Due to the impact of COVID-19, many organisations moved to new ways of communicating. This move was predominantly digital, although some of the balcony and rooftop concerts we witnessed around the world were also noteworthy. As we sought to sustain connection with each other, we also found ways to enhance connections to learning. In 2021 the UNAA Victoria Education program is activating the benefits of online access across regions and time to reach a wider audience and launch a series of new events that bring the UN to your classroom, office or lounge room!
Jason Smith Photography
The UNAA Victoria Global Education program runs a series of events designed to engage the community in the work of the UN, including:
- • Model UNs onsite at schools, universities and workplaces
• Virtual Model UNs
- • Model UN events such as the UNHCR Refugee Challenge
- • Virtual tours of UN HQ New York
- • Speakers for the SDGs
Model UN Program
UNAA Victoria runs onsite Model UNs in schools, universities and workplaces to actively train people in advocacy, collaboration, critical thinking and global citizenship.
In 2020 we developed an online version of our Model UNs which has been well received and provides opportunities for remote and regional community participation, home schooling communities and organisations and business with remote workers and offices dispersed across states and timelines.
A UNAAV Model UN is a highly interactive full-day simulation of the UN General Assembly during which delegates step into the shoes of UN ambassadors from countries around the world and discuss contentious global issues – with the aim being to find the best possible solution through dialogue, negotiation and multilateral diplomacy.
“All the delegates had a voice. We were free to negotiate, question and speak up and that felt amazing”, Student
Each Model UN debates a topic related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delegates develop a ‘’new” UN resolution addressing the issue.
• Achieving Gender Equality: Empowering Women and Girls
• Asylum Seekers and Refugees: A Global Humanitarian Crisis
• Zero Hunger: Addressing Global Poverty and Universal Food Security
• Hear My Voice: Recognising the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
• Combating Climate Change: Committing to Global Action
• Planet Ocean: Protecting the World’s Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources
• Rewrite The Future: Quality Education For All
• Pathways to Peace: Addressing War, Conflict and International Security
• Sustainable Cities and Communities: Towards a Resilient Future
• A Responsibility to Protect: Preventing Mass Atrocity Crimes
• A Right to Freedom: Stopping Human Trafficking
• Enough is Enough: Ending Global Violence Against Women and Girls
• Wild for Life: Tackling the Illegal Wildlife Trade
• Space Research and Sustainable Development: Improving life on Earth?
• Modern Slavery: Today’s Greatest Threat to Human Rights?
UN Photo/ Rick Bajornas
“I honestly loved this so much, the best part was being able to socialise and fight for causes that I may not usually agree with as well as overcoming a lot of fears and anxiety to speak for my country and contribute”, Student
Opportunities for secondary schools
Host a Model UN for your own school, invite other schools in for a community building day or join one nearby. Our program is aligned with the Victorian curriculum learning areas, capabilities and cross curriculum priorities, and provides valuable opportunities for students to develop public speaking, debating, creative and critical thinking and teamwork skills.
“Being stretched to conduct thorough, self-guided research of a level that is often not warranted at a year 9/10 level in the classroom. Seeing the importance of public speaking in a meaningful venue (not just for marks) and learning the importance of seeing issues from a different perspective, and trying to negotiate with others, especially people they haven’t met before”, Teacher.
In partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training – Languages Unit, UNAA Victoria also runs Model UNs in languages other than English. Language-specific Model UNs offer students a full-day immersive language experience with the opportunity to practice the language they study at VCE level in a realistic international setting, debating global issues with students from other schools. We deliver these language-specific Model UNs in Japanese, Italian, German, French and Indonesian. Watch the video here
Photo: Silvy Wantania – Model UN in the Indonesian Language
We thank the Victorian Government for its ongoing support of these programs.
Virtual Model UNs
In 2020, the UNAA Victoria Model UNs moved online and simulated the General Assembly virtually.
This interactive virtual experience follows the sessions that occur with the on-site event but is split into two parts. Prior to the event, delegates undertake their research guided by the UNAAV information packs and prerecord their position statements. UNAAV creates a video of all country position statements for delegates to view in the week before the virtual event and delegates can collate information about questions or comment they wish to direct to other countries on the day. Interactive caucus and amendment sessions occur on the day, moderated by an experienced acting Secretary General.
Mini Model UNs – UNHCR Refugee Challenge
Join the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) Model UN Refugee Challenge in 2021 and debate one of the following issues:
- • Refugees and the impact of COVID-19
- • Protecting the rights of refugee women
- • Supporting the social inclusion of refugees
- • Empowering refugees through technology
UNAAV will register the Model UN with the UNHCR and the resolution from the debate can be submitted to UNHCR where some of the ideas will be shared with policymakers and promoted on UNHCR’s social media channels, which are followed by millions of people.
Virtual tours – UN New York
Visit the headquarters of the UN where delegates gather from across the globe every year to discuss solutions for the most pressing issues of our time. Tours are led by people who have walked, talked and worked in the corridors, chambers and grounds of the iconic UN buildings in New York City.
Opportunities for universities
Give your students an opportunity to exercise global thinking, public speaking and team building skills or invite secondary school students onto your campuses to experience your university by hosting a Model UN for prospective students in your catchment. We currently run Model UNs for several Universities to showcase their courses and campus facilities.
“One of my students from 2 years ago was so stimulated by this experience she set a goal of studying law with a focus on human rights. This year she started 1st year law”, Teacher.
Opportunities for workplaces
Our Model UN program for workplaces is becoming increasingly popular as Victorian companies adopt a global view and are incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into their practices. This is an exciting alternative to more traditional professional development programs where employers can provide employees opportunities to work in teams, collaborate and negotiate solutions to complex global issues. Skills that are transferrable and valuable in local settings.
“The collaboration and conversations about sustainability with a diverse range of participants from different industries, specialities, ages, nationalities and experiences”, Participant
Jason Smith Photography
Multi-sectorial Model UN for SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities in partnership with Deakin University and Planning Institute Australia
Speakers for the SDGs
UNAA Victoria has an extensive network of expert speakers on issues related to the UNs 17 SDGs. Select an area and we will provide an engaging and knowledgeable speaker. Attendees have the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation.
Find out more about bringing the work of the UN to your school, university or workplace by emailing Global Education Program Manager, Dr Sally Northfield.