More than 450 young people discuss the challenges of the world in the Senate

This morning SEK Education Group celebrated the inauguration of the 18th edition of its SEKMUN Model United Nations, in which 452 students between 11 and 18 years old from SEK International Schools and other guest schools from twelve countries -Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Denmark, Portugal, Colombia, Georgia, Kuwait, Rwanda, Mexico, Argentina and Ireland – will carry out a simulation of the General Assembly and other multilateral bodies of the UN, in Spanish and English, with the aim of representing the different countries that they are part of the United Nations to present their positions on the different issues and conflicts that are currently happening, and thus dialogue, negotiate and reach agreements.

The students represent a total of 28 countries and are divided into twelve UN committees. In this way, from March 13 to 15 at the Villafranca Campus of the Camilo José Cela University, they will present their positions – which they have been preparing throughout the school year – on various topics, such as:

  • Prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons.
  • Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.
  • Promotion of dialogue and tolerance between religions and cultures to counteract hate speech and crimes against humanity.
  • Maintaining the peace and security of Ukraine in the face of the Russian conflict.
  • Strategies to preserve educational systems in conflict zones.
  • Measures to combat the increase in the production and consumption of fentanyl, a drug 80 times more powerful than cocaine.

The model supposes a positive reinforcement in the values of respect, dignity, freedom and solidarity. In addition, it fosters the acquisition of essential skills and techniques for students’ future, such as public speaking, critical reflection, debate, empathy and negotiation. SEKMUN revolves around the achievement of the SDGs, in order to raise awareness and highlight the importance of their compliance.

“Be the voice for those who do not have one”

The vice president of the Senate of Spain, Javier Maroto, opened the session by mentioning one of the topics that the students will debate in SEKMUN, the conflict between Israel and Palestine on the Gaza border. “This conflict has been going on for decades, and perhaps you are the generation that, through dialogue, will solve this problem once and for all,” he hoped.

Maroto also praised the debate model held every year by SEK International Schools: “It is about experience being combined with new knowledge, to reach solutions with proposals to take advantage of opportunities. “It is a wonderful initiative and I hope it can be done for many more years here in the Senate.”

Next, Héctor Pinar, general secretary of SEKMUN and SEK-Ciudalcampo student, took the floor and began his speech, in which he urged his colleagues to use the interventions of the rest of the members of the table as a source of reflection over the coming days.

“We have begun to work not to be the best in the world, but to make a better world of which we can feel proud, evincing values such as thinking, education and culture,” said Pinar, who wanted to remind the rest of the students that “We are all part of humanity, and we must solve our problems through dialogue and negotiation to be the best citizens for the world.”

Nieves Segovia, president of SEK Education Group, wished to talk about social inclusion. “It is a concept that guarantees all of us equal opportunities regardless of our gender, race or religion, and that also guarantees quality education for all. Inclusion does not mean accepting the other, but rather feeling the other as oneself,” she explained.

Segovia addressed the students to remind them that “you are our hope, those who guarantee a better future. Your generation will face great challenges, and that is why each and every one of you is essential. Be the voice for those who do not have one. SEKMUN represents the dawn of a new era.”

Héctor Escamilla, rector of UCJC, assured the young people present in the Senate that “SEKMUN will be a moment that will mark the rest of your lives.” He asked them “not to see the human being as just another statistical data,” and urged them to “live with greater empathy and compassion. We must undertake and generate more jobs to add value to society. It is you who must influence the future. Be your best version and enjoy.”

“Today the world needs forums like this more than ever”

María Guzmán, deputy director for Immigration Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that “we live in a world of grandiloquent words, in which we label everything, and which seems threatening. Although it seems like the world is going to end before you start working on it, I am optimistic.”

“The challenges that humanity faces today cannot be faced alone, which is why we currently talk about global governance. Leadership, efficiency, coherence and legitimacy are the challenges of this global governance,” she assured.

Mª Ángeles Espinosa, president of the Studies and Training Committee of UNICEF Spain, had very good words for SEKMUN: “Today the world needs more  forums like this. “We cannot build the future without your opinions, without your collaboration.”

Espinosa took the opportunity to make visible the problems suffered by the little ones in some countries: “Currently there are millions of children who have all their rights violated. “Childhood is not going through its best moment, and we see it in the most high-profile crises, but there are other silent emergencies that are just as urgent and important, as is happening in Sudan, for example.”

Maricruz Lagar, general director of SEK International Schools, focused her intervention on sustainability, which she defined as “the ability to respect the current environment without compromising that of the future. It is a commitment and responsibility to ourselves and to the planet, and the greatest gift and the greatest challenge we can offer to future generations.”

For his part, Javier Presol, director of the Felipe Segovia Foundation, encouraged the students to “work to build a better world with more closeness and equality between nations. We adults must also work to leave you a society in which you can work much better. Never stop overcoming difficulties, and I encourage you to set the highest possible objectives and goals.”

A model that fosters respect, diversity and dialogue

SEKMUN positively reinforces the values of respect, dignity, freedom and solidarity. In addition, it fosters the acquisition of essential skills and techniques for students’ future, such as public speaking, critical reflection, debate, empathy and negotiation.

SEKMUN is the leading model United Nations in our country and for 18 years we have been working to build global awareness in school children through dialogue.