From students to ambassadors (Issue 11, 2011)

UN ConferenceApril 18 2011 saw the United Nations Association of Australia host La Trobe University students in a Model UN Conference that tackled the cause and effect of climate change on a global scale.

Entitled The Heat is on: Climate Change and the Environment, the Model UN Conference placed La Trobe University School of Management students in the shoes of ambassadors and leaders from around the world, allowing them to see the issue from multiple perspectives.

Guest speakers included Associate Professor Peter Christoff, who teaches climate and policy at the University of Melbourne, and La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue Project Manager Larry Marshall, who acted as Secretary General and head of the conference for the day.

The aim of Model UN Conferences is to deepen awareness of global issues, to increase participants’ knowledge of the United Nations, and its member states, and to promote tolerance and respect for diversity and difference of opinion. 

The conference was organised by unit coordinator Clare D’Souza to encourage students to think deeply about real world issues in an innovative and involved way. Students were able to further develop problem solving skills and build on effective communication through team work.

Students came prepared as representatives of chosen nations ready to put forward their stance on the issues of climate change. They had the opportunity to debate and negotiate with nations on relevant issues and reach compromises based upon national interests and humanitarian obligations. 

‘At the outset, I found it difficult to realise the benefits of such a conference’ said Sarah Chirico, a third year marketing student, ‘But after having participated, I really felt like a world leader. The skills and lessons I learnt are truly invaluable. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and would definitely participate in such a conference again if the opportunity arose.’

For further information about the Model United Nations Conference, visit the Conference website.