Branksome Hall News

Branksome MUN Takes on the Netherlands

Model United Nations (MUN) at Branksome Hall is more than just an after-school club. Over the years, this group of students in Grades 7–12 has turned into something of a family, where older students uplift the younger ones and everyone is encouraged to use their voice to effect change.
On January 20, 2023, 12 of Branksome’s MUN delegates departed for The Netherlands to participate in The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN), a four-day simulation of the United Nations for secondary school students. Branksome Hall has been participating in the conference since the mid 1990’s and has developed a reputation of excellence based on the delegations that have represented our school throughout the years. Branksome Hall is the only school in Canada to have been invited to THIMUN in 2023. Trip organizer Ms. Higginson reflected on the process of making this trip possible: “The many hours of planning and organizing the THIMUN trip were worth it just seeing the students’ excitement and enthusiasm throughout the trip. It will definitely be a highlight of their Branksome careers.”

This year’s trip was an opportunity many BH MUN members have dreamt about for their entire time in the club. For the past two years the conferences took place online due to the pandemic, making it impossible for Branksome students to visit The Hague. “I got into MUN in Grade 8 when Mr. Brownson suggested I join the club. I loved it, stuck with the club when it was online during the pandemic, and here we are! Finally being there in person surrounded by students from around the world was so special,” Grade 11 student and Head Delegate Yara recounted. 

The theme of the 2023 THIMUN conference was “The Future of Borders,” and Branksome Hall represented the country of South Sudan. The young delegates discussed, negotiated and debated issues that the United Nations are still searching for solutions to even now. “To me, the theme meant that we young people are responsible for redefining the meaning of borders,” Grade 10 student Julie explained. “Our world today is divided, with countries declaring war against each other and disputes in politics. This makes it especially hard for countries to come to a collective solution for pressing issues. Though the UN today has not achieved that, it makes it all the more important for us, the future of this world, to redefine the borders of countries and collaborate despite coming from different places and having different views.” 

The trip was also incredibly impactful during times outside of sessions. After the conference wrapped up at 5:00 p.m. every day, the students got to explore The Netherlands and take in its beauty while bonding with their peers. The group visited places like the Rijksmuseum and Mauritshuis to view iconic artwork by Rembrandt and Vermeer, as well as the Anne Frank House and The Oude Kerk. “While having fun with my THIMUN teammates, I found myself creating bonds with students that I didn’t really talk to before. I’m glad that this trip provided me with the opportunity to explore a beautiful city, while also helping me branch out and expand my social circle,” Julie reflected.

As the group returned to Toronto, the excitement turned into reflection as the students thought about the incredible opportunity they had just taken part in. For a group so young, this was an accomplishment like no other and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they would never forget. Grade 10 student Lina explains how impactful this trip was for the Branksome delegation: “Apart from being in one of the most beautiful cities we have ever been to, there was one main thing that I will never forget. We were in the city where countries gather in conferences and international courts to foster peace through justice, rather than conflict. Being in this environment was a privilege.”

Congratulations to all who participated in THIMUN this year, and thank you to Ms. Higginson, Mr. Brownson and Mr. Narancsik for your dedication to the team and making this trip possible. We would also like to thank the generous donors who have contributed to The Annual Fund and supported THIMUN as a key priority. We look forward to seeing what BH MUN will do next. 


Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.
Branksome Hall
10 Elm Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada
M4W 1N4

Toronto's leading independent International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls. Study abroad in Grade 9.