Celebrating 10 Years of Diplomacy at Benenden! Back to archive
15th December 2017

Benenden School has celebrated a decade of hosting an annual conference on diplomacy and debate.

Model United Nations (MUN) is an international programme in which schoolchildren simulate the processes of the United Nations, learning the fine art of diplomacy and international relations.

On Monday (11 December) Benenden celebrated the 10th consecutive year of hosting Benenden MUN (known as BMUN) as part of the MUN calendar of conferences.

BMUN has grown incredibly since its first, very small, conference in 2008. On Monday more than 250 children from 20 schools across the South East gathered for a day of speeches, committees, debate and resolutions. Such a large conference was a fitting way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of BMUN and it would have been the School’s biggest ever if the snow hadn’t forced some schools to cancel their attendance.

During the past 10 years, around 1,000 Benenden girls are estimated to have taken part in MUN.

Martin Loy, a Teacher of History, is the Head of MUN at Benenden. He said: “What is evident, when I speak to girls who have left Benenden, is the many skills MUN builds. They frequently tell me how it has helped them at university and in job interviews, as well as in their day-to-day life.

“In MUN you often have to represent very different views to your own, confidently and imaginatively, which is a real talent in itself, and I have seen girls become fantastic public speakers and much more confident young people through their involvement with MUN.

“The fact MUN is entirely student-led means the girls also develop their soft skills, such as communication, organisation, time management and working as part of a team to become really rounded individuals.”

At MUN conferences, teams of pupils, known as delegates, represent a particular member of the UN. They research the country or state and formulate positions that they then debate with their fellow delegates, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent.

Sixth Former Ellie Bishop was Secretary-General of Monday’s Conference, meaning she oversaw the organisation of the event and gave the closing speech.

Ellie said: “I have been doing MUN for seven years and it has been massive for me. It has increased my confidence and my public speaking has improved a thousand times over. Not only that, it has widened my knowledge of current affairs enormously and given me the opportunity to travel to some really cool places.”

Benenden Headmistress Samantha Price said: “We are delighted to have celebrated 10 years of Model United Nations at Benenden and it is wonderful to see how enormously popular MUN continues to be.

“MUN is a wonderful initiative that teaches pupils vital skills such as diplomacy and communication, as well as increasing their global awareness, and we look forward to hosting BMUN each year.”