While New York is the usual headquarters of the United Nations schools from across Cumbria are creating a new temporary home for the organisation…at Carlisle Racecourse.
On Monday June 27, 50 pupils – ten each from Dowdales School in Dalton-in-Furness, Stainburn School and Science College, St Benedict’s Catholic High School in Whitehaven, Whitehaven School and William Howard School in Brampton – are taking part in a UN themed project where they will take on the roles of United Nations delegates, journalists or human rights advocates.
They’ll spend the day debating at Carlisle Racecourse and working together to achieve a UN Resolution on ‘Achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015’ and get a taste of the work of the United Nations and how the organisation can help improve people’s lives around the world.
The Model United Nations event, run and organised by Sara Nobili-Park from Cumbria County Council’s inclusive learning team with the help of external funding from the Schools Linking Network (SLN), will see the young people represent 10 countries – Tanzania, Liberia, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, United Kingdom, Japan, United States, Germany and Bangladesh.
Those representing the countries will play the role of UN delegates/ambassadors and will be grilled by other young people playing as journalists from three media organisations – CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera.
Non governmental organisations Barnardo’s, Oxfam and World for World will also be represented and play a part in crafting the resolution.
The pupils involved are all working towards gaining the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award and this event will support the schools in providing evidence for the award by demonstrating they have an understanding of global issues and promoting social change.
Certificates will be presented at the end of the day which runs between 10am and 3pm.
Cllr Duncan Fairbairn, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for Schools and Learning, said: "Most of us are familiar with what the United Nations is and what the organisation does, but to actually get a taste of what it feels like to be a UN delegate, journalist or lobbyist and create a resolution will be exciting for all those taking part."
Cllr Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for Children’s Social Care, said: "The UNICEF Rights Respecting School award is a fantastic way of teaching young people about world issues and how the international community can work together for the good of everyone and I’m delighted that these five schools from across Cumbria have got involved and that the United Nations is coming to Carlisle."
As well as getting funding from SLN, the event has been made possible with small grants from Cumbria Development Education Centre and Leeds DEC, an educational charity that aims to raise awareness of global sustainable development issues.
Media enquiries to media officer John Ballard on 01228 226330.