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Students take charge to usher in change

- Mock United Nations discusses global issues ranging from girl child education to crisis in Middle East

Bhubaneswar, July 26: A hundred voices rose in unison to support education for the girl child on the inaugural day of Sai-Model United Nations (Saimun) conference here.

Saimun is a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly and multilateral agencies of the UN.

Over 300 students from different schools, including four from abroad, are taking part in the three-day event at Sai International School. Each of them is playing the role of a diplomat representing a country or an international NGO to discuss different global issues over a number of sessions and find solutions.

“Girls continue to be neglected in society and don’t get the right motivation to stand on their own feet. Their education is still a taboo in certain parts of the world. A recent case was that of Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot at by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education in her country. Today she is back on her feet and is inspiring other children to pick up their satchels and go to school,” said Class X student Saurav Das, an Odia from Dubai.

Apart from girl child education, other topics being deliberated simultaneously under five committees include religious teaching in public schools, Kashmir conflict, rights of journalists during armed conflicts, setting up a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East, prevention of arms race in outer space, inclusion of Palestine as a UN member state and present situation in Korean peninsula.

“In a model assembly, we deal with different issues and each individual has his own set of ideas and views. Apart from understanding international politics, we learn diplomacy,” said Snehadeep Kayet, a BTech student of KIIT University.

“The resolutions passed here will be collected by the UNIC so that they reach a higher forum,” said Saras Bansal, Snehadeep’s classmate. Both of them were chairing the session on girl child education.

Organisers said it was the first model assembly featuring international delegates. Besides Saurav from Dubai, the other overseas participants have come from the UK, USA and Bangladesh. Vishal Aditya Sahoo, a student of Sai International, is enacting the role of secretary general.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the programme and said history was replete with incidents of youth wielding the baton of change and reshaping the course of events.