SEK Educational Group inaugurated the eleventh United Nations Model applied to Education, SEKMUN, on 14 March in the Spanish Senate.
SEKMUN is a space for reflection and debate, where around 500 young students between the ages of 15 and 18 put forward solutions for conflict resolution through dialogue and negotiation, in addition to learning about international geopolitical issues.
This educational and cultural project is endorsed by the United Nations and sponsored by Banco Santander through Santander Universidades. This initiative is a great opportunity to tackle, through the eyes of the young and using their own language, the most pressing issues on the international agenda from an innovative standpoint, something essential for building the world that our young people will inherit.
The Chair of the Senate, Pío García-Escudero, advised students in his opening address that ‘what we do here in the Senate is very similar to what you will be doing over the coming days. Taking part actively in democracy, advocating for freedom and human rights. Never be passive, be informed and develop a critical viewpoint of reality with a sense of tolerance’.
‘SEKMUN is the first step in changing the world’, assured Víctor Arribas, Secretary General of the 11th SEKMUN, in his opening address. In his address, the President of UNICEF-Spain, Carmelo Angulo, spoke of the need to tackle the suffering of children around the world, and highlighted the work of UNICEF in fighting for rights around the world. He also mentioned the 10-year partnership with SEK Educational Group. ‘Education in a powerful weapon to change the world’, he said.
The Secretary General of SEKMUN welcomed to the stage one of the international students from the Camilo José Cela University Integra Grant Project, Lutfullah Salimi, who spoke to the Model’s offices on his experience in the war in Afghanistan and his continuous search for opportunities. ‘I was born in wartime, it is all I have known for 26 years. My parents understood that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world, and despite fear of bombs and terrorists, we were very happy to go to school with the hope there would soon be a better future. When I arrived in Spain, a year ago, I was alone, confused and I didn’t know what opportunities I would have here. Until one day I saw a light, and I went towards it and found the Integra Project, a project that offered me a great opportunity as a refugee to continue with my university studies to have a profession and be useful to society and our countries of origin.
The General Director of United Nations and Human Rights, Javier Sanabria Valderrama, spoke of some of the challenges facing the world and which SEKMUN delegates would tackle over the three days of the Model United Nations. Challenges such as preventative diplomacy, the fight against extremist violence, the role of women in peace and security, international human rights law or the new threats to peace such as climate change, water shortages or cyber attacks.
‘At SEKMUN we learn things that are not in the text books. SEKMUN is not only a simulated United Nations, it reflects the real world. Thanks to students that preceded you in previous SEKMUN and their words on peace, justice and hope and their proposals, the international Integra Project grant holders are able to study here today’, said Nieves Segovia, President of SEK Educational Group.
Over these three days, Secondary School and Baccalaureate students from SEK International Schools and other schools from around Spain and the world played the role of diplomats from different countries to tackle conflicts affecting humanity. The assemblies and committees, on human rights, security, the environment, health, crime and tourism among others were held in Spanish and English.
The closing ceremony was held, as in the past, at Camilo José Cela University, with a ceremony in which different delegates and the Secretary General, Víctor Arribas, accompanied Nieves Segovia at the Presidential table, to review the most outstanding moments of the assemblies and share the best anecdotes of an experience that they will remember all their lives.
This SEK Educational Group initiative is sponsored by Banco Santander. The bank is the number one global investor in education (Varkey/UNESCO-Fortune) through Santander Universidades and has 1,200 agreements with universities and institutions. More information: www.santander.com/universidades