Four students from Tamahere’s Montessori School have represented New Zealand at a United Nations meeting in Italy.
The 10- and 11-year-old students, Avera Ngawaka, Aengus Moore, Aidan Smith and Husain Mehdi, took part in the Montessori Model United Nations – an international conference hosted at the UN Rome headquarters in May.
The four Kiwi primary school pupils were called on to represent UN member, Turkey, at the event, requiring dedicated research on the country’s government and background to fulfill their roles.
Avera researched the rights of people to self-determination, Aidan covered the convention on biological diversity, Aengus worked on protection of the global climate for present and future generations of humankind, and Husain studied the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
“The Montessori Model United Nations is an international conference where we are hosted at actual UN headquarters and consider issues that are on the table at UN meetings,” said Waikato Montessori Education Centre head Diana Bhana.
“I believe it is very unique for the UN to invite Model UN programmes to actually sit in their ambassadors’ chairs and have a real UN delegate participate at the conference.
“We feel very honoured to have had this experience and we know it is totally due to our Montessori heritage.”
The Montessori movement’s founder, Dr Maria Montessori, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times and was involved in the Declaration of Human Rights and Children’s Rights, adopted by the UN.
Montessori has world peace as a philosophical outcome of its schooling.
Bhana said it was the first time the Newell Rd school’s students had attended the Model UN conference but the school hoped to make it an annual event.
To prepare for the conference, the four pupils researched the UN and its work, and spent a year preparing their position papers and speeches.
As well, for the students to attend, two teachers were required to undertake special training for the event, which included travelling to Syndey in early 2018.