Houston Area Model United Nations is proud to continue the tradition of being the oldest conference in the South, with Allyson Holley as the Secretary-General for 2013. This January, nearly 1,000 delegates convened at the George R. Brown Convention Center—the most ever in HAMUN’s 38 years of existence.
We face the future with our past and our present as guarantors of our promises; and we are content to stand or to fall by the record which we have made and are making. — Theodore Roosevelt
These wise words guided delegates and staff at HAMUN 38. Dr. Teta Banks captured their essence with her opening speech, in which she expressed her admiration for the exceptionally diverse (and young!) delegates at HAMUN who gathered to discuss current events, and who faced the future together. Committee topics ranged from the troubling new phenomenon of privatized security, to the now-feasible goal of universal primary education, and even included the question of achieving the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.
The quality of preparation and debate this year was exceptional. Counsel to the International Court of Justice presented audio recordings of Ecuadorian farmers as evidence, consulted with actual lawyers prior to the conference, and even delved into advanced biochemical research on pesticides in an effort to make their case. Likewise, ICJ Justices thoroughly considered all the angles—even the political ones—before setting the precedent that Snake Island in the Black Sea is neither an island nor a rock, but rather a “significant rock.” Similar displays of initiative and ingenuity could be found in every committee.
Not only did the delegates learn a great deal, but the staff this year did too. Over one-half of the secretariat, crisis staff, and conference advisors were new to Model UN. That being said, every single staffer at conference rose to the occasion, including returning MUN-ers who did a stupendous job teaching their fellow dais members. Members of the Office of the Secretary-General deserve credit as well—they successfully hosted the largest HAMUN conference yet and trained predominantly green staffers, despite having only five officers.
Crisis Staff performed well too, taking the Security Council on a veritable world tour of crises that all related back to the status of Côte d’Ivoire. American advances in coffee bean production undercut the economic base of Côte d’Ivoire, leading to an increase in poverty and homelessness before a dangerously strong rainy season. The diamond company De Beers collapsed with the revelations of child slavery and deals with multiple dictators, thus leading to a massive growth in the West African blood diamond trade. The discovery of rare earth metals in Côte d’Ivoire due to erosive flooding coincided with the collapse of Mali and the growth of Islamic extremism. The committee culminated with the evacuation of the Security Council, caused by an anthrax letter sent to the delegate of the United States.
There are many stories from HAMUN-38. However, the most touching happened during closing ceremonies. This conference will be the last for Allyson Holley, who is retiring after ten years of debate, service, and leadership in Model United Nations. Her announcement was met with a standing ovation.
Next year’s Secretary-General will be Naziya Rehman, who plans on expanding the Model UN community in Houston and strengthening HAMUN’s ties with delegates and sponsors. For more information on HAMUN, visit http://www.houstonareamun.org/.
Best Large Delegation: William P. Clements High School
Best Small Delegation: Woodlands College Park