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Viewpoint: Secretary-general reflects on four years of participation in Model United Nations

by Gabe Dreyer
This school’s Model United Nations club sends delegates to several college conferences every year. These conferences are conducted by college students, and high schoolers from around the world come to debate, interact and make lasting friends with each other.
Thursday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 29, 21 delegate’s from this school’s club paricipated in the Harvard National Model United Nations conference at the Sheraton Boston. Read about it here.
This was my fourth “H.M.U.N,” and my seventh college conference since freshman year. I have been on committees ranging from the World Bank, where we discussed loan funding for third-world nations, to the “Gilded Age,” where we played characters of the late-19th century period and debated issues including the monopolizing robber baron class and the growing leftist immigrant population in America. I am the secretary-general of this school’s team.
Each school represents one country on several different committees in any given conference. There are one or two delegates per country from every club, and there are two topics per committee that are discussed throughout the weekend.
As debate progresses, delegates present their nation’s ideas, form alliances, develop working papers and merge them into resolutions that are then voted on. These resolutions decide what action the body will take to solve each issue at hand.
At the end of each conference, awards are given to the top three or four performing delegates in each committee. Because there are over 2,500 students from 200 high schools around the world, it can be very difficult to win an award at the Harvard Conference. Many of our delegates have won awards over the years, though this year we sent many first-time underclassmen whose main priority was to learn as much as they can for future conferences.
Other college conferences are typically smaller, and are held on college campuses, such as Brown and Northwestern Universities, which can be helpful to students who may wish to apply or to simply see what the school’s atmosphere is like.
The Harvard Conference is unique in that it is one of the largest conferences, with many international students namely from China, India and the Middle East. It is truly a noteworthy and special experience for any American high school student.
This year’s conference was my last in high school, and I look back on my Model U.N. experience as one of the most intellectually productive and fun activities in which I have participated. While I will not be pursuing international relations in college, the public speaking and negotiation skills that I have learned at Model U.N. will be incredibly useful after I graduate from high school.

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