This weekend, I ran my seventh Norwich Model Arctic Council (NORMAC) for schools, still so far as I know the world’s only stand-alone Model Arctic Council programme for secondary-school pupils. NORMAC 7 involved 20 pupils from two schools and, like at WYCOMAC 3 and MAC Bilbao 5 this year, delegates grappled with the issue of the future of Arctic cooperation in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the end, delegates were unable to reach consensus on a joint declaration on this challenging issue—but as I said in my note on WYCOMAC 3, where delegates also didn’t agree a declaration, the learning is in the attempt rather than the ‘ideal’ outcome! A full wrap-up note will follow in due course, and our host Norwich School has published a brief summary of the simulation on their school blog. But the following testimonials from participating pupils serve well for now to illustrate how valuable and educational they found their NORMAC experience:
- ‘I think simulations are a fantastic way to learn how to build bridges between areas of disagreement in an attempt to find common ground between people who don’t normally share overt agreement’
- [What did you learn most from your conference?] – ‘The importance of finding common interests to discuss with other delegates . . . and to listen more than you speak’
- ‘I learned more about the impact of climate change in the Arctic and the history of the Indigenous people in the Arctic’
- ‘I learnt a great deal about the Arctic’s rich diversity of different peoples and their cultures, where before I had believed much of it to be rather barren’
- ‘Honestly, excellently organised and the materials provided were vastly useful’
- ‘Ran incredibly professionally and had a realistic feel whilst providing a relaxed environment to practise the simulation’
- ‘The conference was exceptional, I loved every part’
- ‘Awesome experience and was a great learning experience for me’
Stay tuned for more, and for NORMAC 8 next year!