Branksome Hall student earns ‘diplomatic finesse award’ at Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium
Many outstanding student delegations have represented Branksome Hall at the Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium (SSUNS) throughout its history. Now in its 28th year, 11 of the 44 Model UN club members attended the three-day event, Nov. 13 to 15 on Zoom.
Distinguishing herself from a group of more than 1,300 students from around the world at Canada’s premier Model UN conference at the high school level, Grade 11 student Miranda earned the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Award for Diplomatic Finesse. Trudeau’s son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was the keynote speaker at this year’s conference.
"We are proud of our 11 delegates who attended SSUNS 2020,” says Faculty Advisor Meaghan Higginson. “We missed the [in-person] experience in Montreal this year, but still enjoyed this well-established conference organized by McGill University students. Well done to Miranda! She worked hard on her position paper and debated with confidence as the delegation of Portugal in the League of Nations Committee."
Model UN requires that students think on their feet, engaging in relevant discussion regarding the most pressing world issues. To speak at the highest and most confident level possible, Miranda has some tricks up her sleeve—namely, to conquer fear.
“It sounds really basic, but when you’re in an unfamiliar environment, with people speaking so eloquently left and right, it can become really tough to get the courage to even raise your placard (or virtual hand, in this case),” she says.
“But I think what really helped me was that I just put myself out there, and when I put myself in the shoes of the ‘role’ I was representing, it made it a lot easier to push forward, be it in terms of speaking more often, proposing new ideas or weighing pros and cons for the country I was representing.”
And, more importantly, Miranda came away from the experience, as all delegates do, with respect for the role politicians shoulder when they place themselves on the public stage.
“I felt really profoundly just how difficult decision-making is, when the outcome can impact an entire nation, if not the entire world,” she says. “It helped me understand and sympathize with how political leaders have to weigh not only the pros and cons of a decision, alliance or bill, for their own citizens, but also for the global community.”
Thanks are in order for Model UN Club Heads Mary and Chloe, who prepared students for the event. Next up is the online The Hague International Model United Nations in January 2021.