BREAKING NEWS: Harvard Launches New College Model UN Conference in Latin America!

by Ryan on April 12, 2011

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 10th, the Board of Directors of the Harvard International Relations Council approved the establishment of Harvard National Model United Nations Latin America (HNMUN-LA), HNMUN’s first-ever venture into the field of conferences abroad. The first session of HNMUN-LA will take place 12-15 January 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After working on the vision and mechanics of this conference for over a year, we are thrilled to be able to present some highlights concerning this revolutionary MUN experience. More information concerning the conference will be posted later this month at hnmun.org.

Click “Learn More” below to read about the conference’s philosophy, schedule, and structure!

HNMUN-LA Mentality

HNMUN is an unparalleled educational experience, bringing together thousands of students from dozens of nations throughout the world. We are still astounded by what staff and delegates accomplished at HNMUN 2011. However, through this experience and based on valuable feedback, we realized that certain structural features of the conference prevent us from trying out a number of MUN innovations. We did not want to simply make a copy of HNMUN though, with just a few changes beyond location. We knew we had an opportunity to transform completely the way we approach MUN, so that delegates could benefit from both experiences. HNMUN-LA is designed to be a laboratory of ideas, both on the substantive and executive sides of the conference. Here are a few principles behind the conference mentality:

  • Cooperation, collaboration, and substantive quality as the top priorities. This is institutionalized through the absence of awards, the creation of broader topic areas, and the encouragement of bold, comprehensive, and detailed resolutions.
  • More intimate conference and committee sizes. With a projection of 1,000 total delegates and a cap of 200 on the General Assemblies, we seek to make the MUN experience more manageable and productive for all delegates, novices and experts alike.
  • Unparalleled social and cultural experience. Acting within an international setting, HNMUN is finally able to meet its full potential for social events; so keep your ears open for what’s in store for delegates. And as Buenos Aires is situated at a cultural crossroads between the Latin American and European worlds, delegates have the opportunity to explore one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

HNMUN-LA Schedule

If eight years of MUN conferences have taught us one thing, it’s that waking up for a 9AM committee session is brutal. After considering the fact that social events are planned to extend until 4AM each night, we realized that we did not have to follow the status quo of 9AM. With that in mind, we are pleased to present the tentative schedule of HNMUN-LA. The schedule allows delegates to explore Buenos Aires in the mornings if desired, or to rest adequately before committee sessions.

12 January 2012

  • Registration: 9AM-5PM
  • Office Hours for Rules of Procedure Review: 12-5PM
  • Opening Ceremonies: 5PM-6PM
  • Committee Session 1: 7PM-10PM
  • Social Event: 12PM-4AM

13 January 2012

  • Committee Session 2: 1PM-4PM
  • Committee Session 3: 6PM-9PM
  • Committee Dinners: 9PM-12PM
  • Social Event: 12PM-4AM

14 January 2012

  • Committee Session 4: 1PM-4PM
  • Committee Session 5: 6PM-9PM
  • Social Event: 11PM-4AM

15 January 2012

  • Committee Session 6: 1PM-4PM
    Rapporteur selected in each committee by fellow delegates
  • Plenary Session: 6PM-8PM
    Rapporteurs present resolutions and committee proceedings to all delegates
  • Closing Ceremonies: 8PM-8:30PM
  • Honeymoon – Farewell Social Event on a boat in Rio de la Plata: 11PM-4AM

HNMUN-LA Structure

The conference mentality of cooperation and collaboration extends beyond committee culture to the conference’s executive structure. Adopting a collegiate model of conference organization, HNMUN-LA is pleased to offer the opportunities of Vice Chairing and Administrative Directing to students from anywhere around the world. We seek to bring together the most motivated and knowledgeable students to help run our substantive committees and executive institutions while offering them an inside look into HNMUN’s conference practices. We look forward to sharing our accumulative knowledge of 58 years and learning even more from the experiences of accepted students.

  • HNMUN-LA 2012 Secretary-General, Katherine Medler. Katherine served as the Under-Secretary-General for the Economic and Social Council and Regional Bodies of HNMUN 2011. Any questions about HNMUN-LA 2012 should be directed to Katherine at la@nullhnmun.org.
  • HNMUN 2012 Secretary-General, Dominik Nieszporowski. Dominik served as the Under-Secretary-General for the General Assembly at HNMUN 2011. Serving as the liaison between HNMUN and HNMUN-LA, Dominik can answer any questions about the relationship between the two conferences and the benefits of attending both. He may be contacted at secgen@nullhnmun.org.
  • HNMUN-LA Applications. Applications for Vice Chair and Administrative Director positions will be released by the end of this month at hnmun.org. Make sure to check the website over the next few weeks for more information concerning HNMUN-LA and HNMUN.

Thank you to HNMUN 2011 Secretary-General and HNMUN-LA Founder / Conference Advisor Ricky Hanzich for providing this information!

  • Memo

    Will this model be part in spanish and part in english? Will it change its host city every year as WorldMUN but only based in Latin America? How come there are no type of awards?

    Regarding my last question, I agree that cooperation, collaboration and substantive quality should be the top priorities in MUNs, but part of the preparation drive comes from the competition… Even though I don’t agree with HNMUN award system, I do agree (and applaud) WorldMUNs system in giving diplomacy awards to the delegates that ‘did it best’. What I would recommend is to have cooperation, collaboration and substantive quality as the standards for giving awards, including also a delegate-based voting system that the Chair could use as a reference in giving awards.

  • http://hnmun.org Ricky Hanzich

    Thank you for the questions and feedback. I am more than happy to address your concerns.

