They might not have progressed to the next level, but the Moree Secondary College students who competed in the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) in Gunnedah on the weekend have returned with new skills, new friends and a greater understanding of other countries.
Schools from across the region had teams representing different countries from the United Nations at the event, which was held in Gunnedah from Friday, April 5 until Saturday, April 7.
Moree Secondary College had two teams compting in the MUNA competition - year 10 students Aliyah Quisaot and Natalija Stanojevic who represented the Philippines and year 11 students Grace Carter and Brennan Cumberland who represented Iceland.
Some of the resolutions they had to debate included the to establish a worldwide programme with uniform mandatory penalties for the smuggling of people; a coordinating body to combine all research needed to establish a colony on Mars; and an agency to monitor, control and promote safe and ethical child surrogacy; to work with nations and international organisations to ensure that no company can patent any human or animal gene; to ensure that all UN organisations have gender equity within five years; to ban the manufacture and distribution of one use plastic shopping bags; recognise the fundamental human rights of all persons in member countries to access fast and reliable internet services; and urge all member nations of the UN to comply with their obligations under the Human Rights Conventions on the Rights of the Child, specifically in regards to child marriage.
Unfortunately, the Moree teams didn't progress to the next level but they had all of their resolutions passed except one.
"This was their first every experience at MUNA while for some other school teams this was their fourth year competing," Moree Secondary College careers advisor Sheree Cayirylys said.
"They are very keen to try again next year in Port Macquarie."
All of the students said it was a wonderful experience.
Aliyah Quisaot said it was "amazing".
"My public speaking skills were further developed and I have gained new friends," she said.
"It was also really great to hear other people defend or oppose issues that were relevant to the country they were representing. It really broadened my knowledge."
Grace Carter said it was a lot of fun.
"We met really great people from around the area," she said.
"It was a great opportunity to develop our public speaking skills and our knowledge of world issues," Brennan Cumberland added.
"It was an amazing experience which could not have been possible without the support of Rotary, our teachers, parents as well as our billets," Natalija Stanojevic said.
The students thanked everyone involved, including Moree-on-Gwydir Rotary Club which sponsored both teams; Gunnedah Rotarians who organised the event and billeted the students as well as providing dinner and a disco on Saturday night; Kate Brennan who made the table decorations, drove the students to Gunnedah and was their team counsellor; Miss Ellis who gave insights and tips to the students; and Mrs Cayirylys who publicised and coordinated the teams.