Monday, 18 March 2013

PGS Model United Nations Conference 2013

by Ross Watkins

Lobbying within the Politics Committee
(photo: Ben Slader)
The PGS MUN conference took place on the 15th-16th March, 2013. It was an hugely enjoyable experience for all who participated. The Secretary General this year was William Wallace and the event was coordinated by Daniel Rollins and Mr. Burkinshaw.

The event started at five o'clock on the Friday. Over one hundred delegates attended from Portsmouth Grammar and Springfield School. We all assembled in the Memorial Library and we were given the housekeeping notes; keen to get into debating, we all rushed to our various committees.
The Friday is taken up with lobbying, i.e. presenting our resolutions to the rest of the members of the committee (I was in the Politics Committee) in order to decide which ones to debate tomorrow. I started off lobbying on behalf of my resolution and I thought I had done well. But, unlike last year, everybody seemed to have brought a resolution and the competition for the successful resolutions increased. My fear came true when I realised that half the delegates had done a resolution on the same subject as me (abolishing the death penalty). Finally we decided to vote; soon after voting began, I realised my resolution would not get through so I began to think how to support or attack certain other resolutions. Soon, after various votes (some more questionably democratic than others), we had four very good resolutions to debate the next day, on: the re-introduction of the death penalty; worldwide animal rights; supporting new democracies in Northern Africa; and creating a peaceful solution to the civil wars caused by the 'Arab Spring'.
We were quickly rushed off to the Dining Hall, where we enjoyed dinner, continuing to debate the resolutions and make alliances with others in our committee. As the evening drew on, we had a Quiz. A set of five questions were given by the chairs of each committee and, a few questionable answers later, the Quiz drew to a close with a rendition of the Soviet National Anthem by Will Wallace (!)
Politics Committee debating a resolution
(photo: Ben Slader)
We all made our way home contemplating how we were going to debate resolutions tomorrow and most of all wondering what the focus would be of Saturday afternoon's Emergency Debate. Certainly this was on the minds of most of the delegates who had attended in prior years (me included), as the Emergency Debate is always the most anticipated part of the conference.
As I left my car and walked through the rain on Saturday morning, I kept going through various scenarios in my head of what the Emergency Debate would be about. However, as I learned later, I was completely wrong in all of my predictions. We all made our way to the Memorial Library and listened to a very good speech by Will Wallace. Satisfied we made our way to our various committees.
Russia intervenes in the
Emergency Debate
(source: Ben Slader)
The first resolution to be debated in the Politics Committee was reinstating the death penalty, put forward by the delegate from Iran. We had a very good debate and many amendments were passed, but Iran still stayed true to its core values. By the end, the debate was dragging on but, after a well placed "motion to move straight to voting," the resolution narrowly failed. The next resolution was submitted by Sweden and concerned animal rights. This was one which I supported greatly and I made a lengthy speech in support. After a heated debate (and to the delight of Will Wallace), the resolution passed. Our third resolution of the day was submitted by Somalia and concerned the new democracies in North Africa. I supported this but the support was not widespread. I was concerned by the fact that Germany viewed the Northern African democracies as potential "companies" from which to make money. I argued against this but an amendment changing the aid to interest loans passed.  The positive spin on the amendment was that now the resolution passed. At this moment, we were quickly whisked up to the Memorial Library. This was the part I had waited a year to hear, the announcement of the Emergency Debate.
The news report came in and we all listened as we were told that the US nuclear power plants had been attacked by a virus they had previously used themselves against Iranian nuclear sites. The virus had mutated and was traced back to Swedish servers. That was all the information we were given and we were then sent to lunch. Throughout lunch, a massive alliance of western powers was formed. Distressed at the power (im)balance, I asked to defect from my current country and create a new delegation from Russia for the Emergency Debate. My wish was granted and we all went into the Emergency Debate knowing that there were two massive alliances which were ready to attack each other at the smallest of incidents.
The second snippet of information we were given, once we returned to the Memorial Library, was that America had attacked Pakistan with a drone and killed 24 of its civilians. I immediately, as Russia, attacked America (verbally) and made an amendment demanding that America be punished harshly and pay reparations to Pakistan. After a furious question and answer session with America's allies, the amendment got through. The debated continued and it seemed to be going badly for America and its allies (thanks in part to Russia). The assembly was then presented with an amendment by Norway to ban all unmanned drones. This was not taken to kindly and after a short debate it failed miserably. 
Pakistan's delegation
confront the USA
(photo: Ben Slader)
The debate continued and was stopped as the final chunk of information came through (courtesy, again, of Mr Elphick-Smith reading the news on PGS MUN's own HD Channel): Pakistan and India had mobilised on the border and had exchanged shots. As the ally of Pakistan, I was having none of this and therefore mobilised the Russian army to protect Pakistan. The situation got tense and there was furious debating on what to be done; however, we managed to avoid all out nuclear war. Just. We had speeches for and against the resolution as a whole and, after a very convincing speech against by South Africa, the resolution passed, basically blaming the USA for most of the damage caused. There was an angry-looking American delegation as the conference came to an end.
It was a hugely enjoyable conference for all involved and many thanks are due to all of the committee chairs, the Secretary General, Policy Director Daniel Rollins and Mr. Burkinshaw. I appreciate all of their work in making this an amazingly enjoyable conference and I urge you all to come along next year to something which has made itself into the highlight of my year. Now the countdown starts to next year's conference. 
Read, also, Tilly Bell's PGS MUN Conference 2013: A Year 6 Experience and see more of Ben Slader's Images from PGS MUN Conference 2013.


  1. Charlie Scutts looks funny in those pictures

  2. It wasn't just the US who was angry! It was also the rest of the Mighty Alliance; USA, UK, India, Brazil, Israel and South Africa. Wonderful conference folks, thank you so much to Dan, Will and the effortlessly brilliant Mr B.

    1. But we still won

    2. And the 'Mighty Alliance' was defeated by the underdogs

  3. i see you have no pic of the sience and tech debat since that was fun

  4. It looked like a great day!

  5. It was a really cool day, and i'm going again next year!


Comments with names are more likely to be published.