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Future diplomats in session: UNICEF and the Johannesburg Model UN

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
UNICEF South Africa Representative, Sanjay Wijesekera, with participants at the Johannesburg Model United Nations High School Conference.

Johannesburg, 15 September 2018 - In a bright auditorium adorned with the colorful flags of the member states of the United Nations, 300 high school learners gather to participate in the annual Johannesburg Model UN Conference organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

“Caucus, veto, abstain” are just some of the international diplomacy lexicon that are being convincingly used by the learners who are themselves referred to as “delegates” of the United Nations. At a time when UNICEF is increasingly focusing, both globally and nationally, on how to enhance the Young People’s Agenda, the South African Model UN is shining example of youth talent, eloquence and confidence in action. As a long-standing partner of SAIIA, UNICEF provided a range of information materials for the participants and contributed book prizes to the winning teams.

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
A fulfilling morning with eloquent young leaders at the SAIIA Johannesburg Model UN Conference at the University of the Witwatersrand.

By role-playing the member states of the UN on a range of topical issues, learners get to understand the world of multilateralism and diplomacy in a tangible and interactive way. A range of critical issues were under discussion at this year’s JMUN including gender equality, nuclear non-proliferation, the war in Syria and clean energy.

Delivering the keynote address at the Model UN this year was the Representative of UNICEF South Africa, Mr Sanjay Wijisekera who commended the participants on their commitment to this remarkable programme. Himself a Model UN participant during his high school years, Mr. Wijisekera explained how programmes such as Model UN reflect the power of young people to shape their individual and collective future. 





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