EU in Schools 2014-2017

Registrations open soon!
Mark the dates: 6 + 7 April 2020

The EU and Europe do not feature prominently in New Zealand media and school curriculum despite its strong impact and influence on this part of the world. The “EU in Schools” project encourages incorporation of EU content into the curriculum by engaging secondary students and teachers in EU Studies.

The project organises Model EU training and simulations for high school students and Professional Learning Development (PLD) workshops for teachers. The Model EU training and simulation events provide students with practical, hands-on experience of the EU’s processes and challenges. Participants are introduced to the EU, its governance and the event subject through interactive and self-directed learning. Themes are relevant to young people and relate to current developments in the EU.

The EUCN in partnership with the NCRE and the EU Delegation to New Zealand are pleased to offer Model EU Training and Simulation events to high school students across New Zealand. Students assume the roles of ‘Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)’, representing  a political party and a Member State (MS) country. Delegates then work with members of their own party and those with similar interests to form a position on the various issues and find the best outcome to dealing with the crisis. Debate takes place in Committee session over 2 days and culminates in a Plenary Session at the end of the second day when Delegates attempt to accept a new Directive.

The Professional Learning Development (PLD) workshops engage secondary teachers, providing them with knowledge, skills and resources to feel competent and confident to include EU-content in the NZ curriculum. Very experienced education facilitators guide teachers through investigation into weaving the EU into New Zealand’s curriculum and assessment, help build practical classroom work plans and resources. The EU and Europe are very broad areas and fit with many topics and subjects across the  curriculum. Following best practise the Teacher PLD workshops use an inquiry-based learning approach which teachers then model to students.

Workshops are normally held along a Model EU Training and Simulation event and will reflect the student events’ topic. The workshop timing will allow teachers to observe their students in action.

For more information on upcoming events keep an eye on our Events and Opportunities Page or scroll on to see what happened at past Model EU events. 

With the help of a grant from the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Programme of the European Commission, the EUCN and NCRE in partnership with various chapters of UN Youth New Zealand and hosting universities, were pleased to offer Model EU Training and Simulation events as well as Professional Learning Development Workshops for Teachers across New Zealand. The events below were organised with the help of the “Model EU in Schools” grant 2014-2017. 

Auckland 2017

Auckland, 16-17 September 2017, UNEXPECTED – Brexit and the future of the European Union?

In a smaller setting, students at the 2017 Auckland Model EU represented ministers of the Council of the European Union. Presented with a draft EU mandate for Brexit negotiations, the students came together to try and reach consensus on three different topics:

Home Affairs, focussing on migration policies, protection of EU citizens as well as pan-EU cooperation on matters of justice and security.

Economics and Trade, focussing on the complex economic issues of the EU-UK divorce, including the future of their trade relations and the recognition of each other’s standard particularly in the domain of financial services.

Foreign Affairs, focussing on future cooperation on issues such as defence and security and the fight against climate change.

With a policy of consensus, or otherwise Qualified Majority Voting the setting of the Council of the EU encouraged participants to negotiate and bargain in order to successfully amend the proposed mandate.

Download the Student Handbook


Christchurch 2017

Christchurch, 7-8 September 2017, UNCERTAIN – Donald Trump and the European Union

Trump is the word!

At the Model EU event in Christchurch, students from around the country were asked to consider how the election of President Donald Trump in the US may affect relations between the two cross-Atlantic allies. The student were asked to once again step in the shoes of Members of the European Parliament and defend their position vis-à-vis President Trump and his policies. The event encouraged strong understanding of complex political issues by presenting the students with a draft Directive, focussed on topics such as foreign affairs, trade, immigration and Human Rights, placing special attention to minority as well as women’s rights. The students were then asked to propose, defend and vote on amendments based on their party positions.

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Wellington 2017

Wellington, 27-28 May 2017, UNEXPECTED – Brexit and the future of the European Union?

Over 175 high school students simulated the workings of the European Parliament (EP), representing Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) at the 2016 Model EU in Wellington, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington. Presented with a draft Brexit mandate, the students discussed, amended and phrased arguments for amendments based on their allocated Committee and political party. In order to stimulate learning and understanding, the students were assisted by EU topic experts and UN Youth volunteers on the issues facing the UK and the EU regarding Brexit, the student’s different political party positions on the topic as well as effective negotiation skills. The event promoted a better understanding the EU, how it works as well as current events in the EU and Europe from a variety of political viewpoints.

