Photo credit: AFTV. Castlemaine Secondary College students with Acting Secretary General Diane de Saint Léger of the School of Languages & Linguistics, University of Melbourne
On Friday 24 July 2015, student-delegates from over twenty Victorian schools met to debate the topic 'Refugees: Rights and Risks' at the French Model UN Conference for 2015.
Following the success of both the German 2015 and French 2014 Second-Language Model UN Conferences run by the UNAA Victoria, the third conference was sponsored by the Association of French Teachers in Victoria and the University of Melbourne.
The VCE students worked in small teams to represent 25 different countries involved in the conference. The students conducted the conference entirely in French, reading position statements on behalf of their allocated countries, as well as drafting, debating and voting on amendments to form a new UN Resolution.
The cohort passed a Resolution calling for refugees to be granted the highest possible level of social services that host countries can financially afford, as well as expanding the definition of refugees to include environmentally displaced persons, among other clauses.
The conference was held in the Law Building at the University of Melbourne, with acting Secretary General Diane de Saint Léger (French Studies, School of Languages and Linguistics) overseeing the day's proceedings.
Jane Macdonald, French teacher/Languages Coordinator at Castlemaine Secondary School, remarked on the conference, "It gave my students the chance to involve themselves in French in an activity that interested them and to meet other students from other schools, who like them, where enjoying the opportunity to discuss this issue in French".