The teens taking part in the first Langley Township Model UN this month didn't shy away from controversial topics.
When 70 delegates from Langley secondary schools and from a few schools around the Lower Mainland gathered, they debated human rights, disarmament, and the Israeli-Palestianian settlement issues.
The teens met Nov. 17 and 18 at the Langley Events Centre, in a two-day conference organized by students at R.E.
Alice Kim, who headed up the group, was pleased with the turnout and the way everyone worked over the weekend.
The Model UN was six months in the making, she said.
"It was a lot of work," Kim said.
She and her fellow Model UN club members at Mountain had attended other larger events, including in Vancouver, and wanted to give students in Langley the same opportunities closer to home.
The Model UN club at R.E. Mountain was only started last year, and it has grown to about 35 members. When it began, there were many students around the school who had never heard of Model UN.
The organization, whether at small weekly meetings or large conferences like the one just held, allows students to take on the roles of delegates from various nations. They then debate how to solve real-world problems. Kim said a recent school meeting of the club focussed on how to deal with the sale of "blood diamonds," which are mined in war-torn regions of Africa and can fund dictators or violent rebel movements.
The purpose of the meetings are to spread knowledge of issues, and for the students to work on their public speaking and writing skills, Kim said.
Township Mayor Jack Froese spoke to the delegates on Nov. 17 as they kicked off their conference, commending them for being future leaders.
The students in the R.E. Mountain Model UN are hoping to hold another similar regional event next year.