August 12, 2015 – Today marks International Youth Day. This year’s theme, “Youth Civic Engagement” will provide opportunities for youth to learn, debate, and shape sustainable development policies in their countries. For the first time in Sri Lanka, the Model UN conference ‘Shifting Policy Paradigms’ will mimic a session of the World Bank Board of Directors and provide a space for youth to discuss safeguards policies and prepare an entrepreneurship project.
Leading up to the August 14-16 conference, 25 to 30 youth, representing the 7 permanent representatives and country cluster representatives sitting on the Board, have engaged with World Bank staff to research and understand the institution’s operations at the country level as well as its decision making processes. The proceedings of the student-reenacted session will be documented in the Chairman’s summary at the end of the conference.
Sri Lanka Model United Nations
The Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) is Asia's largest student-run conference. The inaugural SLMUN was held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo in 2008 and involved over 1,000 students from Sri Lanka and abroad.
“SLMUN 2015 challenges our youngsters. We "dare you to move”; to take a stand against the challenges of our century. We dare you to voice your opinion when the majority remains voiceless. We dare you to exploit your brilliant minds in the art of conflict resolution. We dare you to become the change that the world is yearning to see,” states the Secretary General, K.D.D.B. Vimanga in his conference message.
The conference website highlights the goals of the 8th session:
“This year, we want to revolutionize the thought process and attitudes of students to distance themselves from the conventional Asian risk-averse behavior and take real action towards making real changes in a world that will eventually belong to youth. We want to learn and apply our learning towards creating the policies of the future.”
Preparing for the Board Meeting and Learning about the Bank
The student-reenacted World Bank session will focus on the viability and importance of safeguards in a development context and will mirror actual debates, which recently took place during an orientation for the South Asia Regional Safeguards Advisors.
Following a basic orientation on World Bank operations and project cycles, the organizing committee developed a mock Project Appraisal Document (PAD), which assesses a project’s economic, technical, institutional, financial, environmental and social aspects, and assigned it to a fictional project on youth entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. The mock PAD will be presented for approval to the student-led Board at the conference.
“The students’ passion for development is palpable. They were keenly interested in how the World Bank partners with the government to achieve Sri Lanka’s development goals.” said Rolande Pryce, Operations Advisor at the World Bank Colombo Office. “With a little inspiration, the organizing committee developed a fictional project to stimulate entrepreneurship, identifying it as the perfect entry point for youth to participate in a transformational way in Sri Lanka’s development.”
Students will act out their World Bank Board of Directors session live on August 14, 2015.