This is a guest article submitted by Michelle Meza and Cesar Urquizo from the HNMUN-LA host team.
This January, Latin America witnessed in Lima, Peru one of a regional version of one of the premier conferences in the world: the Harvard National Model United Nations – Latin America (HNMUN-LA).
Latin American, widely known in international conferences for being one of the regional powerhouses of Model United Nations (MUN), offered a unique scenario of incandescent competition among its new record of 400 participants from all across the hemisphere, from the United States to Brazil, passing through Guyana, Venezuela and Bolivia. Moreover, HNMUN-LA Peru featured for the first time a brand new agenda of social events while convoking the participation of high level personalities as top diplomats, private and public actors who played as keynote speakers in each of the eight innovative Spanish and English committees, featured for the first time in HNMUN-LA´s history.
HNMUN LA was not an easy one for the Host Team led by the Association of Studies of the United Nations (AENU) through its MUN branch called “Peruvian Universities” (PU). HNMUN-LA required the local Host Team AENU Perú – Peruvian Universities (AENU/PU) to be able to adapt quickly and be willing to learn new things in the process (much like in MUN) in a trial and error basis. From the bidding process to the sponsors outreach and delegate recruitment, the first months of work were mostly of knocking doors in search of institutions, companies and Universities willing to support the conference cause. On the way, AENU-PU forged a strategic alliance with Universidad del Pacífico, pioneer university in MUN projects which later became HNMUN-LA’s Host University.
In the forthcoming months, AENU/PU would embrace an own working logic based on a solid relationship of mutual collaboration between them and the Host University. The double component of 22 devoted students and young professionals, plus committed University Authorities, certainly paved the way for a long run 11-month project to become a new benchmark in the organization of successful MUN conferences.
From its foundation in 2011, AENU is the leading MUN force in Peru. Since its constitution as a non-profit, AENU has made use of MUN conferences as an instrument to form and educate young Peruvian students to become local leaders that think global. Aware of the potential of MUN, AENU decided back in 2014 to bid for HNMUN-LA, with the vision of revolutionizing MUN in the local scene by bringing the best of the international circuit to the Peruvian house and enabling local students live the Harvard MUN experience. AENU´s bet was to finish the cycle their founding members started almost a decade ago after attending HNMUN for the first time in Boston, United States, then deciding back home to import MUN through a range of local projects.
Consequently, for HNMUN-LA AENU/PU decided to aim at people who had never done MUN before, not limiting their promoting efforts to the capital city of Lima and outwards, but also looking in other regions of the country in a remarkable decentralizing effort. After an aggressive recruitment campaign of six months, which included talks in universities, radio and T.V. interviews, the Host Team surpassed the target of 350 delegates, and filled a waiting list of around 100 more people. A great goal was achieved when HNMUN-LA showed a universe with 60% total of Peruvian participants, out of which a significant pool were entirely MUN newcomers from different regions having HNMUN-LA as their first approach to the MUN world. The risky decision on recruitment initially taken, ended up paying off much better than expected.
Now that HNMUN-LA has come to an end, for AENU Peru this is only the beginning. After accomplishing the empowerment of a new legion of students by HNMUN-LA, AENU will continue pushing efforts towards enrolling more and more students -from private and public schools- in the international game of diplomacy. HNMUN-LA has contributed to set new goals of democratization and decentralization of MUN in Peru, until it is installed in every corner of the country. For their representatives, this has been overall the real value of their success: Importing the first international Harvard MUN conference in the history of Peru, while achieving an inclusive north that will enable more and more students join the MUN circuit in the local and, why not, the international sphere. This has turned the real reward.
HNMUN-LA closes one more edition but AENU Peru will surely have much more to come.
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