The United Nations Association of South Africa (UNASA), with the support of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), is hosting its 4th Annual Model United Nations: South African Universities (MUNSAU) Conference. Running from 12 – 15 July, student delegates from various universities have gathered at the University of Pretoria to discuss the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
The conference holds model UN debates in which pupils from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds come together and debate on various topics relating to the United Nations and its goals. Based on the principles and format of a UN General Assembly debate, the Model UN provides an opportunity for improving relations between South African high school pupils from diverse backgrounds, while teaching them about the UN, international relations and issues of global and national importance. The project has always been funded in its entirety by the South African corporate sector.
This year, the conference has drawn top debaters from universities across South Africa including the Universities of Pretoria, Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Venda, Stellenbosch, North-West, Cape Town and Stellenbosch who will be negotiating to find a model resolution on the topic of the implementation and Road Map to achieving Global Sustainability
One of the partners of this event is Education Africa, a non-governmental organization aimed at improving access to quality education to all disadvantaged children in Africa. The organization adds that in the history of these conferences, this coming together of resourced and un-resourced schools has been taken one step further by some schools and not only restricted to the debates. Relationships between advantaged and disadvantaged schools have continued to grow, with schools sharing all sorts of other expertise and resources.
The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in South Africa plays an instrumental role in the National United Nations Debating Competition for South African High Schools. This includes selecting suitable debating topics and providing hands-on training regarding questions about the UN.
UNIC also assists with adjudicating the Model UN Debates for Gauteng province high schools, held in conjunction with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg and the Model United Nations at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In addition to high schools, Model UN debates take place at several universities throughout the country.
Other partners in this educational endeavor include the South African corporate sector, the South African Institute of International Affairs and the Department of Education in South Africa.