Oakleigh Grammar’s rising diplomatic star

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Oakleigh Grammar’s very own Elena Draganic secured an impressive opportunity, as one of a small group of students across the country selected to participate in the recent Model United Nations conference, organised by Harvard at the University of Technology in Sydney.

Elena set her sights on the national event after participating during the school’s own Model United Nations that were run back in May and was incredibly excited when she was selected.

The highly competitive model UN simulation offered all students involved a glimpse into the intricate world of international affairs and diplomacy, each of them tasked with exploring their assigned countries’ stance on the topic, as well as analysing and understanding other countries to distinguish foes from allies.

With the topic of discussion centred around the militarisation of space, Elena represented Switzerland, and was assigned to the Disarmament and International Security Council.

Working together and against different countries, blocs were formed to draft resolutions and then debate them, with the skills of research, collaboration and communication essential in achieving success.

To prepare for the conference, Elena spent time researching and reviewing the UN’s past discussion over the same topic of the militarisation of space. The biggest challenge during this time was balancing her preparation for the conference while also studying for her mid-year exams.

Elena’s passion for diplomacy was first ignited during her middle school years through her active involvement in debating, while her experience as Middle School Captain helped further hone her skills of public speaking and negotiation.

These skills were utilised heavily during the conference, with Elena further advancing her diplomatic proficiencies and deepening her comprehension of the UN’s multifaceted operations and decision-making processes.

Outside of diplomacy, Elena’s interests extend to other global matters. She is particularly passionate about bee conservation efforts, a passion she has had from a very young age. As pollinators bees hold a vital and often undervalued role in our ecosystems.

Elena hopes that her experience at the Model UN helps her future academic and career aspirations in international law and diplomacy, or possibly even open doors to institutions like Harvard University in the United States.

When asked to offer advice to any of her peers potentially interested in also participating in the Model UN, Elena’s response was fast and direct: “just do it, it can’t not benefit you in the future.”

Well done Elena!

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