Jul 11, 2023

Nurturing Diversity: Empowering Youth for a Better Tomorrow

The UNPO jointly with Fiona McConnell, Professor at the University of Oxford and UNPO Academic Advisor, and Liam Saddington, a Professor at the University of Cambridge Advisor of the UNPO Youth Network, developed a few years ago the Model UNPO. 

Nowadays, we are proud to see that more and more, Model UNPO is being used by multiple schools across the UK to educate the youth on the challenges of geopolitics and to nurture empathy and understanding towards unrepresented people and nations.


The Model UNPO which is based on the Model UN is designed to help students immerse themselves in the world of geopolitics and diversity. The students are assigned different roles as representatives of stateless nations, indigenous peoples, and minority communities.

This model exposes the students not only to the world of UNPO but also to deeper issues related to conflicts, human rights violations, and environmental injustice issues. The Model UNPO has also been designed to be versatile and up to the teachers in charge to choose the topics of discussion (Topics during the discussion include development aid, corruption, geopolitics, the role of superpowers, and climate change.) Students during this simulation are doing deep research on the non-state actors that they have been assigned and they start drafting possible amend clauses for a resolution.


Exposing students to role-play simulations pushes them to a much more appreciation of the topics and enhances their knowledge of socioeconomic inequalities, global diversity, human rights, and environmental injustice. Nonetheless, students develop empathy and improve communication, debating skills, problem-solving, and team-building.

Throughout the Model UNPO teachers have reported that students were actively engaged and it enhanced their teamwork and oracy confidence. Students were also enthusiasts and jumped into their roles easily and enjoyed the debates. Another benefit of the Model UNPO is the exposure to the geopolitical world and the abstract concept of sovereignty which are not always so easy to understand. Students were also met with different feelings from feeling proud and taking pride for their amendments suggestions but also they were feeling frustrated and angry if the negotiations were not working as expected. This variety of emotions brought them to be exposed to what feels like working in the complex and injustice world of global governance. The Model UNPO was used by teachers from year 12 but it was used also in year 9 by simply adapting to younger students. 


It is important to expose the youth to such relevant issues in the geopolitical world and the Model UNPO has been proven to be a great and successful tool that brings the student to engage and learn about world issues that affect unrepresented people and nations. It helps in the development of their soft skills and it is useful as a  jump start toward the transition to university and future careers.