Harvard National Model United Nations is the biggest and most prestigious Model United Nations in the world. If you’ve read Selina’s articles about Model United Nations, you should already have a pretty good idea about what one is, what it involves and what the rules of procedure are. I’m willing to bet that Selina was better prepared than me, though (my study guide came out only 2 weeks before the conference)! As a first-timer, too, I felt I might have been in over my head. So upon arriving in Boston, I was very nervous.
However, there wasn’t much need to worry. The conference was pretty kind to first-timers, and took this into consideration when I was making my speeches. The opening ceremony was a barrel of laughs, as people were cheering for the country they were representing, their university, and other delegates. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of it all! Myself and my MUN partner went straight to the debating room after this, and socialised with many of the others in our committee. A significant amount of them were from Latin America, countries like Venezuela, Peru and Colombia. Unfortunately for me, my partner spoke fluent Spanish, and I don’t speak any, so a lot of the time I was confused. That is, until I bumped into some friendly Dutch people, and some Americans came in later.
At this point, I decided to distribute some British chocolate and biscuits I had brought with me. After all, if you don’t know very much about politics, this is a great way to do diplomacy. People will usually be on your side in reality if you give them good food! These were thoroughly enjoyed by both North and South Americans, but the other Europeans weren’t all too impressed (it was Cadbury’s, so I’m guessing they can get plenty of it in France on the boats over).
Debates began, and I realised how little I knew about the topic. I was in the Global Health Cluster, and I had prepared some speeches, so I did quite well in the first part of the debate. When details and specifics were discussed later, though, I was in out of my depth. The topic was Efficient Healthcare Systems of the World, which is a very broad topic, so I wasn’t sure in which direction discussion would go. However, I always knew that I was there to make friends and have fun, so I wasn’t worried that much. That’s what you still have after the conference, after all, so I went with this approach. I might not remember the resolutions I made, but I would remember the people I made them with.
All this I learned in the first two hours of debate. I still had 3 days ahead of me, and though I left the first day feeling a little deflated, I was excited for what was to come. Off to the Cheesecake Factory I went for some well-earned unhealthy food, and some of the most beautiful cheesecakes I have ever seen (or tasted)!
Image from: http://www.resolutionproject.org/hosts/harvard-national-model-united-nations-hnmun