Model students embrace UN experience

Griffith students Courtney Dalton and Thomas Hogan at the inaugural GriffMUN.
Students Courtney Dalton and Thomas Hogan at the inaugural GriffMUN.

A 12-strong delegation from the Griffith University Gold Coast United Nations Students Association attended the Sydney Model United Nations Conference.

These included third-year Commerce and Law student Thomas Hogan and Courtney Dalton, who has just completed her second year of a double degree in Politics, Government and International Relations and Law.

“We have all returned with enhanced professional skills, an expanded network contact list, and wonderful memories of our time at the conference,” said Thomas who has now set his sights on the Harvard Model United Nations Conference (WorldMUN) in Brussels next March.

Courtney, who is president of the Griffith University United Nations Student Association, was part of the first official Griffith delegation to attend the Harvard WorldMUN in Melbourne last year, paving the way for students like Thomas and international business student Dylan Hubbard to hopefully follow in their footsteps this year.

“Griffith students are seen as some of the best in this field and deserving of being accepted into this highly exclusive environment,” said Thomas, who is treasurer of the Griffith University Gold Coast United Nations Students Association.

“WorldMUN develops professional skills in public speaking and knowledge of international subjects like human rights, cultural relativism, institutional diplomacy and world economics.”

Both Courtney and Thomas attended the inaugural GriffMUN on the Gold Coast last week.

At the three-day SydMUN, during the holidays, the Griffith group was exposed to the structures and procedures of the United Nations, building their international skills and knowledge.

Hundreds of university students from around Australia and New Zealand attended the replica event, with students representing countries on topical issues within UN committees.

With a set-up that included a General Assembly, Security Council, International Criminal Court, Human Rights Council and International Court of Justice, they embraced the opportunity to gain a privileged understanding of how the UN functions.

Aspiring diplomat, Courtney Dalton, represented Japan on a UN Development Program Committee examining the impact of corruption on humanitarian aid.

“The committee’s resolution proposed a set of standards for both developing and developed nations when engaging in aid partnerships,” said Courtney.

“Its main effects would be the enforcement of transparency in recipient nations in exchange for a commitment to development from donor states.  Our endeavours demonstrated the necessity for fresh-thinking and new ideas in this area.

“Although the resolution has no official influence, there is a possibility that it may be noted by UN officials and taken on board.”

Both Courtney and Thomas took part in five committee sessions and attended a lecture by the Honourable Michael KirbyAC CMG and a closing ceremony involving retired former Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

“All of these events have provided me with new information and skills,” Courtney said.

Both Courtney and Thomas were supported by Griffith Business School in their attendance of SydMUN 2013.