Women's issues, the environment, trade paths in the South China Sea, and North Korea were hot topics among Highlands students recently.
Twenty-seven students representing four schools in the region debated the issues during a Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) on May 24.
It was the fifth consecutive year that the event had been hosted in a joint initiative by the Rotary Club of Berrima District, Moss Vale and Bowral-Mittagong Rotary Club. It was held at Wingecarribee Shire Council chambers and chaired by former Rotoract member Travis Holland who took on the role of secretary-general.
Among the schools that took part were Chevalier College with three teams, Oxley College and Frensham each with two teams and Bowral High and Southern Highlands Christian Schools which were both represented by a team.
Each team was made up of three speakers and was assigned a country to represent. This required them to speak on the topic at hand while keeping in mind the opinions and politics or their respective countries.
The countries included Cambodia, Italy and Israel all represented by Chevalier teams, China and Iran represented by Oxley College, Hungary and Sweden represented by Frensham, Japan potrayed by Southern Highlands Chrsitian School and the United Kingdom which was repsented by Bowral High School.
The students were kept busy throughout the day-long event researching each discussion topic so as to speak authentically from the viewpoint of their represented country. The intent of each team was to influence other countries and ultimately the vote on various recommendations, put before the assembly.
Three judges oversaw the proceedings with the focus of selecting the first and second place recipients and the winner of a Peace Prize. Judging paid specific attention to presentation, factually based arguments, understanding of the topics, convincing debate and refutation with strong counter-evidence.
First place was taken out by Southern Highlands Christian School representing Japan, second place went to Oxley College's team representing Iran and the Peace Prize went to Frensham's Swedish team.
The overall and Peace Prize winning teams will now go on to represent the Highlands at the National Model United Nations Assembly to be held at Old Parliament House, Canberra, in August.