Students practice global democracy at a Model Global Parliament in Sydney

Secretariat, 5. October 2016

Group photo of the participants with the banner "World Parliament Now!"

Event in the premises of the New South Wales Parliament

Around forty students came together last month in the legislative assembly chamber of the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney, Australia, to simulate the debates of a Global Parliament.

Participants were assigned regions such as Africa, Latin America, or South Asia or non-governmental organizations to represent and underwent a training session to accurately model the debates and activities of regional or organizational representatives in the parliamentary body. Thanks to this dedication, the activity serves not only as a fun and educational opportunity for participants to discuss pertinent global issues, but also as a useful practice of global democracy in action. 

The forum began with a talk from Daryl Le Cornu, President of the World Citizens Association of Australia. He gave a brief overview of the United Nations and the need for a strong, democratic global system. “One way of democratising the UN would the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly based on Article 22 of the UN Charter” Dr. Le Cornu stressed.

After a few more brief speeches from Pera Wells, founder and director of the Model Global Parliament program, Talia Hagerty, a Research Associate at the Institute of Peace, and Steven Freeland, a Professor of International Law, the debates began, starting with motions before the house and then moving on to sessions focused on different topics. While the day was centered around the overarching theme of “We Are One,” specific topics of debate included human rights and the refugee crisis, UN reform, the environment, and nuclear policy. 

Participant John Hegarty praised the event as having been “a unique opportunity to sow ideas that can have enormous possibilities toward world cooperation, based on democratic global governance and binding international law.” Kelly Wu commented that for participants, it was an opportunity to learn how to “think of themselves as global citizens” and “perform as parliamentarians.” 

The Model Global Parliament, the ninth event of this kind in Australia, was held on 12 September. It concluded with the decision of participants to support the Global Week of Action for a World Parliament that is held this year from 20-30 October 2016.