Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Let there be Light

Image result for images muna alfrink lightLast week I spent my half term break with a colleague and a group of students, including my daughter, at MUNA, a Model United Nations conference, at Alfrink College in the Netherlands.  The poster above introduces the theme and slogan of the conference which aims to open the minds of the students to issues in the world around them. This is the second year I have been on this visit and, yet again, it was a fantastic experience.  There were 375 students involved, many from local schools, but others had travelled from the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Sweden, India and China so it was truly an international conference.  We stayed with host families and, once again, I was welcomed by Annett, an English teacher at the college, and her family.  I had a lovely time there, enjoying her hospitality and friendship. We also met and shared a meal with the staff from the other schools.  Our students also enjoyed the social side of the trip, including the very loud MUNA party which was a less pleasurable event for the staff.

The main aim of the week was to introduce students to the work of the UN.  Each student represented a country and they then research issues, draft resolutions and participate in debates.  My daughter Kate represented Canada and debated human rights issues such as Child Forced Marriage.  She was a bit reluctant to speak up at first and rather overwhelmed by the older more confident students but did learn a lot from the experience.

We also visited Amsterdam and took students to the Anne Frank house, a very moving experience.What I found most poignant were the pencil marks on the walls showing how Anne and her sister Margot had grown during their time in the annexe.  I was very proud of our students who didn't rush through the house as they usually do on museum trips, but absorbed it all quietly and respectfully.

I'm hoping to return to blogging more regularly now spring is on its way.  It's lighter now in the mornings so I'm starting to emerge from my winter hibernation and am rising earlier.  I love light mornings and enjoy that quiet time before others emerge.  It's my favourite writing time,


  1. I enjoy that quiet time before anyone else is awake. I now wake up before Olly. I never thought I'd see the day! The conference sounds fascinating, and bravo to your daughter for participating.
    Leanne xx

  2. What an interesting half term break! I hope that my children will be able to participate in such conferences one day. x

  3. What a wonderful, mind-expanding, horizon-widening half term! Well done to your daughter, it's not easy speaking to a group, especially if they seem older or more experienced X

  4. It does sound an interesting event and lovely to stay with a host family that you've stayed with before. I would love to visit the Anne Frank house. xx

    1. It was certainly wothwhile, but make sure to book in advance as the queue to get in is very long.

  5. So glad you had a good trip, Doris. Hope to catch up with you in person next time :-)

  6. That sounds like a really interesting and rewarding trip. It's lovely to see your daughter taking part in something like this, I'm sure.