Pupils debate world issues at simulation

CENTRAL Victorian secondary school students have spent a day in the shoes of countries on the United Nations Security Council as part of a diplomacy competition. 

Sixteen pupils from Bendigo Senior Secondary College, Girton Grammar School, Catholic College Bendigo and Sacred Heart College Kyneton took part in the UN Youth Australia Evatt Competition on Tuesday. 

The competition takes the form of a mock session of the UN Security Council. Teams of two students debated, amended and voted on a prepared resolution from the perspective of their assigned nation. 

The students judged the most effective diplomats proceeded to the next round to compete at a state level. 

International issues debated included drug trafficking, digital surveillance and the nuclear crisis in Iran. 

UN Youth Australia Victorian president Robbie Nyaguy said the program aimed to "open young eyes to the world".

"The aim is to engage people on global issues and get them to start having a think about some of the things that are happening around the world," he said. 

"Ultimately what we want them to come away with is there are a lot of issues around the world and countries have very different perspectives on these issues."

Mr Nyaguy said the simulation gave students an insight into the international perspectives of other countries.

"We had some fantastic debates," he said. 

Sacred Heart College students Nick Dugdale-Walker and Alex Linn represented Rwanda at the mock debate.

Mr Dugdale-Walker said the debate had tested his public speaking, teamwork, negotiation and research skills.

"I had to do a last remark as to why I think digital surveillance is good but I didn't know I had to do it," he said. 

"I got up there and words just seemed to flow out  - you have to draw on everything your teachers teach, you even if you don't remember learning it."

Mr Dugdale-Walker, a year 10 student, said he was interested in pursuing a career in international politics.

"It is just something that really interests me - talking and deliberating on big issues," he said.

He said terrorism, asylum seeker policy and international relations were important issues of the modern day. 

Each state and territory has its own Evatt Competition during the school year, with the top students in each state going to the national finals in December - the six-day conclusion of the competition.

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