Brookes Student discusses Model UN Society Success

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Model UN

The Oxford Brookes Model UN Society, formed by student Dalila Da Silva Lopes, was recently invited to attend a speech by the General Secretary of the United Nations António Guterres. In an interview Dalila tells us about the society.

Why did you start the society?
When I went abroad for my year abroad (Michigan in the US), I joined the Model Un at that University, going to conferences in Chicago and New York. It was a really good experience for me as it improved my confidence, allowing me to speak up in class and share my opinion, something I hadn’t been able to do before. So I thought, well why hasn’t Brookes got something like this? So I decided to set one up.

What does a Model UN do?

Usually we meet once a week, and prepare for the conferences we’re going to. So we assign you a country, then a committee and you have to do research the foreign policy of the country, it’s position on a particular topic, and from then on its practising your public speaking and diplomatic skills.

How did you get invited to meet the General Secretary?

So a big step in starting the club was affiliating it with the National United Nations Association UK. Due to our affiliation they invite us to a lot of their events.  For instance, we were invited to a celebration for Ukraine, and here I got to meet a variety of people including diplomats and representatives in from the Security Council. Recently they hosted Antonio Guterres (Secretary-General of the UN). The Vice President of the society and I were invited to attend. He gave a speech and we were allowed to ask questions after.

How do you think the experience will help you in the future?

I was always very, very quiet growing up, I never felt confident speaking out, and even more so in English as it isn’t my first language. I always found it difficult to point my point across, so in my first year of university I was quite withdrawn. Doing Model Un really gives you a boost because you suddenly feel confident and that what you have to say is important. I’m really glad I was able to bring that opportunity to other people (Brookes students) for instance at the start of this year we had a lot of people who would sit there and not speak. By the end of the year they were confidently making speeches and writing resolutions. As a whole it made me a much more confident person, especially in regards to public speaking.

How did Brookes provide support?

When I was setting up the society, I was actually still in the US, as there was a deadline to start a new society. Lucy (Ford, Senior Lecturer in International Relations) helped send around my proposal to other students, along with a video on what exactly a Model UN is, and I was inundated with responses. The SU were also helpful in setting up the society, providing us with finances to help towards attending conferences.

Dalila is just finishing her time at Oxford Brookes, and after graduation plans to pursue a Masters in Human Rights or Criminal Justice Policy.

Find out more about studying International Relations and Politics, and the societies Brookes has to offer on our website.