Christ’s Hospital holds challenging conference

Diplomatic Summit at Christ's Hospital SUS-150311-143637001
Diplomatic Summit at Christ's Hospital SUS-150311-143637001

Christ’s Hospital temporally became a diplomatic summit centre last month to host its annual International Peace and Security Conference.

More than one hundred young people from across the country took part in the conference, engaging with some of the most challenging current debates on conflict, development and security.

The two-day event featured a simulation of the United Nations Security Council in the midst of an ongoing international crisis.

The scenario featured the fictitious Southeast Asian island nation of Rengaan, which had recently been devastated by a tropical cyclone.

The government refused international assistance and ignored rebel-held areas in their rescue operations. Debate focused on whether military intervention could be justified under international law.

Delegates were updated on changes in the situation on the ground using TV-news style broadcasts, which were produced, filmed and edited by the students themselves.

Each student represented the policies of a country or non-governmental organisation, researching their viewpoints in the weeks leading up to the conference.

Debate was fast paced and challenging, requiring the young delegates to build relationships, develop consensus and make decisions under time pressure.

Although there were fears that the students representing China and Russia would employ their veto powers, a solution to the crisis was negotiated and a resolution passed in the final minutes of the second day.

Now in its fourth year, the conference is part of the school’s award-winning Model United Nations programme.

Participants also had the chance to unwind on the Saturday night, attending a black tie drinks reception and dinner in the school’s beautiful dining hall.

There was also the opportunity to see what life is like for students at the school, watching their famous daily band parade and participating in a special school chapel service of thanksgiving for the work of the United Nations.

Dr Alistair Goddard, who runs the Model United Nations programme at Christ’s Hospital, commented: “Building relationships fast, rapidly adapting to changing circumstances and understanding the viewpoints of others are just some of the skills that the conference tries to develop. They are crucial for young people preparing for life in a globalised world.”

“I am always very proud of the interest that Christ’s Hospital students demonstrate in international issues and their enthusiasm for new challenges. They worked incredibly hard to plan and organise such an extraordinary event”, he added.

Model United Nations is one of a number of co-curricular activities offered at the Horsham-based school.

Report and picture contributed by Christ’s Hospital.