in Chiclayo, Peru. Why? Because we as an Educational Community aim to have well-rounded students, with an accurate perspective of the world. Our goal is not only to shape them academically but also ethically and morally and make them citizens of the world who are compassionate and caring, and who also have the skills to elaborate informed opinions and propose solutions. Also due to the significant presence of the Augustinian Order in the United Nations as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), its role is “to encourage awareness and prepare Augustinians for their mission of educating and promoting human rights and a Culture of Peace, and to familiarize the laity with the declarations, projects and activities of the U.N., particularly in the fields of education, human rights and the eradication of hunger.”[i]
Based on all of the previous, the topics that the students have worked on so far cover a wide range from Children of the war, the United Nations intervention in Syria, a New world order, Cyber terrorism to Sustainable healthy lifestyles, just to name a few; all of them related to the mission the Augustinian order has as a participant at the UN.
This activity was first held at our school in 2014 as an initiative of the English Department and only for Second Year students of the International Diploma programme (5th of Secondary), and it was an instant success, Students were engaged and excited to research and participate in this activity, therefore we repeated it in 2015. That same year a group of 8 students from 4th and 5th of Secondary went to Lima as part of their History course, to participate at MUN which was organized by San Martin de Porres University. There the students represented countries like China, Russia, Israel, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Ukraine, South Korea and Pakistan, this year 8 more students from 4th IB will be attending the same event.
Last year and based on the previous success and skills acquired by the students through participating in this type of activity, the English Department decided to hold MUN with both 4th IB and 5th IB students, we were pleasantly surprised to see how well the students performed and how their analytical and critical skill were presented during the preparation and the actual MUN Assembly. Afterwards, we came to realize how this is such a profound learning experience that we took it one step further this year. On August 23rd students from 3rd grade of Secondary participated in their first MUN experience, 50 countries were represented and the key questions were: What recommendation can be made to adopt and advocate sustainable lifestyles in order to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals. Presentations were made, debates were held and afterwards the voting was made concluding with the necessity to create more job opportunities for young people in order to achieve SDG´s.
The best is yet to come. During the month of December a MUN will be held at the school with all of our 4th and 5th grade of Secondary Students, for the whole day. The topic to be discussed will focus on the Protection of Children affected by armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This will be the beginning of a new global experience that will provide our students with a broader knowledge of the reality of the world and will allow them to have a well -informed, analytical and modern perspective of a problematic situation with International repercussions. Then, who knows? The next step may be participating at the International MUN held by the UN in New York. The sky´s the limit.
Colegio San Agustin, Chiclayo, Peru
Contact person: Augusto Lescano Guevara
[i] MIdwest Augustinians, 2017. Recovered from: https://www.midwestaugustinians.org/augustinians-at-the-united-nations