Delegates sought attainable solutions to real-world problems as Shawnigan's Model UN conference landed at the BC legislature.
Organized largely by students, ShawMUN Victoria saw approximately 325 delegates from across BC and beyond debating key issues in the halls of the Provincial capitol.
This year's conference challenged participants to research and debate positions on eight different committees, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (discussing the legalization of drugs and the opioid crisis), the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (discussing gene drive intervention), UN women (discussing the #MeToo movement and the status of women), the UN Security Council (discussing 'trouble in the arctic'), the UN High Commission for Refugees (discussing the climate refugee crisis), the Canadian House of Commons (discussing Canada's carbon tax), and a special Ad Hoc committee that re-created the disarray of the September 11th attacks as they unfolded.
"As delegates of ShawMUN, you are encouraged and expected to see through the lens of others and to enter into respectful dialogue towards developing understanding, exploring solutions to complex issues, and learning the strength of compromise," Shawnigan Headmaster Larry Lamont said during the conference's opening ceremony. "In an increasingly complex and anxious world, I am delighted that you will be discussing pressing issues – with a view to a better and more sustainable future for our shared world – and learning about the United Nations."
Keynote addresses came from Laila Bokhari – a former Secretary of State in Norway for Foreign Affairs, a specialist in security counter terrorism and a committed educator – and Hassan Al Kontar – a Syrian refugee who spent seven months trapped in a Malaysian airport. Both speakers also shared their wisdom on the Shawnigan campus, with Mr. Kontar visiting classes on Friday and Ms. Bokhari delivering a powerful address in Chapel on Saturday.
In Chapel on Tuesday, ShawMUN Secretary General Kerry W. thanked many of the staff and Shawnigan departments that contributed to the conference. "Model UN has taught me the art of diplomacy," she said, "and I have made friendships that will last a lifetime."
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.