Twenty-five SAC students, including myself, travelled to Boston to compete in the 67th annual Harvard Model United Nations Conference (HMUN).
Harvard Model UN is often considered one of the top Model United Nations simulations in the world, and St. Andrew's is well-established in the conference. This year, SAC represented the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a first for the delegation. Conference committees focused on global topics ranging from solving starvation in rural areas to sustainable energy in Asia, and even the opioid crisis.
The attendance this year was the largest in conference history, with over 4,000 delegates engaging in passionate discussion and research on a variety of global issues.
We arrived in Boston on January 29, and this year's SAC delegation offered a diverse group of students. For many, this was their first conference; for others, this would be the fourth consecutive year competing for the coveted ‘Best Delegate‘ award.
Model UN teaches delegates how to effectively share ideas, collaborate, negotiate, and engage diplomatically in public speaking. Representatives must research their assigned country extensively and adopt its agenda and beliefs to advocate on its behalf. For the first time in conference history, we submitted blog posts to their committee's website and received feedback from the committee chairs, which aided the strength of our positions.
Students are encouraged to participate actively and lead in their committee sessions. Many delegates worked relentlessly throughout the weekend, often meeting for coffee with members of their committee after sessions and staying up late at night to come up with solutions to the world's most pressing issues.
St. Andrew's enjoyed unparalleled success this year, winning four awards. Alfred Kwan ’21 and I received an honourable mention in The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Andrew Scott ’20 and James Lee ’22 received an honourable mention in Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. Connor Broekaert ’20 and Matthew Deo ’20 received an 'Outstanding Delegation' award in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL), and Michael Hanrahan ’20 and Daniel Svirsky ’20 received the 'Best Delegation' award in Legal.
First-time HMUN attendee, Ty White ’21, voiced his experiences: "It's crazy how much fun I had this weekend. I couldn't imagine spending 16 hours discussing human rights, but I came away with a deeper appreciation for diplomacy than ever before. You better believe I'm coming back next year!"
Outside of the committee, students had an opportunity to tour downtown Boston. The delegation enjoyed a tour of Harvard University and enjoyed the chance to explore the campus's rich history. Following a delicious bowl of clam chowder for lunch in Quincy Market, we walked the freedom trail and experienced the touching New England Holocaust Memorial.
Leaving Boston February 2, it was clear that the conference was indeed a continuation of St. Andrew's Model UN success. Hanrahan and Svirsky's 'Best Delegate' award marked the first time that a St. Andrew's student had received the prestigious award.
Any students who are interested in the Model United Nations program at St. Andrew's College can sign up for it as a part of the school's Arts/Co-curricular Plus program.
Special thanks to faculty head of Model UN, Mr. Jeff Laforge, Assistant Head of School, Mr. Courtenay Shrimpton, and Upper School teacher, Mr. Michael Carroll, for travelling with the team to Massachusetts and providing great insight.
Story by David Kurp '21