First published in ACCESS Spring 2014 e-zine
Nothing represents the city of The Hague, as the ‘International City of Peace and Justice’ better than The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN).
THIMUN began as a local Model United Nations (MUN) conference in The Hague in 1968 and The British School in The Netherlands has ties reaching back to its formation – more than 45 years ago. Today, the BSN students are still very much involved with this valuable and positive experience, and look forward to their participation.
The annual conference, now held at the World Forum in the centre of The Hague, brings together over 3,500 students from schools around the world – including all BSN Year 12 – to participate in debate and representation. THIMUN gives young people a voice and the opportunity to engage with real issues of global importance, which are outside their usual frame of reference.
THIMUN’s mission is clear – to promote interaction and dialogue between young people from a variety of backgrounds, formulating peaceful solutions to the world’s problems and preparing today’s youth for tomorrow’s leadership positions. Over the years, countless BSN students have taken part in THIMUN alongside their peers from other countries and many of these can -certainly be said to have continued into positions of leadership.
The 1983 Spanish delegation included the young Prins Willem-Alexander, now King of the Netherlands. Former BSN student, Charles Pridgeon, was one of the students from the BSN’s delegation that year and remembers it well; “I remember Willem-Alexander at the MUN - we chatted a bit as he was also a member of the Haagsche Golf Club where I played regularly at the time. I felt very honoured to represent the school at the MUN for three years – the first year on a political committee for Singapore, the -second year for France and in my final year, Head of Delegation and on the Human Rights Committee for Apartheid-era South Africa. Now that was a challenge!”
Co-Chair of the THIMUN Foundation, Frances Laughlin shared her views: “This is my seventeenth THIMUN, and I am still astonished by the capabilities of the students who take part, in whatever capacity. They blossom into ambassadors, negotiators, organisers, taking on adult roles with great -confidence. For students, it is part of the growing-up process – the boys and girls who arrive in the building on Monday morning leave as different people, with their heads full of new ideas and experiences, and their phones full of the addresses of new friends from around the world. I am filled with awe.”
Today’s Model United Nations (MUN) has grown and changed in many ways, but still remains an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda.
The British School in The Netherlands is an independent British international school with three Junior School campuses in The Hague and a Senior School in Voorschoten. With around 2,000 students, the BSN is the largest provider of International education in the Netherlands for children aged 3 to 18.
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