On Thursday 22 July, the 2021 Model UN in Japanese was run online for senior secondary students studying Japanese. This event was organised by the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) (Victorian Division) and supported by the Department of Education and Training and the Japanese Language Teachers’ Association of Victoria Inc. (JLTAV). The Model UN in Japanese provides the perfect opportunity for students to use their Japanese in an authentic context, and to work with students learning Japanese at other schools. In 2021, 7 schools across Victoria were involved in the event.
The theme for this year’s event was ‘Planet Ocean: Protecting the World’s Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources’. Mr Satoshi Sanada from the Asia Education Foundation was the Acting Secretary-General and ensured the day ran smoothly in the virtual format. There were also guest speakers including Mr Carlisle Richardson, former ambassador of St Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations and current board member of the United Nations Association of Victoria, and the Consul-General of Japan, Melbourne, Mr Junji Shimada.
In order to support participating schools prepare for the day, a comprehensive delegate information pack was provided by the UNAA Victoria, with information provided in both English and Japanese, along with useful vocabulary related to the theme of Planet Ocean which the students were able to use on the day. The countries represented on the day included: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Senegal, Tanzania, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Prior to the event, students were asked to prepare and pre-record a Position Statement for the country they were allocated. The statements were viewed by all participants in the week prior to the day, and congratulations to all students for the way they spoke so confidently and clearly in Japanese.
After the viewing of the Position Statements prior to the day, the day was broken into three online sessions: caucus, amendments and voting on the final resolution. During the caucus and amendment sessions, students came together to put their country’s views forward to the General Assembly. Students also engaged with other students via negotiation chambers in the unmoderated caucus session. Throughout the day students were able to work collaboratively to come up with various exchanges of information, ideas and opinions in Japanese. Students were also supported by language assistants from the Department of Education and Training. Thank you to the assistants who helped students in the breakout sessions.
Students are to be commended for their enthusiastic participation throughout the day. We encourage students from all schools and different levels of ability to participate in future events. The Model UN in Japanese provides students with a valuable opportunity to experiment with the language and to develop their Japanese skills in a supportive environment.