Posted by Ian Salek

Last Tuesday evening those attending the Rotary Glenferrie Meeting could not help being impressed by presentations from two Schools, Sacre Coeur and Sienna College. Both Schools covered their experience at Rotary’s Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA). What MUNA does is simulate the workings of the UN Assembly by having teams of two senior students from each of a number of schools represent a particular UN country in debates on matters of world political and social concern. It is a Rotary International program and is enthusiastically supported by the United Nations. Attending our Glenferrie Meeting were from Sacre Couer, its Team of Phoebe Burke and Polly Hara, representing China. From Siena College the Students were Abbie Brownless and Sophia Velasquez representing Italy. Click on 'Read more' for a paragraph from each School on their experience at MUNA.

Sophia Velasquez & Abbie Brownless
Phoebe Bourke, Polly Hara &
teacher Megan Marshall
Siena College - Abbie Brownless and Sophia Velasquez
Winners of one of 3 awards - Best costume for their Mario and Luigi outfits.

During the holidays we were privileged to represent Siena College at MUNA. We were representing Italy. Prior to the event we were required to research Italy’s political system and recent international disputes or conflicts to determine the best countries for us to form alliances with. We debated many resolutions and proposed laws, many of our alliances were short lived (if not for an hour or two!), but most of all we challenged ourselves, had a lot of fun and it allowed us to meet some interesting people. We were very excited to win our award!
Sacre Coeur Students - Phoebe Burke and Polly Hara
Phoebe Bourke and I were sponsored by Glenferrie Rotary to participate in MUNA. Debaters and keen Global Politics students, we both thoroughly enjoyed a weekend of arguing over resolutions, forming diplomatic ties and meeting like-minded students. It was an amazing experience and we both came away with lots to think about, and friendships with a group of intelligent young people. MUNA was not only a fun weekend (with some very inventive costumes and accents) but also an amazing opportunity for us to expand our ideas and thinking, as well as a forum to share our own voice. MUNA was the perfect hands-on platform to learn about UN summits and diplomatic relations, as well as delve deeper into global issues and politics. As Global students ourselves, this weekend was an excellent way to test our knowledge and gain new perspectives. This was likely the biggest challenge of MUNA: removing our personal biases to fully engage with our selected country. Phoebe and I were nominated as the delegates of China, a country with vastly different politics and ideals to our own. Thus, it was a fun challenge to step into a new mindset, research differently and argue points we often disagreed with. I think, ultimately, MUNA has allowed us more empathy towards differing opinions and taught us how integral tolerance and respect is found in global relations. These platforms for student voice are so important, and we’re very grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully, we can remain a part of the Rotary community in the future.
The eloquent Presentations made by all four young women gave Members a great sense of confidence about the future of Australia and was in stark contrast to some elements of Sydney youth portrayed in a recent episode of the ABC’s ‘Four Corners’ Program.