If you would prefer to run a smaller program for your students, UN Youth ACT is happy to send our facilitators to your school to run a school visit. We run three different types of activities at our school visits, all of which engage students and encourage their participation. We can run any combination of these activities at your school visit.
We can cater these events to almost any topic related to international issues, human rights, politics, advocacy, etc. If you are unsure whether or not we can cater to you, please contact us and specify the issues you want to tackle so that we can run activities to suit your school curriculum.
PPL Workshops are most effectively used when attempting to delve into abstract or intricate concepts that need a lot of discussion to grasp. . These workshops can run between one to three hours depending on the depth and range of topics that schools want to discuss. These workshops often consist of three main activities that help students to grasp these concepts effectively. UN Youth facilitator led discussions provide information about a certain issue and prompt students to discuss their thoughts on the information provided and the questions asked. Spectrum debates ask students to physically put themselves on a spectrum from agreement to disagreement with a policy statement (e.g. Australian offshore detention centres (in their current state) are legitimate means of regulating our refugee intake) before discussing their positions. Collaborative activities require students to collaborate to answer major questions that have been asked throughout the workshop.
This is not an exhaustive list of the activities that we run in PPL workshops but these examples do provide a sample of how these workshops equip students with the skills aforementioned i.e. learning from peers, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, consciousness of global and domestic challenges etc. The scope for content in PPL workshops is extremely wide. . An example of our content is the Introduction to Conflict Workshop which explores the causes and dynamics of modern conflict, applying concepts such as the rules of war to modern day conflicts such as Israel-Palestine.
Interactive Problem Solving (IPS)
Interactive problem solving activities (IPS) ask students to work in teams to solve hypothetical crisis situations, while simultaneously learning about the powers of government and the UN. IPS usually runs for about 90 minutes but depends on the depth schools want to get into the IPS. The students will be split into two or more groups (usually government cabinets or dissenting political leadership) representing two or more sides of a hypothetical conﬂict,. They must establish their goals and pursue those goals through negotiation (or conﬂict) with the other side. Students therefore learn negotiation skills not only with their opposition, but also often within their own team – conflicting interests often exist within a single group. Facilitators complicate the scenarios by introducing new problems which the teams have a limited amount of time to solve, requiring students to think quickly and decisively. IPS is a fun way to get students to understand the challenges of the government as the teams are competing to achieve what is in their best interests.
The key differences between MUN and IPS is that IPS focuses more on understanding the intricacies of the actions of governments or certain interests’ groups. One historical IPS activity is based on the annexation of Crimea. Student teams (e.g. the Crimean locals, Ukraine, Russia) have to discuss what their plan of action is in this crisis and reach an end satisfying all parties involved.
Model UN Debating (MUN)
MUN Debating gives students the opportunity to exercise their diplomatic skills to resolve fictional and real world issues. Students are assigned a country and represent that country in a debate on a mock UN resolution. The resolutions we look at are a response or pre-emptive action to fix a international problem. The clauses in these resolutions are the proposed means for resolving that problem and students are asked to debate whether these clauses are the most effective/appropriate means of achieving that goal. MUN focuses on negotiation and diplomacy. Students must gain their peers’ support in order to pass their changes to the resolution. This workshop upskills students’ critical thinking, negotiation and public speaking skills whilst educating them about the potential pitfalls in international diplomacy within the United Nations. MUN debates are challenging and push students to engage every country has some stake in the resolution we bring forward. It takes approximately an hour to debate one resolution. For students who have never participated in MUN before, it is best to debate two resolutions so that they can hone their skills and gain confidence. We also run a short half-hour session on how to MUN for ﬁrst-timers. Our facilitators are all experienced MUN debaters, so don’t worry if your students have never done MUN before. MUN debating is one of our most engaging workshops and UN Youth runs a National MUN Competition (The Evatt Competition) for students, a testament to its effectiveness as a tool for engaging students.