2 Japanese high schools win awards in model U.N. confab

Two Japanese high schools won awards Saturday for their performances at the Global Classrooms International Model UN Conference for 2013, which gathered nearly 2,500 high schoolers from 23 countries to discuss global issues in a simulation of real U.N. sessions, the organizer said.

Nada and Nishiyamato Gakuen high schools, both in western Japan, were among six Japanese schools that sent delegations to the United Nations Association of the USA's latest annual event, which was held for three days from Thursday.

Delegates to the event, who play the parts of diplomats representing a country assigned by the organizer, engage in negotiations with their counterparts as in actual U.N. procedures. Students from Japan were asked to represent Croatia.

Kazuhiro Sato and Hironobu Nishida, both aged 17 from Nishiyamato Gakuen High School in Nara Prefecture, were recognized for their efforts to have the simulated U.N. General Assembly adopt a resolution against cyber terrorism.

"We and a few others drew up a draft resolution and circulated it" to garner support from other delegations, said Nishida. "I can't believe we won the award as there were so many times when I thought we wouldn't make it," said Sato.

Kazuki Yoshii, 17, and Ryosuke Takashima, 16, from Nada in the port city of Kobe, took part in a committee of the International Organization for Migration, which has 145 member states.

"It tests how confidently you can make a case in a large conference," said Yohii.

"I was worried as I had never talked directly with local people overseas (in English), but communicating was easier than I expected," said Takashima.

The 15 committees and debate topics for this year's conference also include empowerment of rural women, rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and childhood immunization, according to the organizer.