HEATHER Secondary Grade 12 pupils Leyton Chetty and Hayden Gounder were selected to represent South Africa at the Asia Youth Model United Nations (Ayimun) conference recently.
Ayimun is a platform where youth mentality, in areas of leadership, negotiations and diplomacy, is developed in a model United Nations.
The debates were held at Putrajaya International Conventional Centre in Malaysia.
Having gained experience from previous debate competitions, SAIIA advised the two to apply for the conference.
Leyton said they were among the 17 000 applicants who applied online via the Model United Nations website and they were fortunate enough to be part of the 1 500 delegates who were selected.
He explained that they were selected to compete in their respective topics.
“It involves discussions of current world-wide issues, negotiations and planning, which lead to the formation of a resolution paper to help address the issue,” said Leyton.
Describing his experience at the conference, Leyton said it was surreal when they called out the name of his country as the most outstanding delegate.
“For the Prince of Malaysia and the United Nations ambassador to applaud me, it was an honour, I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I remember feeling my arm shaking,” said Leyton.
Hayden said it was an amazing experience for teenage boys from Pietermaritzburg to be honoured in Malaysia.
“It was with such pride that both of us were part of the 56 delegates who were awarded that night for outstanding performances during the conference,” said Hayden.
Leyton said he has applied to universities across South Africa to do engineering and Hayden said he would like to do something that can help change the world and make it a better place for people to live in.
In conclusion, Leyton thanked his family and school, which went all out to get them to Malaysia.
“To our principal Mr John and teacher Baijnath, we cannot express our gratitude for the support, as well as all our teachers who did everything in their power to accommodate our trip. I only wish one thing to every young person who reads this, that Hayden and I set the threshold for you to remember that regardless of where you come from, never forget that only you determine the height to which you soar,” said Leyton.
Heather Secondary principal Daryll John said the school is absolutely proud of Leyton and Hayden.
“They have certainly brought honour to themselves, their families and the school. Mrs Baijnath, our eco-club co-ordinator, encourages and prepares our pupils to participate in such activities,” said John.