Students get UN experience

Seniors at Cayman Prep and High School are gearing up for a visit to a Model United Nations conference in Budapest next year. 

Earlier this year, a group of 17 students from the school joined more than 1,000 other students from across globe for a MUN conference at the Yale University campus in Connecticut. 

MUN, a global organization in association with the United Nations, is similar to the United Nations conferences but for young people. It provides a forum for young diplomats to act as delegates for their assigned countries, work on resolutions, and carry out the proceedings of various UN committees. 

Cayman Prep’s high school students sent in more than 70 applications to go to the Yale conference in January, but only 17 students were chosen. 

“As soon as we had visited our first conference, we recognized what a fantastic opportunity MUN offered to our most capable students. It is a program that genuinely stretches them and exposes them to other gifted students from all across the globe,” said their teacher, Mark Freeman. 

“The enthusiasm generated by our first trip compelled us to extend the program to include the high school, and we are immensely proud of the way all the students have reacted to the challenge,” he added. 

The MUN program was first introduced to Cayman Prep last year, when the school sent 20 of its best middle school students to a conference held at the United Nations headquarters in New York.  

Student experiences  

Zoe Conolly-Basdeo, 13, who attended the conference in New York last year, said, “For anyone our age, it’s a really amazing thing to be able to go to these things. In New York, we went to the actual UN headquarters and saw different rooms that they had the different councils in, and what they did. 

“It was really an amazing experience, and you get to experience all different type of things. For example, when we go to Budapest, I mean it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you should try and take hold of,” she added. 

Some of the students are already planning to attend once again next year. 

Aideen Teeling, 15, said if she goes to Budapest, it will be her third MUN conference. 

“I found Yale to be quite a culture shock. In New York, the conference was inside the hotel and the only time we left was for our leisure time. But for Yale, it was very quick paced, we would go back to our hotel at 11’o’clock at night. We had so much freedom,” said Aideen. 

The whole experience has given the budding student a sneak peek at university life. 

“Just seeing Yale … gives you such a good idea about how it feels to be a university student. We went to a Yale psychology lecture and I just felt instantly smarter,” said Aideen. 

Hector Robinson, partner at law firm Mourant Ozannes, said, “Having sponsored Cayman Prep’s involvement in the insightful Model UN programs since the school’s first participation in the program, Mourant Ozannes is once again proud to have facilitated the school’s participation in the sessions held earlier this year at Yale University and at the UN headquarters in New York. 

“The students’ involvement in this project enables them to develop skills in research, public speaking, diplomacy and compromise … We look forward to having the opportunity to be associated with this excellent program in the future,” Mr. Robinson added. 


Law firm partners Hector Robinson and Morven McMillian join Model UN students: Charlotte Hinds, Ally Artuch, Aideen Teeling, Jazz Pitcairn, Katrina Willmot, Laura Knoxx, Zoe Connolly Basdeo, Matthew Pennea, and Samantha Smellie. – PHOTO: SAMANTHA BONHAM