Evatt 2015 by Nikara Rangesh
Every year, around July or August, young Model United Nation debaters come together to compete with each other in the ultimate battle of debate and diplomacy, also known as the Evatt Trophy Competition.
This UN Youth event is a national competition for students from grade 9 to 12. It transforms students into delegates, as they represent Security Council nations in teams of two, in a mock Security Council, negotiation chamber included.
At each stage of the competition, delegates debate a mix of prepared and impromptu resolutions. Students have to apply their research and knowledge about their countries’ political and social stance to a range of topics. Usually, resolutions are on current international issues. These topics range from issues of health, to national security, to conflict. In looking into these issues, delegates are able to expand the way they think about these types of current international affairs.
The debate in the main chamber of any Evatt round follows a procedure that shadows that of the actual Security Council chamber. Every resolution requires an opening proposer’s speech from one nation, and a supporting seconder’s speech from another. Delegates who speak about their countries position on the resolution are then subject to points of information questions from other countries in the chamber. Furthermore, nations can ‘yield’ speaking time to each other, a tool that allows delegates to take advantage of country blocs. Note passing is also an integral part of debate, allowing nations to formally communicate with each other and with the Chair. Veto powers are also in play in the final voting of each resolution, with the P5 nations of France, China, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Russia part of every Evatt round. These procedural aspects of MUN debate make participation in Evatt all the more authentic for delegates.
Delegates can amend resolutions. This is where students can begin to be creative about the way they shape resolutions to suit their countries objectives. This is also where diplomacy comes in, since delegates need to convince other nations in the Security Council of the worth of their amendments, in order for them to be passed in the chamber. Hence, the negotiation chamber, where this type of communication between nations occur, is a crucial aspect of MUN debate.
Overall, students gain a plethora of skills from competing in Evatt. These include public speaking, diplomacy and research skills, which are useful to them in their studies, even beyond high school. Furthermore, it allows students to gain a better understanding of international affairs, educating them, through their own research and through debate, on issues that dominate the world stage.
Evatt is also a competition suitable for those who are new to UN Youth. Students who have never MUN-ed before have been able to do really well in Evatt, despite a lack of experience. In this way, Evatt is a good starting point for students to start becoming involved with UN Youth.
For those interested in international affairs, the workings of the Security Council or of the United Nations, Evatt is definitely a competition worth becoming involved in. Likewise, students who enjoy debating and public speaking should also register for Evatt to try Model United Nations debating. I encourage any students considering registering to do so, especially since the preliminary rounds are particularly beginner friendly. If you have any questions or queries regarding Evatt, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nikara Rangesh is the 2015 Evatt Trophy Competition convenor