Model UN provides global climate change debating platform for future leaders

The world was focussed last month on COP26 in Glasgow and the resolutions agreed by national leaders to tackle the complex challenges of climate change and to agree on scaling down the use of fossil fuels. Those decisions and ensuing action by individual countries will define the sustainability of the planet in the years and decades to come. UK educational charity, Engage with China, is providing a unique international experience during these pandemic times in the shape of a Model UN, entitled ‘Good Cop Bad Cop?’ Aimed at 16-18 year olds, this event will enable future leaders to engage with the climate change debate, build global outlook and develop the skills to influence change. 

Up to 160 students from countries around the world including China, UK, Australia, Dominica and Malawi, will meet online just before Chinese New Year on 28 January 2022, to discuss and debate the major issues discussed at COP.Students will be allocated a country to represent other than their own and will negotiate from that perspective as well as develop debating, presentation and cross-cultural skills.  

Director of Engage with China, H-J Colston-Inge, said, “Climate change affects us all. Our vision is to inspire a generation of China-literate young people who will have greater cultural competencies and insights to lead, negotiate and collaborate with China. When we think about climate change, though, this is a global challenge of huge magnitude. This event will create a meaningful opportunity for people:people dialogue for students from all around the world and to discuss what should be done to limit the damage.”

The Grange School, Cheshire, takes up the honour of being the Host School for the event and, as with all MUN events, it will be student-led. Acting President, Theo Innes, who is an experienced debater, said, “I am extremely excited to be head of this conference, and am thoroughly looking forward to all of the incredible debating I know shall take place. I am especially interested in this conference as I have always been interested in the climate and how we can preserve it in a way that is beneficial to all.”

In the schools’ MUN scene, a geographical divide exists with southern and northern schools tending to debate together. “We are delighted to be hosting this conference alongside Engage with China,” says Richard Higgins, Host School Spokesperson. “I run the Model United Nation’s society at The Grange School and enjoy taking students to MUN conferences around the North West of England. This event will be different as Engage with China brings together a rare opportunity for school teams across the country to meet as well as adding a valuable international dimension.”

Schools from the UK taking part include King’s School Worcester, Lancing College, Ashville, Kingswood, Bath and Marlborough College. Chinese schools participating include a school from Changchun in northeast China, as well as two from as far south as the tropical island of Hainan and Hong Kong.

Applications to participate in the event have been very popular. Registrations close on 10 December.

Published by H-J Colston

H-J is Joint CEO of Chopsticks Club and a regular speaker on China. Through training and events, she has been building cultural literacy about China from the boardroom to the classroom since 1993. She designed and delivered a “Doing Business in China” course at Pearson Business School. She was invited to meet President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK in 2015 in recognition of her work in building China-UK relations. She has a degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Durham. Find out more at www.chopsticksclub.com and www.engagewithchina.org

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