This past weekend, the sixty-second session of Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) conference welcomed over 3,100 delegates from 200 schools to its conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston. Harvard MUN was held from January 29th to February 1st, 2015 and throughout the conference, HMUN encompassed and highlighted three main ideas of partnership, international community, and professionalism.
At opening ceremony HMUN invited Kathy Calvin, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation, and Lisa Kuhn, an expert on international development, to open the sixty-second session of Harvard Model United Nations. For its fundraiser, HMUN announced that all the proceeds will go to the not-for-profit international community development organization, The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD). Through this foundation, HMUN selected four specific projects to donate $2,500 to: Creating jobs for people with HIV/AIDS, Improving water quality, Building Ngo capacity, and Supporting healthy schools. Last year the conference raised about $12,000 for its fundraiser and this year, HMUN was honored to announce that an anonymous donor agreed to match all the funds raised at HMUN.
Then the conference commenced, sending all 3,100 delegates to committee to engage in open dialogue and discussion, the international environment, and learn from the professional environment. Through this conference summary I will be highlighting these three attributes of HMUN LXII.
When asked about her vision for the conference, HMUN Secretary-General Ruth Kagan stated that she wishes to stress “the importance of collaboration and diplomacy in speech and action” at this venue. Secretary-General Kagan encouraged delegates to utilize the opportunity available to them at HMUN to exercise their communication skills and strengthen them.
The importance of communication was further highlighted throughout the conference as delegates were instructed that only one resolution may pass in committee. In the spirit of collaboration, delegates were encouraged to work with one another in order to understand where there is room to compromise with their national policies. The committee structured this policy by allowing multiple draft resolutions and ultimately narrowing down working papers in order to stress the amendment process before one final resolution is passed.
Hosting over 3,100 delegates from 20 different states and 35 different countries, HMUN continued its reputation as being an international conference. As Sam Messenger, a delegate in the Syrian Arab Republic, stated that “with such a wide variety of languages and cultures being represented at HMUN, you really do get the global experience.”
Within the conference, delegates heard a multitude of perspectives from delegates ranging from Venezuela to China. The conference provided the opportunity for thousands of delegates to learn from one another not only in committee, but also during lunch, dinner, and other social gatherings. A wonderful opportunity for delegates to enrich themselves in the Model UN experience.
Professionalism and Passion
Harvard MUN truly stressed its professionalism in all aspects of its conference, from its guest speakers to its secretariat. HMUN continued its tradition of inviting Harvard professors, whom are actively investing or researching the conference topics, to come and speak during the committee. The conference also invited profound experts in their field to come and speak about their research in regards to a specific topic. In the African Union committee, Pardis Sabeti, who is a senior associate member of the Broad institute and one of the world’s experts on Ebola, came and spoke about the Ebola epidemic to the committee. As one delegate stated, “it was incredible to hear from someone who sequenced Ebola during my MUN committee – I mean who else can say that.”
In addition, the professionalism carried to the secretariat as members of the Harvard MUN secretariat showed their personal connection and passion for their chosen committee topics. In addition to providing extensive study-guides for their committee, staff members have personally researched their chosen topics. One member of the secretariat recently came back from studying conflicts in the Middle East and chaired the Special Committee on Peace Keeping Operations in regards to peacekeeping in Africa and civilian protection in the Middle East.
Throughout the four-day conference, HMUN staff, personnel, organizers, and delegates put together an incredibly run conference. Despite having its conference during the aftermath of one of the worst blizzards in history, HMUN once again put together a great conference. Alas, here are the delegation awards!
Best International Delegation: Cathedral and John Connon School
Best Small Delegation: Bay School of San Francisco
Outstanding Large Delegation: Horace Mann School
Best Large Delegation: The Dalton School
For more pictures of the delegates and secretariat in action, check out the album here. Great job to all the secretariat, staff members, and organizers of Harvard MUN. See you again next year!