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Uitenhage students selected for UN programme

OUT of 25 000 applicants, Asisipho Tsotsa from Uitenhage and Sinovuyo Skhweyiya from KwaNobuhle were selected to participate in a simulated version of the United Nations in Bali, Indonesia recently.

Asia World Model United Nations (AWMUN) which is a three-day UN simulated conference exposes young people to the structure of the UN, while improving their communication, debating and public speaking skills.

A total of 1 228 delegates were chosen to be a part of the simulation to discuss and find solutions for global issues.

Tsotsa is an Occupational Therapist and is completing her community service at Victoria Hospital in Alice. She is also the manager and founder of an NPO mentorship programme, 21 Daughter and Sons of The King, which seeks to create global leaders and agents of change.

“I applied to the AWMUN because it aims to help young people understand the issues we are facing globally,” Tsotsa said.

She has always been good at public speaking and debating. She found a link to the AWMUN programme while scrolling through Facebook and applied for it. Tsotsa was chosen to represent South Africa in the United Nations Development Programme while Skhweyiya represented Mali in the World Health Organisation programme. Tsotsa was required to find a solution for urbanisation in South Africa. She had to do in-depth research and provide facts for her argument.

“I had to learn about the policies with regard to social, economic and climate change and how this will affect urbanisation in South Africa,” Tsotsa said.

Tsotsa said her research made her realize that even though South Africa has unique demographics, the problems we face are not isolated.

“My suggestion or solution to urbanisation in the country was that we should collaborate with other global countries, especially neighbouring countries in Africa to work together and learn from each other,” Tsotsa said.

Skhweyiya, who is studying accounting at the University of the Free State, said participating in AWMUN was a life-changing experience.

“Sharing ideas and knowledge with other young people from all over the world and connecting intellectually with people from different backgrounds was one of the greatest forms of learning I have ever experienced,” Skhweyiya said.

She said she has always enjoyed debating on issues of social development from a very young age.

Skhweyiya was required to address the access gap in the commercialization of medical technologies in Mali. Her solution was for nations to collaborate in order to assist each other.

“In my argument I suggested that nations that have monetary resources and medical technologies assist those who lack these while low income countries should offer human labour and natural resources as they tend to have more of these. There should be a 50/50 collaboration scale so that no country exploits another but all work together to improve each other,” Skhweyiya said.

Both Tsotsa and Skhweyiya were awarded as Best Delegate in their respective councils which is the most prestige award of the council.

“It showed me that I have the potential to change the world if I put my mind to it,” Skhweyiya said.

“I want the youth to dream without boundaries and not be apologetic about their desires. Be relentless in your pursuits and believe all you can imagine is possible and within your reach,” Tsotsa said.

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