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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 138 | October 4 , 2009|


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1st annual conference on
Model United Nations held

Md. Mahamud Hasan

A discussion was held on 'Furthering women education' recently at TARC Savar, BRAC. The rural students simulated a meeting of UNESCO, one of the committees of the United Nations. The conference was organised by Post Primary Basic and Continuing Education (PACE) of BRAC Education Programme (BEP).

Model United Nations is a new concept in Bangladesh. Here, students research a country, take on roles as diplomats, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.

In the 1st conference, participants got a chance to employ a variety of communication and critical thinking skills in order to represent the policies of their respective countries. They exercised their talents in public speaking, group communication, policy analysis, active listening, negotiating, conflict resolution, and technical writing.

Most importantly, they negotiated with each other to find a solution. It is cooperation rather than competition, peace and harmony over quarrel. There is opposition and negotiation, debate and compromise. Every decision is put to a vote, rather than decided by a judge. In this respect, Model United Nations is unlike any other co-curricular activity.

BEP Director Dr. Safiqul Islam in his chief guest's speech opined that a substantial change can take place in the mind of the young learners, if Model UN is implemented as a co-curricular activity. He said that it is being widely practiced throughout America, Canada, and other developed countries. Recently in Bangladesh, one or two prominent English-medium schools have started practicing/doing this activity. Though it was an ambitious plan, BEP-PACE decided to carry out the experiment with rural secondary school students. The only question was the parameters within which it would be carried out. Thus, PACE, a pioneer in handling and building the capacity of rural schools, became the first organization which introduced and helped to practice Model UN to 8 rural schools.

He thanked the students, teachers and organizers for turning such a dream into reality.

He told that Model UN aims to educate students about civics, effective communication, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. He addressed students as diplomats and urged to keep this endeavour continued. He expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the participating students.

Programme Head, PACE & ADP applauded the participants for their enthusiasm, zeal and hard work. He suggested them to keep their effort to touch the peak of success.

Quoting from Rabindranath, Programme Manager, PACE Dr. Jaya Sen Gupta urged the students to know their country well.

BRAC intern Chicago University student Srabon Kannon along with a team of teacher trainers supervised the students during the orientation.

Among others concerned school head teachers, subject teachers, regional managers of BEP-PACE, teacher trainers, officials from head office attended the conference.

The participating schools were Deanerchar High School, Danga High School and Chandanbari High School of Narsingdi, Mograpara HGGS Smriti Bidyatan of Narayangonj, Rajabari High School of Tangail, Konabari MA Kuddus High School, Kashimpur and Rajendrapur High School of Gazipur.

The represented countries were India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Haiti, Chile, Mozambique Iran, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

After the conference a prize giving ceremony was organized. Prizes were given in the category of the best delegation- 2 prizes, honourable mention-4 prizes, the best journalist- 1 prize and the most improvement-1 prize. Delegates from India Jayeda Akter Tuly and Kazi Salauddin won the best delegation category. The prize included a book and 500 taka for each. Nishat Tasnim who represented AFP won the best journalist category. Delegates from Pakistan Shihabul Islam Akib and Kaid-e- Azam and from Haiti Golam Kibria and Md. Nasirullah won the honorable mention category. Juena Akter won the most improvement category.

(Trainer, English Team, BRAC Education Programme (BEP)-PACE)

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