The following recap was provided by Javeria Khalid Petiwala, an A Level student and a passionate MUNer from Lyceum School, Karachi Pakistan.
A group of excited high school teenagers were huddled around together in the Jinnah Airport on the morning of 31st January, ready to embark on a long and tedious flight to Boston, to attend one of the world’s most prestigious MUN conferences; Harvard National Model United Nations held in Sheraton Boston Hotel.
Among the enthusiastic faces were teams participating from The Lyceum School, Links and Nixor College, ready not only to go against each other but also outperform renowned high schools and universities from all over the world.
Alizeh Abbas, the debate head at The Lyceum School who ended up winning an Honorable Mention in her committee was positive they would bring good news when they come back to Pakistan. “The main fact that distinguishes HMUN from all the MUNs I have attended is that you get to meet people from so many different countries so that is a really good way of enhancing cultural diversity,” Alizeh explains. She talks about the apprehensions the team went through at the closing ceremony, when the awards were being given out in HMUN. However, she confidently says that she wasn’t scared because she “knew one thing for sure that no matter what happens, every person on the team had given it their best shot.”
On the other hand, Hamza Hussain Shah, a student from Nixor College recalls the moment of euphoria on winning the ‘Outstanding Diplomacy’ award in HMUN.
“Well, I missed HMUN’s closing ceremony because we had a flight to catch back home, so honestly my defining moment comes in the waiting line for my boarding pass at JFK Airport in New York. We were all really nervous because we had no idea of the results. Our faculty adviser received a text message and then broke the news to me and at that moment I just smiled and shook hands with the rest of the team.”
Hamza also compares his experience of participating in Harvard MUN to that of MUNs in Pakistan and states that “MUNs aren’t as stressful as we in Pakistan make them out to be.” He further builds on his previous statement by saying that “the competition in HMUN was in fact less strong in terms of debating quality than those in Pakistan such as LUMUN. What was really hard was adapting to this really new and different sort of MUNing based more on diplomacy and draft resolutions and less on debate.”
However, before the start of HMUN, Humza Jami, a participant admits that he felt the immense pressure of winning and states; “I was thrilled and determined as I was going halfway across the world, something I hadn’t done before and because it is a chance you don’t get more than once in a lifetime.”
He reminisces about the closing ceremony over how anxious he was and that they were calmed by their debate coach, Ehab Ansari. “He assured us that even if we did not get the award it wouldn’t matter because we have faced the best,” Humza enlightens me of the closing ceremony.
He did not disappoint as he won an Honorable Mention in United Nations Human Right Council along with his co delegate, Shazminay Durrani and praises his co delegate with a smile: “Shazminay is brilliant. We make the best team imaginable.”
Now that students are back home, they admit to missing HMUN a lot, waking up early in the morning to research, surviving on bad pizzas and coffees all day long and just being in Boston with their team who they learnt to love and look out for as family.
In the end, Lyceum ended the conference with 6/8 awards with two Outstanding Diplomacy awards and four Honorable Mentions and Nixor College received two Outstanding Diplomacy awards. Award or no award, these students through their hard work and passion for public speaking have not only bought pride to their respective institutions but to their country as well by competing in such a substantial and competitive conference and have returned back to Pakistan with their heads held high.