Ten of the Year 12 French students went on a trip to Geneva from the 7th - 11th January, accompanied by Ms Abassi and Mr Debra. This was to take part in the Model United Nations event. FERMUN (Ferney-Voltaire Model United Nations), is a student led series of conferences held at the International Telecommunications Union building in Geneva, over the course of three days. Students from 25 countries gathered to debate and form answers to issues that affect the whole of the United Nations, and the resolutions we created will later be used in future United Nations debates.
The first day of our trip consisted of flying to Geneva and travelling by bus and tram to the Ferney-Voltaire International School. Taking these forms of transport allowed us to see the sights of Geneva and integrate ourselves with the public. At the school, we met the families that we were going to be staying with until the end of the week. We all went our separate ways and prepared for the next day...
On the second day, we all met outside the United Nations Office and endured the lengthy security process, before making our way to the conference room where the ceremony would be held, filled with over 700 students from all over the world!
During the opening ceremony, we listened to various people speaking, from the student’s organisers to UN diplomats. We experienced a Q&A between them, which later helped us with forming our resolutions (in terms of what other issues and points we could consider). It was such an amazing experience to listen to them and hear other people's stories and what brought them there.
Once the ceremony had finished, we all got into our separate committees - such as ITU, WHO and UNEP - and all got to know each other. We then listened to pre-prepared speeches made by delegates promoting their resolutions as well explaining more on the topics that we were going to be debating; two of our own students even made a speech for their committee.
After that, we moved on to lobbying. Lobbying was an opportunity for everyone in the committees to hear what the other delegations had to say and start to consider the resolutions other delegates had put together. The whole committee was told that we had to submit only two resolutions per topic, and so we spent the afternoon negotiating with other countries and co-submitting to a resolution that included the best deal for our delegation. It was a great opportunity to get to know people from around the world - particularly as no one was representing the same country they were from - and we instantly felt more comfortable around our fellow delegates.
On the next day, we all had to debate on the two resolutions created the day before. The chairs selected the first issue and the full resolution was read out by the creators. We then had a few minutes to submit any amendments we wished to make to the resolution, and the chairs selected the most interesting ones. Whoever proposed an amendment had to present in front of the entire committee the reasons why, and could accept points of information from the other delegates. Delegates had to then make proposals for and against each amendment, and then the entire committee would take a vote based on their delegations’ beliefs and concerns. This experience of speaking in front of everyone was extremely nerve wracking but incredibly rewarding to have everyone’s attention and interest in what you had to say.
On the final day of the trip, we repeated the lobbying for the second topic and repeated the same process but on a different issues and in turn, the different resolutions. At the end of the day we attended a truly special closing ceremony in the UN building in which there was dancing, speeches, and some tears. We also had the privilege of hearing key members of the real ITU committee speak and saying goodbye to some of our fellow delegates. Later on that evening, after sightseeing around Geneva, we had been invited to attend a party, which many people participating in FERMUN were also going to. It was fun as it was a chance to get to know all the other students from around the world out of the debates and lobbying. We met and talked to people from all different backgrounds and cultures, and it was great to see everyone unravel.
Overall, this was an unforgettable experience, to be in the same seats as the people trying to solve world problems, as well as debating alongside delegates from all over the world was a privilege and we are very grateful to have taken part in it.