ASHLEY Harrison and Bobby Carter will take their enthusiasm for learning about international relations to new heights next year, when they compete in the prestigious Yale Model United Nations Conference.
The St Philip’s Christian College Newcastle students, both 18, have spent this year juggling studying for the Higher School Certificate with Rotary’s district and national Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA).
Their “unexpected” win in the national competition – held in August in the historic House of Representatives Chamber in Old Parliament House – led them to successfully apply to compete at Yale in January.
The students are seeking $11,000 in sponsorship to help cover flights, hotels and incidentals.
“I’ve always had an interest in international affairs and politics but until I moved to this school I never had the opportunity to pursue it,” Ashley said.
“We’ve learned how to form good friendships, work together, use our separate strengths, negotiate, develop interpersonal skills and the power of being able to speak properly.
“We can see the value of compromise and making concessions to try and find common ground.
“This is an opportunity to try and make a bigger impact on issues I’m passionate about and how I can help make a difference.”
Bobby said participating in MUNA had “given me a different perspective on world issues than many other 18-year-olds would have.”
The students sat their last HSC trial exam the day before they competed in Canberra, an experience Bobby said was “surreal”.
The pair – the first team their school has had participate in MUNA – debated six real world resolutions.
At Yale, they will elect to join committees including the UN General Assembly to debate resolutions.
They said balancing the HSC with MUNA required good time management and they had found skills in each were complementary.
Newcastle federal MP and co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of the United Nations Sharon Claydon said the students made her “wildly optimistic for the future”.