Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Girls are speaking up for the planet and all of our futures

Girls are speaking up for the planet and all of our futures

EARLIER this month Queen Anne’s School in Caversham hosted the annual Foundation Model United Nations, welcoming students — or delegates as they are known for the event — from the five schools to embrace the UN negotiation process and take part in lobbying and formal debates.

The MUN delegates were assigned a UN member state, with girls from Queen Anne’s representing South Korea, South Africa, Bangladesh, Israel and the Netherlands in tough topics including “Combating illegal and immoral organ donation and trafficking”, “Ageism: challenging negative stereotypes and improving the lives of the elderly” and “The health implications of climate change”.

Created in 1945, Model United Nations conferences simulate a real UN conference and enable the student participants to develop their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of international issues, as well as improving their public speaking and debating skills, and learning how to solve problems constructively.

The event at Queen Anne’s on Friday, October 11, saw experienced NGO lawyer Nour Sakr invited as keynote speaker for the day.

She delivered an inspiring speech on the difficulties that Syrian refugees have faced integrating into Europe since the war in Syria.

Headmistress Julia Harrington strives to ensure that social and political debate is high on the agenda at Queen Anne’s.

She said: “In the current political climate it’s more important than ever for young people to engage in debate and to explore international issues. Right from year seven, girls are encouraged to consider big topics and we have been hugely impressed by the students’ strong sense of social responsibility.

“The girls are willing to speak out on the subjects that they feel passionate about and we have seen a number of inspiring student-led initiatives from the new Current Affairs Society to a Youth4Climate protest.”

However, the debate doesn’t stop at public speaking and students explore their views through the arts too.

“Last term we saw striking political and protest art from our year eight,” added Mrs Harrington. “Whilst at speech day a group of lower sixth girls delivered a thought-provoking drama performance of ‘There’s no Planet B’ about how humans have mistreated our planet and Raffiah in year U5 performed a powerful and moving monologue from the perspective of a refugee child, reminding the audience how we must still fight for equality across the world.”

Based in Henley Road, Caversham, Queen Anne’s is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18.

It is part of the prestigious United Westminster Grey Coat Foundation.

Made up of five schools — two state and three independent — the foundation schools regularly share inter-school activities including an annual art exhibition and sports day.

Find out more about an education at Queen Anne’s at the school’s next open morning on Friday, November 15.

Visit www.qas.org.uk or call 0118 918 7333 to book your place or to arrange an individual tour.

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