Keynote speakers were H.E. Bernard Savage, Ambassador of the European Union to New Zealand, who spoke about the challenges the EU and the world faces in terms of climate change and the need for international cooperation – aspects that also touch on Brexit. Dr Ruth Fischer-Smith, Senior Policy Advisor, Local Government, Department of Internal Affairs presented the second keynote speech and met with participants for in-depth discussions. Dr Fischer-Smith is a NCRE graduate and outlined possible career pathways for EU Studies graduates.

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Auckland 2016

Auckland, 20+21 August 2016, UNKNOWN – Terrorism and the response of Europe

On Saturday and Sunday, 20-21 August 2016, more than 250 secondary school students from across New Zealand’s North Island gathered at the University of Auckland School of Business to take part in the 2016 Auckland Model European Parliament. For two days students assumed the roles of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) deliberating on a draft Directive under the theme UNKNOWN – Terrorism and the Response of Europe. The event was organised by the National Centre for Research on Europe, the New Zealand European Union Centres Network and UN Youth Auckland and was the largest event for high school students in Auckland’s history. 

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Christchurch 2016

Christchurch, 1-2 September 2016, UNSOLVED – Terrorism and the Response of Europe

High profile terrorist attacks have unsettled the Western world. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, the historic ten-year deterioration in peace has largely been driven by the intensifying in conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region, as well as the increased threat of terrorism. The EU actively supports the fight against terrorism through participation in the implementation of international strategies such as the UN Global counter-terrorism strategy and the UN Security Council Regulations. The EU is also an active member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2015 on anti-terrorism measures highlights the need to take actions beyond the EU borders.

After a welcome to the event by Professor Ian Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UC, over 215 high school students assumed the roles of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to debate a draft Directive on the EU’s position in regards to terrorism across six Committees. The first multi-media keynote was presented by Dr Katharine Vadura, pointing out that terrorism relates not only to physical violence but includes cyber-terrorism and emotional and psychological terror.

Over the two days 12 participants accompanied the event as Journalists, reporting on the meetings and issues discussed in the Committee sessions, as well as ensuring accountability of the MEPs.

The networking event commenced with a quizz on “All Things Europe” and was followed by a special panel discussion on on Brexit – Reactions from NZ’s Media and Effects for New Zealand, the EU and Individuals. Panelists were Dr Serena Kelly (UC), Ms Hannah Ward and Dr John Leslie. Dr Kelly has worked on 8 EU perceptions projects (including media, elite interviews and public opinion surveys), and currently leads the New Zealand research team studying perceptions of the EU. Ms Hannah Ward, a BA/BSC Candidate in Development Studies, Ecology and Biodiversity, International Relations and French at VUW, was born in the UK before moving to New Zealand with her family. Despite spending most of her life in NZ, she still holds very strong connections to the UK with almost her entire family living there. Hannah discussed the repercussions of Brexit from the perspective of a young Brit living in New Zealand. Dr John Leslie is Advisor for Economics and Trade at the European Union Delegation to New Zealand. Before joining the Delegation, Dr Leslie was a Lecturer in Political Science and International Affairs at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) from 2005-2013. 

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Wellington 2016

Wellington, 21+22 May 2016, UNPRECEDENTED – How can Europe respond to the threat of terrorism within its own borders?

Four UC Arts Postgraduate students, NZIIA intern Julia Kleinewiese based at UC and Dr Serena Kelly spent the weekend 21-22 May 2016 mentoring 189 senior high school students at the inaugural Model EU training and simulation in Wellington. The delegates represented the 28 EU Member States across six Committees and seven political parties debating a draft directive on the topic ‘UNPRECEDENTED: How can Europe respond to the threat of terrorism within its own borders?’. In the first Committee Meeting postgraduate students from the NCRE provided an introduction to the theme tailored to the respective Committees and delegates had the opportunity to ask questions. Delegates then moved into various meetings discussing the draft Directive among country representatives, political parties and Committees. The informal networking dinner provided an open floor for discussion, exchange of ideas and the formation of “alliances”. Keynote speakers over the two-day event included Mr Michalis Rokas, Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union Delegation to New Zealand and Mr Peter Kennedy, former Director of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. The event was organised in cooperation with UN Youth Wellington and co-funded by an European Commission Jean Monnet grant.

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Christchurch 2015

Christchurch, 3+4 September 2015, UNSETTLED – Freedom of Movement? EU responses to migration and refugees in the Mediterranean

On September 3rd and 4th 2015 206 secondary schools students and their teachers from around New Zealand converged on the University of Canterbury in Christchurch for the annual Model European Union simulation event. Students debated the theme of Freedom of Movement? EU responses to  Migration and Refugees in the the Mediterranean, preparing a mock European Parliament resolution, while teachers participated in a professional development programme dedicated to helping them incorporate EU content in the New Zealand teaching curriculum.  

Download the Student Handbook


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