Peebles pupils pay visit to Ireland for Model UN conference

Nineteen pupils from Peebles High School enjoyed a trip to the Northern Ireland Assembly over the weekend to brush up on their speech-making skills and also attended the Model UN conference in Dublin.
Peebles High School pupils on their trip to the Northern Ireland Assembly.Peebles High School pupils on their trip to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Peebles High School pupils on their trip to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The pupils, from years S3-S6, are members of the school’s Model UN club, which has existed since 2019, with between 40-90 of them taking part in debates.

The trip to Ireland was led by the school’s PT Student Leadership teacher James McMordie.

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He said: “The main event was our first Model UN Conference at Wesley College in Dublin, but we also visited the Northern Ireland Assembly, meeting members of the legislative assembly Nick Matheson and Robbie Butler.

“Our students all carried out research and prepared resolutions in advance of the conference.

"They then took part in three debates over the two days, debating a wide range of complex issues in committees and then in general assembly. These ranged from the role of private companies in space to education in conflict zones.

"Two of our students won prizes for their contributions – Toby Haslam (best junior delegate, historic committee) and Hamish Palmer (commended delegate, economic committee).

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“The chairpeople said they were particularly impressed by how well our students spoke, given that many of our attendees are still juniors.”

Mr McMordie added: “This was our first ever conference and our students represented their school and their community with pride. All of our students worked incredibly hard and I know they all gained a wide range of new skills from the experience.

"We look forward to doing more conferences in the future and we are already making improvements to our club based on what we learnt from competing in Dublin.”

S3 pupil Toby said: The conference was an absolute blast with everyone helping each other out.

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"There was a great sense of companionship and involvement. I would encourage others to join model UN because when I look back, I see the friendships I have formed. Overall, a great experience to make friends and learn new skills.”

Hamish, S4, said: During the conference I improved my speech making skills. I also learned more about how MUN and the UN operate. I also improved my ability to construct and convey an argument. I would recommend MUN as not only does it help you improve your public speaking and confidence it also helps you meet new people.

Maria, from S3, added: “Among many things, I learned lots of new ways to structure an argument and how to work with others. The best thing I learnt was that making a speech in a debate isn't as daunting as I thought.

"I would recommend model UN as a great way to meet new people who have similar views, it’s a great way to improve your public speaking skills and confidence. And of course, it's a lot of fun.”

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