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National UN reps
Photo by Kristan Mouat

National UN reps

Arnika Hazelwood —

Oscar McGuire and Ben Clayton (Year 12) will represent New Zealand at the 2016 UN Youth event in Australia.

The boys have been selected as 2 of 4 high school students from New Zealand to attend the 2016 UN Youth Australia Evatt Competition. The event will be held in December in Sydney.

Traditionally, teams of two from across Australia compete representing their respective states. However, New Zealand has been invited to send two teams (one North Island and South Island team). They were selected through a nationwide application process, which included a short-answer response, interview, and an essay.

Held in the first week of December in Sydney, the competition is a simulation of the United Nations Security Council, where teams represent a county currently on the security council, and are marked on their diplomatic, research, speaking and negotiation skills.

The competition is very debate focused, but also features workshops and guest speakers. During debate, teams receive documents called resolutions that they can amend depending on their country’s diplomatic position. If the judges consider a team’s arguments to be effective, they have the opportunity to advance to the finals (where 15 of the 30 teams compete).

Both boys are part of the Otago regional debating development squad so are talented speakers. Both have been Otago reps in other national United Nations events this year. Ben won an Embassy scholarship in July and spent a day as an intern with the Polish embassy in Wellington. Oscar was selected for a Pacific Project to Samoa and Australia in July and attended the Australian National Youth conference in Brisbane, and met branches of the UN in Samoa.