On Wednesday 29 May 2013, the United Nations Association of Australia (Victorian Division) held a Model United Nations Conference on 'Refugees: Rights and Risks' at North Geelong Secondary College.

One hundred and eight students took part in the Conference as delegates. Most of them were refugees themselves and had been in Australia for six months or more. EAL students from Year 7 to 11 participated in literacy based class work in preparation for the Conference. Evidence of a range of student work was displayed in the room as posters representing English, and bilingual glossaries, country research, a reworded resolution and student interpretation of key terms such as refugee. Approximately twenty participating Year 11 students were enrolled in VCE English Unit 1 and the conference became part of their study of Context and Persuasive writing. Fifteen EAL/VCAL students who did not participate in the conference as delegates helped with the event management as part of their VCAL Project. Tasks included the organisation of the space and catering. Other EAL/VCAL students participated as delegates.

This Conference was funded through the Victorian Department of Education's Strategic Partnership Program.

Photos courtesy of Peter Marin, North Geelong Secondary College. Quotes from participating students.

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