Online Debate in the Time of COVID-19; Craighouse takes first place in Zoom Tournament
The pandemic has halted almost all extracurricular activities across the globe, including the annual LAMUN (Latin American Model United Nations) conference in Montevideo, Uruguay scheduled and unfortunately cancelled last April. However, many schools and organizations have found the internet to be a wonderful resource to stay connected and have found innovative ways to take debate to online via platforms like Zoom. Recently, Nido de Águilas school took up this challenge and hosted an online debate on Saturday, May 9th. The debate was a ESU style debate (3 members per team) and four schools participated in the tournament including The Grange, NIDO, Craighouse and Santiago College. The motion, which was given prior to the debate (planned) was “Should the Chilean government impose mandatory lockdown throughout the country to fight COVID-19?” which was of course a very relevant topic.
The Craighouse team that participated consisted of four III medio students; Mariana Teixeria, Nicolas Malfetano, Konstantin Schillhorn and Ruben Zepeda. In the first round (semi-finals), they debated against Nido de Águilas and Craighouse had to stand against a mandatory lockdown. Both teams exchanged their views on the economic effects of lockdown, the importance of flattening the curve, and the implications of a lockdown on democracy. The developing nature of this crisis meant that both teams had very incomplete information, however, they were able to make the most of the data they found. Craighouse went on to win that debate and continued to the finals against Santiago College. They debated the same motion, but this time in favour of it, and our teammates would agree that this ended with a very close win for Craighouse.
We are also very proud of three newcomers to the debate club; Pranav Daswani, Cristóbal Meza and Milton Catacoli who attended an online Model United Nations via Zoom called “JAMUN” (hosted by high school in Jamaica) on the same day. They discussed the effect of automation on employment. This was their first experience of an MUN and using the video conferencing format. Despite that, they were still able to participate actively and ultimately pass a resolution in their respective committees.
As a club, just like other school activities, we have had to readjust our goals and plans for the year given the situation. Still, the leadership team of the club (with Ben Bustos as Club President, Sara Mandiola, Anirudh Ranganatha, Konstantin Schillhorn, Nicolas Malfetano and Sebastian Juez as the club Secretariat) have continued to have meetings every few weeks and come up with new innovative ways to continue to have debate in an outline format. Now, more than ever, discussing the world’s issues, researching facts and data, and seeking to find solutions to world problems is a crucial skill for today’s youth. Additionally, online platforms potentially allow for more interesting dialogue with students from around the world, with the only impediment being time zones. We will continue to try to coordinate future activities online while the pandemic persists. We welcome any and all Craighouse students wanting to participate to contact Ms. Geiger (MUN and Debate Club Coordinator).
Watch some videos below:
The theme of this year's The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) conference was: “Securing and Advancing Democracy: Every Voice Matters!” In order to properly understand and adopt this idea, we must put our faith in the emerging generations to take on the task of further bettering our world, by allowing them to express their concerns and their ideas. Just as we’ve seen young activists such as Greta Thunberg taking a stand and advocating for a brighter future, these conferences invite and inspire thousands more to discuss and voice their concerns.
THIMUN is a 5 day conference, stretching from the 27th of January to the 31st and hosting 3200 students from across the globe, representing their designated member states of the United Nations. Craighouse school acted as the Slovenian Delegation led by Ambassador/Head Delegate Benjamín Bustos, as well as Francisca Aguilar, Sebastián Juez, Nicolás Malfetano, Tomás Malfetano, Sara Mandiola, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Catalina Maulen, Anirudh Ranganatha, and Konstantin Schillhorn. The group was accompanied by two teachers; Grace Geiger and Camila Cruz. This is the second time that Craighouse School has participated in this prestigious conference since their initial invitation to participate in 2019.
THIMUN is currently the largest MUN in the world and defines itself as a recognised non-governmental organisation within the UN, while having the privilege of a roster consultative status with the Economic Social Council, meaning that the UN may very well be looking at the ideas the students put forth. Therefore, this conference presents a challenging yet new and exciting experience for the Craighouse debate club.
The week was spent in the very cozy accommodations of the hotel Andante which was fortunately situated right next to the beach in the coastal region of Scheveningen, and only a short tram ride away from the World Forum, where the conference itself was held each day. Besides being the centre for all parliamentary and governmental buildings, The Hague boasts its vital role within the international community. It houses the International Court of Justice which, being the main legal organ of the United Nations, handles cases of inter-state disputes ranging from interpretations of binding treaties to establishing nuclear peace around the world.
