Students debate world issues

Secondary school pupils participate in mock UN Conference

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More than 100 students from 10 secondary schools, including Brentford School for Girls, Gumley House, Gunnersbury Catholic School, Isleworth and Syon School for Boys and St Marks, joined in the debate of major world issues at a mock UN Conference at Kingston University on Wednesday 2nd November.

The conference saw students from years 9 and 10 teaming up with university undergraduates to learn more about the relationships between the ‘rich’ and developing countries.

This event, which is linked into Hounslow’s Excellence in Cities programme, will also offer students an insight into university life and the opportunity to discuss higher education with politics students in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Cllr Ruth Cadbury, Executive Member for Children and Lifelong Learning said  “The Conference gives students a chance to see problems from different perspectives, and challenges them to question their own opinions. I hope we can also challenge more pupils to think about the benefits of going on to higher education by giving them some first hand experience of university life.

Students at the conference represented a range of countries with different standpoints to Britain, giving them new perspectives on global matters and political issues including:

· world poverty;

· the return of the Benin bronzes to Nigeria; and

· compensation for the 19th Century slave trade.

Stefani Shedden, Hounslow’s coordinator for gifted and talented pupils, said “Students start the day nervous and excited but by the end they have developed their own skills and confidence as well as gaining an appreciation of how hard it is to get international agreement for change. They all engage fully in political negotiations and make real progress in their understanding.”

November 2, 2005