In line with the mission of St Laurence’s College as a school in the Edmund Rice tradition, senior students at St Laurence’s College have extended their role as advocates for social harmony and equity, into the international community. Connecting with other youth interested in foreign affairs, international relations, and advocacy mechanisms, SLC students have excelled in their involvement in the United Nations Youth Program, in particular residential conferences and the national and international Model UN competitions.
On a personal note, I would like to thank UN Youth Australia (UNYA) for their invaluable work of providing opportunities for students to develop their understanding of international affairs and providing a mechanism for students to become advocates of social equity and human rights. As a host of Model UN competitions, workshops and conferences, it has been absolute pleasure working with the Queensland branch of UNYA, and I look forward to working with them further in the future.
Above: SLC Students at a Model UN workshop hosted by St Laurence’s College
Above: Students from throughout Queensland gather at SLC to participate in a Model UN workshop
SLC students have experienced great success as competitors in the Evatt Trophy competition, where students compete in pairs as member nations of a Model United Nations Security Council.
Left to Right: Joshua Keenan and Liam Thomas at the National Final for the Evatt Trophy
As one of the five winners of the Queensland round of the Evatt Trophy, Year 12 students Liam Thomas and Joshua Keenan competed in the national final of the Evatt Trophy, held in Tasmania in December 2011, where they once again reigned victorious as members of the winning Queensland State team.
Dear Ms Alpert,
Being assigned the country of Portugal along with Spain and the USSR in the two historical debates in the preliminary rounds we took on our competition and advanced, along with all other Queensland teams, to the grand final.
We were assigned the nation of Lebanon for this day of MUN – a tough nation given that the topics were LGBT rights and a hypothetical nuclear bombing of Berlin by Pakistani insurgents. However, we emerged from the debate with an honorable mention (meaning we placed in the top five in a pool of 30 teams). Queensland took home the trophy for a third straight year, winning the inaugural Toone Shield for Best Delegation.
While it was an intense five days of debate we had a little time off to go to Salamanca Markets and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).
St Laurence’s College is particularly proud of Year 12 student Liam Thomas, who was invited to attend the Hague International Model United Nations competition and European tour in January 2012.
Liam Thomas recently returned from The Hague International Model United Nations tour. Every year UN Youth Australia sends a delegation of 17 high school students to The Hague International Model United Nations in the Netherlands in January. As a delegate who has consistently performed at an exceptionally high standard, Liam Thomas was offered a place in the Australian Schools Delegation to THIMUN 2012.
THIMUN is a week-long Model UN conference, seeing over four thousand students attend each year representing schools from over fifty countries around the world. At the conference, delegates participate in model UN debate and discuss issues of international concern with some of the world's brightest young minds. Reports of the outcomes of the various committees and commissions of THIMUN are sent directly to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon, who in turn provides a response. For 40 years, THIMUN has helped young people become leaders and despite only a ten-year involvement with the conference, Australia's delegation is continually regarded as being one of the finest to attend each year.
Above: Liam Thomas in Europe
Prior to attending the THIMUN conference, the Australian delegation embarked on an educational tour of Europe. Throughout this tour students visited several historical cities focusing on modern history and international relations. This tour was an incredible travel opportunity and provided delegates opportunities to meet with politicians, diplomats and academics.
Dear Ms. Alpert,
My trip to The Hague International Model United Nations in January with UN Youth Australia was truly once in a lifetime. While we had a lot of fun visiting places all around Europe there was a serious side to the trip and we engaged in meetings with various diplomats and politicians from different ends of the spectrum. We had a meetings with:
- Brendan Nelson, the Australian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the EU and Nato,
- The Australian Delegation to UNESCO,
- Neil Mules, Australian ambassador to the Netherlands,
- The International Crisis Group,
- The United Kingdom Independence Party, and
- A number of other lower levels diplomats.
These meetings proved insightful into the inner workings of international relations and politics in general. The trip also provided tours where we were immersed into the history and culture of many of the places we visited. An example of this is visiting Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany.
Of course the major activity of the trip was attending The Hague International Model United Nations. Over 3,000 youth from around the world attended conference either being a delegation that represented their school, a state or a country. Debate was fierce and as well as developing skills in public speaking and international relations I met a number of wonderful people from around the world who 2 months after the conference I'm still in contact with.
I'd once again like to thank St. Laurence's for their support not only for covering some of the costs of this trip but for me to attend a number of other UN Youth Australia events during my time at Lauries.
Congratulations Liam on your participation in the Hague International Model United Nations. We wish you the best in your adventures beyond Year 12, and we thank you for your contributions to St Laurence’s College as a gentleman of the hill.
Director of the United Nations Youth Program