Bluewater District School Board

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Students Attend Virtual SOMA Event

Students Attend Virtual SOMA Event
Posted on 05/17/2021
John Diefenbaker Senior School students participated in the first ever virtual Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly (SOMA) through the University of Toronto Schools from April 23 to 25, 2021.  SOMA is the largest and oldest student-organized, secondary school Model United Nations in Canada.  The student delegates were assigned France as their country to represent, and represent they did!

Jennifer Morris and Dawn MacKay were the staff advisors for this amazing and diverse group of learners.  The students spent the weeks prior to SOMA preparing and submitting position papers that covered three topics specific to their committee.  In their position papers, they were required to think critically about France’s stance on each topic, and innovative solutions that considered global economy and politics, as well as consequential impacts on the environment, cultures, minority groups, and international social welfare. 

Maya Bellamy was the head delegate, and represented France in the UN Security Council, where she explored bioweapons and the weaponization of genetic modification tools, conflict-induced hunger, and the situation in Yemen.  According to Maya, “this opportunity allowed for a depth of debate and discussions that wouldn’t typically be available in everyday classroom conversations,” and expressed that she “…truly valued this opportunity.”

Other delegates included Avryl Bender, who represented the UN Habitat, and explored sanitation and waste water in both developed and developing countries, causes and solutions to urban air pollution, and reducing homelessness in cities. 

Finnigan Watt represented the UN Council on Trade and Development, learning about arctic trade, investments in trade infrastructure, and generalized systems of preferences.

Zanné Stassen, representing the World Health Organization, addressed the rise of novel infectious diseases, investigated implementing universal health coverage, and researched the implications of climate change on global health. 

Chas Nuhn represented the UN Council on Drugs and Crime by gaining a better understanding of the vaping epidemic, regulations of firearms, and prison reform.

These students demonstrated determination and confidence, stepping into a new and unknown situation where they delivered timed speeches, discussed their views and ideas with other delegates, and voted on both procedures and resolutions.  They displayed poise, skills of diplomacy, and a work ethic that enabled them to work effectively with other delegates to create working papers and resolutions that addressed complicated global issues.

Student participating virtually in World Health Organization committee discussion
Student participating virtually in France/UN Security Council discussion
Student participating virtually in UN Habitat discussion

Submitted by: Avryl Bender and Dawn MacKay, JDSS

Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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