    Firstly, the official language of this conference will be English. The location is designed to allow delegates easier access to an educational MUN experience and exposure to the unique culture of Latin America and Buenos Aires. However, all HNMUN-LA committees will be run in English.

    We have not planned for HNMUN-LA to follow in the footsteps of WorldMUN in changing the host city each year. There is no one partner university and, as explained, we are excited to accept dais staff applications from students around the world. We hope to create a lasting relationship with the educational institutions of Latin America, which represents an emerging and passionate market in the world of MUN.

    As a Director and Secretariat member of HNMUN and a three-time chair of WorldMUN, I can assure you that I have put in much thought regarding the issue of awards. After years of HNMUN and WorldMUN, I have come to realize the benefits and disadvantages of various awards systems. I believe there is great value in the competition found at HNMUN, in its ability to motivate students to research, write, and debate intensely. However, too often I have seen the cut-throat and unproductive consequences of such a system, which our dais staffs work tirelessly to prevent. At WorldMUN, I have appreciated the diplomacy award system, but recognize its inability to differentiate between those who contributed most to debate and those who accomplished enough to get in the top 3 or 5.

    At HNMUN, HMUN, and WorldMUN, I have been pained countless times going through the awards process with other dais members. There is always at least one (and often many more) delegate or co-delegate pair that deserves to get an award, but who is not recognized because of strict quotas. I don’t think that’s fair to dais staffers, and it’s particularly not fair to the delegates who work so hard before and during conference. This is especially true given the fact that awards decisions are unfortunately quite subjective, with committee chairs rarely giving their expectations for awards before conference starts.

    With these factors in mind, and given that HNMUN-LA is designed to be a revolutionary MUN experience, we agreed that we had a chance to create a paradigm shift in the way MUN is approached. Still, I understand your concern about a possible lack of incentive with the elimination of awards as we know it (in the form of certificates and gavels). This is why we developed the rapporteur system, which is actually a better reflection of what is done in the real United Nations. Based on delegate votes within each committee, rapporteurs will be selected (perhaps more than one per committee) to present the committee’s findings and work throughout the conference to all delegates at a final Plenary session. Beyond being incredibly excited about the educational potential of this new institutional feature of HNMUN-LA, we also believe that this will serve as the proper recognition of delegates who adequately researched and contributed to committee work.

    Ultimately, I think it is clear that something apart from certificates drives delegates to work on resolutions over lunch, dinner, and even during social events. And that kind of dedication to learning, negotiation, and enlightening debate is what we hope to focus on at HNMUN-LA. We hope that our first session of delegates will come to embrace this new HNMUN-LA, for lack of a better word, spirit.

    Again, thank you for your message, and I hope that you’ll share any other thoughts with us in the future. We truly want to make this conference productive, educational, and inspiring. We can only accomplish this by collaborating with students from around the world.

    Thank you,

    Ricky Hanzich

    • Memo

      Thank you very much Ricky!

      My questions had the purpose not only to get a little more information but also to generate ideas. I do agree with the unfairness in the award system of MUNs, but I would focus my efforts to make it better than to eliminate it because, although it is not the only source of motivation for most of the delegates, it is certanly an important part that is linked with the research quality, the effort put in committee and the level/time of preparation that most delegates take… To improve it means to take into account the opinion of the delegates and setting some clear objectives for the chair to evaluate and for the delegates to know what is being evaluated; as transparent as possible. Even though I understood the reasons from the beginning, I wanted to put my idea on the ‘floor’… After all, we do live in a competitive world.

      The ‘Spanish question’ came out of curiousity since my university has a group that prepares to go to an international model in Spanish, but there are few options that we can find to participate in. Maybe this is because the information on college level Spanish-speaking MUNs is not so easy to find or there are really few college/university level MUN directed to an international community in that language throughout the world… If someone can help us on this topic, would be amazing.

      Again, thank you very much for your quick and complete response! It was nice to meet you at worldmun and, knowing you and the dedication and enthusiasm you put in these events, I am almost certain that HNMUN-LA will be a great success!

      Memo

      • http://hnmun.org Ricky Hanzich

        Thanks for your thoughts, Memo. I completely agree with your suggestion on establishing expectations at the beginning of conferences. I have found this to be one of the most critical parts of ensuring the success and productivity of a committee. We hope to address this concern by training our chairs to specifically lay out these expectations at the start of HNMUN-LA and to actually have them more clearly delineated in the Conference Rules of Procedure as well.

        As far as competition goes, it is my hope that the rapporteur system will act as a more effective mode of recognizing dedicated delegates. By giving delegates the opportunity to share their resolutions with the entire conference, we all benefit from a richer educational experience, while those chosen delegates gain a greater sense of accomplishment than I believe they could ever gain through a certificate. With HNMUN-LA, we look forward to changing the conception of what it means to be successful at an MUN conference.

        Finally, I wanted to amend my last message by relating that chairs for HNMUN-LA have not been chosen yet. Therefore, we may very well have a committee entirely run in Spanish at HNMUN-LA. I would highly encourage you to check out hnmun.org at the end of this month, April, to see the committee line up. At the same time, you may be interested to know that HNMUN has run a Spanish-speaking committee for the past two years and is proud to host another one this year. We have yet to reach capacity for these Spanish-speaking committees and are eager to receive applications for HNMUN 2012. You can review all 30 committees of HNMUN at http://www.hnmun.org/about/seniorstaff/

        Thanks again for your support and we look forward to seeing how HNMUN-LA develops in the months ahead!

        Best,

        Ricky

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