More than 200 young people from across the South East visited Reigate as Reigate Grammar School hosted its 14th Model United Nations conference.

The 11 to 18-year-olds mirrored the activities of the real United Nations with teams of up to five young people adopting a country and championing its cause throughout a series of debates.

World issues covered during the conference included the conflict in Afghanistan, world security, people trafficking and climate change. Teams of RGS students represented Cuba and Mexico in addition to organising and running the conference.

A staged emergency, a volcanic eruption in Guatemala, was announced during the morning and saw the countries’ delegations swing into action.

The students responded with emergency committees reacting to the resulting human suffering, the political and human rights issues of those people migrating away from the affected area and the environmental damage resulting from the disaster.

The committees debating each area agreed collective responses to each problem and outlined what they believed to be the best plan of action. The surprise emergency demonstrated to students how the United Nations and its member countries react to real life disasters.

Teacher Julian Sergeant, who helped the students organise the conference, said: “The Model UN is run by the students which gives it a unique atmosphere and energy. "This conference was an immensely enjoyable and worthwhile event giving everyone involved a good insight into the challenges involved in sensitive world issues.

"The students get to take world issues to a deeper level, and understand the complexities of the United Nations, in addition to building their discussion skills and confidence in public speaking.”

The best performing delegations were presented with awards at the conference’s closing ceremony, decided by a vote of all the attending students and the Committee chairpersons.

The overall best team award was shared by Reigate Grammar students representing Mexico and London Oratory students representing the Russian Federation.