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Diplomacy Is Not A Spectator Sport: Urban Academy Goes To 2024 VMUN Conference


There was a lot of excitement in the run-up to this year’s Vancouver Model UN (VMUN) conference. We had many students for whom this was a repeat performance, but also a number of new participants. In all, 32 students committed to attending and living up to the VMUN motto that “Diplomacy is not a spectator sport.” Witnessing the dedication and preparation undertaken by the delegates, there was a sense of anticipation for the conference. This conference was a significant commitment, having students conduct their research and write their position papers (many of whom completed their pre-work over the winter break) and then attend the three, full-day conference downtown with two overnight stays. There were early mornings, and late nights and this delegation worked hard every minute of each day.

Confidence and Dedication

It was very encouraging to see the growing confidence that many of the UA delegates displayed. For those who had attended previous conferences this was partly due to being a little more familiar with the format that the committees would take, but also stepping up being more assertive in a bigger and more dynamic environment. 

Collaboration Amid Challenges

The newcomers to the MUN conference circuit were also not backward about coming forward, and they were certainly encouraged by those who had been before, by their words and their deeds! For example, conference newcomer Lola (Grade 8)  worked very hard with Akilah (Grade 8) to build alliances in their committee, although there was a little controversy due to some unscrupulous behaviour from other delegates concerning the drafting of resolutions! 

It Takes A Village

With an attendee list that exceeded 1,500 delegates spread out over 20 committees, I was thankful for UA’s volunteer chaperones who helped me check in with the students throughout the conference. It really takes a team to make these kinds of opportunities for UA students happen so thank you Dr. Agrawal, Mr. Abt, Ms. Fischer and Mr. Douglas who were the overnight chaperones; as well as Ms. Bayles, Ms. Rigatti and Ms. Kennedy who were able to give up some of their weekends. Once again, everyone was impressed by the motivation and hard work our students displayed, and I want to thank our teachers and staff for their encouragement, support and apples! 

Active, Informed Citizens

These conferences are a way for young people to be “active, informed citizens,” and I just wanted to thank all of the delegates for their hard work and dedication that made this aim a reality. So now, I challenge all of those who have participated (and those who might think about participating) to think about what’s next for Urban Academy Model United Nations.