The International Criminal Court also plays an important role in securing human rights across the globe and trying individuals who prove to be a threat to world safety and peace. This environment proved to be the perfect scenery for students to discuss issues of international importance, within the General Assembly, the Sustainable Development Committee and the Human Rights Commission. Various students were able to take charge within their committees: becoming main submitter's on resolutions, speaking on their topics, and even passing their resolutions. This experience proved to be quite unique even in the world of MUN for it is rare to find one's self in a room with 200 other people who share their passion for working towards a better future and a brighter tomorrow.
Model United Nations (MUN) and Debate club
The Craighouse Model United Nations (MUN) and Debate club is a club made up of Senior Section pupils that was founded in 2017. The club has since attended a wide range of national and international conferences and competitions. Our mission is to spread global awareness, confidence, public speaking skills, and argumentative skills amongst pupils at Craighouse Schools.
We attend a regional conference in Montevideo (LAMUN) at the beginning of each year. The rest of the year is dedicated to improving our skills through smaller conferences organsed by us, in Santiago. One of our goals as a club is to form an association of schools in Chile that can sustain this activity for years to come. Past events in Chile that Craighouse School has participated in, and helped organise, include CUNSi (Craighouse United Nations Simulation) 2018, and GraMUN (Grange Model United Nations) 2019. We are in the process of organising our first two-day conference, called CraigMUN (Craighouse Model United Nations), which will take place towards the end of September. However, our club is not just limited to MUN, as we have participated in most Debating and Public Speaking events hosted by the English Speaking Union since 2017.
After outstanding participation in Montevideo, at THIMUN Latin America 2017, and LAMUN 2018, Craighouse School was invited to attend The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) for the first time. In January 2019, 8 members of the club travelled to the Hague, representing the delegation of Luxembourg. The club is now a permanent invitee to THIMUN, and will therefore be sending a delegation to every annual THIMUN The Hague conference. To see more about Student's experiences, click on the link ¨THIMUN.¨
2018 The Hague Trip - The Hague
“Any society that does not succeed in tapping into the energy and creativity of its youth will be left behind.” This quote by former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, conveys the central values that the MUN and Debate club hopes to transmit to future generations at Craighouse School.
From the 24th of January until the 4th of February, pupils from the Senior Section, Antonella del Aguila, Benjamin Bustos, Elliot Zepeda, Josefina Elgart, María Ignacia Carvajal, Nayantara Ranganatha, Paula Vits and Valentina Scarabino participated in the 61st The Hague International Model United Nations Conference in The Netherlands. They were accompanied by Mr Matthew Jones and Ms Andrea Alcérreca. The event attracted over 3,200 people and 200 schools, representing 110 nationalities. Craighouse School was the only school from Chile. The extraordinary challenges and opportunities that this international conference offers its participants are aimed at unlocking the energy, leadership, creativity, and critical thinking skills of all 3200 young adults.
The team was invited to participate in this prestigious conference following their impressive performance as delegates, student officers, and journalists at the Latin American Model United Nations (LAMUN) conferences in 2017 and 2018.
On this occasion, pupils represented the delegation of Luxembourg in eight different committees. They discussed topics ranging from the situation of the Rohingya people, the Israeli occupied territories, the Iran nuclear deal, to strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout the five days, pupils got to practice their public speaking skills in front of pupils from countries such as Tanzania, Sri Lanka, the United States and Singapore. They were able to test their own knowledge on important issues, and most importantly, listen to pupils that live in wildly different contexts to their own.
A highlight from the intense debate sessions was the approval of four resolutions from our delegation which were debated in front of 800 delegates. This is an extraordinary achievement for a school that is attending the conference at The Hague for the first time. It is a testament to the hard work and discipline that Craighouse School pupils are taught throughout their time at the school, and the commitment of teachers, parents, and most importantly the pupils themselves.
LAMUN - Latin American Model United Nations 2018
After our first nerve-wracking but all in all exciting experience during the Montevideo conference that took place on 2017, many of us desired to go through this experience once more.
We accomplished this in the year that was to follow, 2018. Prior to this conference our MUN Director (Miss. Nicola Bromley) advised us to apply for leadership roles, which we never thought would be able to obtain. This being due to how much experience we still lacked in comparison to everyone else who would also be attending the conference and possibly applying. However, despite this, all four of us who had applied managed to obtain our desired positions of chairs and press delegates. Something else that also came as a pleasant surprise was that they had assigned highly influential countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, to our delegates
The amount of work each of us put after having experienced at first-hand what was expected of us was highly challenging, but incredibly rewarding. With this, not only did we become more familiar with the model but we also became more conscious about major issues around us. These were all factors that contributed to us having what we considered a successful conference, along with getting to know people who shared the same interests and desire to someday change the world.
It was truly a challenging but unforgettable experience and a second trip is expected for next year.