Model G20: Local state school students recreate the G20

High school students simulate major G20 debates as part of an initiative to bring the G20 to classrooms across the country. Today the Leaders’ Summit took place in a school in Chacarita, in the city of Buenos Aires.

The second Model G20 exercise started today in the city of Buenos Aires, a way for high school students to experience first-hand the dynamics of the G20. Organized by the Argentine G20 presidency, the Ministry of Education and the National Institute for Youth, the initiative is being rolled out in public schools across the country.

At General José de San Martín High School in Chacarita, in the city of Buenos Aires, students represented the different G20 countries and international organizations. Also taking part were Pedro Villagra Delgado, Argentina’s G20 Sherpa, and Laura Jaitman, Argentina’s G20 Finance Deputy, who talked about their experiences in the 2018 G20.   

"The Model G20 is very important; it awakens young people’s interest in foreign relations and in Argentina’s role as G20 president this year. It may also encourage students to pursue international relations, economics or finance in the future. It also helps make the Argentine G20 more federal and more inclusive,” Villagra Delgado said.

The first Model G20 exercise took place last week at Albert Thomas High School in La Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires. The next events will be held in the cities of Lanús, Corrientes, Gualeguaychú and San Salvador de Jujuy.

The exercises are run by MINU, the civil association that also organizes the Model UN. High school students simulate a Finance Track meeting, a Sherpa Track meeting and a Leaders’ Summit, and debate one of the core priorities of the 2018 G20: the future of work. In this particular instance, students seek to build consensus – one of the key elements of the G20 – on an issue that is particularly relevant for young people today as they contemplate their future professional lives.

“This year the G20 member countries will debate issues directly related to education; I welcome the fact that young people in schools are exchanging ideas and thinking about the future,” said Alejandro Finocchiaro, Argentina’s Minister of Education. “Within 10 or 15 years, these children will be among the people responsible for developing our societies and economies, working towards a fairer and more sustainable world.”

The Model G20 require students to study the dynamics of the G20 and work on their interventions for over a month. This includes in-depth studies of the countries and international organizations they will represent during the exercise, as well as two training sessions. In the first training session, students learn how the G20 works, how the discussions are held and how a communiqué is drafted. The second is a more detailed question and answer session that helps them to cement their positions on the key issues in their portfolios.

The actual simulation sees each country and international organization represented by three students: the sherpa, who represents the president or the head of government; the finance minister, who leads the economic track; and the leader or head of state.

In the morning the Sherpa and Finance Tracks work in parallel, debating the future of work from an economic and educational perspective. Meanwhile, the student acting as the leader or head of state follows the work of the two tracks and advises his or her delegation. In the afternoon the leader takes an active role in the Leaders’ Summit, together with the two other members of their delegation.

The Model G20 is designed for students to understand the role and relevance of the G20 and the importance of Argentina’s active membership of the group. The initiative also seeks to promote young people’s involvement in issues relating to international affairs through experiences first-hand.