When Remofilwe Dikoma, a final-year BCom Agribusiness Management student, prepared to attend the 2019 Global Goals Model United Nations (MUN), she couldn’t have predicted the full extent of the impact that the experience would have on her, and that the conference would inspire her future study direction.
“Attending the conference has sparked a stronger interest in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for me and I am considering furthering my studies in the development and responsible leadership space,” she says.
Ms Dikoma was one of only 580 delegates that were selected from a pool of over 19 000 applicants from around the world to attend the Global Goals MUN in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 11 to 14 January 2019. During the conference, she was tasked with doing and presenting research on the Central African Republic for Goal 1: No poverty. She went on to be one of the top performing delegates at this year’s conference, themed ‘Let’s realize 17 global goals for a brighter world’, receiving verbal commendation for her efforts.
Reflecting on her experience, she says: “It was a great opportunity to interact with international students who have different mindsets and see how they view current issues in the world. Participating in the conference has broadened my worldview and perspective on various countries and the issues that affect them. It was also fun to learn about different cultures.”
Her experience sums up the objectives of the Global Goals MUN conference, which are to foster an awareness and understanding of current international relations issues among the youth, and to motivate them to propose possible solutions to issues related to the 17 SDGs. Ms Dikoma adds that she believes now more than ever that the SDGs are “the only way to eradicate poverty and other problems in the world”, with Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 2: Zero hunger, and Goal 3: Quality education, being closest to her heart.
The former Chairperson (2017/18) of the Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) Faculty House Commercii expresses her heartfelt gratitude for all the sponsors that made her trip possible. “I received an immense amount of support from the EMS Deanery, the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, and Prof Amanda du Preez from the Faculty of Humanities. I truly appreciate what they have done to provide me with this fantastic opportunity to improve my leadership, problem-solving and public-speaking skills,” she says.
She strongly encourages other students to apply to participate in similar programmes: “The camaraderie between the 20 South African delegates was amazing! I’ve formed new friendships with students from other universities that I hope will last a lifetime.”
Remofilwe (centre) receiving her Verbal Commendation Award
Remofilwe (second from left) with other Global Goals MUN delegates holding placards of the countries they were representing