NEW YORK – Japanese high schools have won awards at the Global Classrooms International Model U.N. Conference in New York, where around 1,500 delegates discussed global issues in a simulation of real U.N. sessions, the organizer said Sunday.
Kaijo Senior High School in Tokyo won the top prize in a forum modeling the U.N. Industrial Development Organization. It was the first time delegates sent by the Japan Committee for Global Classrooms and the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO walked away with the top prize since 2014.
Shibuya Senior High School and Shoei Girls’ Senior High School, also from Tokyo, won prizes in forums modeled on the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the World Intellectual Property Organization, respectively.
In the two-day event through Saturday, delegates played the parts of diplomats representing countries assigned by the organizer and competed in skills contests related to negotiating and drafting resolutions. Many students from Japan were assigned to represent Uruguay.
“I think the way we facilitated smooth group discussions got high marks. I was lucky,” said Kento Yamada, a 16-year-old at Kaijo who discussed sustainable biofuel production in developing countries.
Yuka Motoda, a 17-year-old from Shoei who participated in negotiations on patent rights, said the international climate of the event stood out.
“In spite of the differences in the countries of origin, we were able to engage in negotiations with high schoolers on an equal footing,” Motoda said.
Representing Shibuya Senior High, Emiri Hasegawa, 16, discussed social protection for vulnerable people.
“We were able to compile a draft resolution that looked squarely at the reality of communities,” she said.