See You Next Year HMUN!

A+snapshot+from+last+year%27s+in+person+conference.+%0A%0AFrom+left+to+right%3A+Anna+Mayo%2C+Julia+Burm%2C+Jade+Larson%2C+Mia+Kourafas%2C+Grace+Lepenske+%284%2F5+of+the+senior+captains%21%29

Julia Burm

A snapshot from last year’s in person conference. From left to right: Anna Mayo, Julia Burm, Jade Larson, Mia Kourafas, Grace Lepenske (4/5 of the senior captains!)

Delaney Coppola, Contributing Writer

 Like most things this year, the annual Harvard Model United Nations Conference unusually presented itself. Rather than convergence in Boston, students from across the world zoomed in online from different countries and time zones to participate in the 68th annual Harvard MUN conference.

Despite the unusual setup, many of Hingham High’s own Model U.N. club members participated in the conference this past weekend, tuning into zooms starting on January 28th and concluding on the 31st. Thanks to club advisor Ms. Black and senior captains Julia Burm, Mia Kourafas, Emma O’Horo, Jade Larsen, and Grace LePenske, Hingham’s students transformed into esteemed delegates of Sudan or Syria and other roles to debate modern resolutions to pressing global issues! Ms. Black reflects on this year’s event stating:

“The Harvard Conference is always the highlight of the year for HHS Model UN. It is a prestigious, exciting, competitive, and fun event. Needless to say, we weren’t quite sure what to expect at this year’s fully remote conference. Despite the obvious challenges, Harvard put on an incredible experience that was simply a joy to observe. Our club sent a talented mix of veteran and novice Model UN delegates, all of whom engaged in a rigorous debate about challenging topics and contributed to several decisive resolutions. I couldn’t be more proud of the students who participated. I am especially grateful to the senior Model UN captains, Julia Burm, Mia Kourafas, Emma O’Horo, Jade Larsen, and Grace LePenske, who helped guide their peers – and me! – through the unique process.”

Although certainly a huge adjustment from the usual gatherings of thousands of international students in a Boston hotel, many participants revealed their excitement and gratitude that this experience continued in a remote setting. Junior Brendan Richardson comments, “I thought it was a great experience meeting and learning from kids across the world. While it was a bummer that it was virtual, it was a fun four days!” As Brendan mentioned, many of the participants lived in other states and countries and were not so lucky to live in the Boston time zone in which the conference was held. Zooming in from Venezuela, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, and Japan to name a few, many of the other delegates stayed up through the night or rose early in the morning to participate in this global debate. Watching the sunrise in the background of some delegates’ cameras after hours of zoom while it was just setting in others proved truly admire the dedication and passion of all participants. 

As explained by Ms. Black above, for many Hingham High students this Model UN experience was their first. Freshman Meghan Carr reflects, “I loved the conference because I met so many interesting international students and learned about important world issues! My committee was on women and we debated the legality of the commercial sex industry.” Personally, this year was my first experience with Model UN as well. Even though the online aspect is a major difference from the past and hopefully future years, the ability to connect with other passionate students on intriguing and vital topics was inspirational and eye-opening.

A common thread through many aspects of life in the current world, the pandemic did, of course, put a slight damper on the conference, eliminating aspects such as the delegates’ dance. As a senior captain, Julia Burm writes, “It was harder to meet people and have a casual conversation on zoom because usually, you can chat with whoever is sitting next to you and gain a whole new world view.” However, with all the changes that continue to affect our world, the sense of normalcy in the annual Harvard Model United Nations culmination provided an amazing opportunity to connect globally despite travel restrictions and lockdowns for veteran and new club members alike! Julia reflects on some of the beneficial aspects of the online platform explaining, “I still really enjoyed my committee this year and all of the lovely people I met, from places like Tunisia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Venezuela. The online platform made it easier for me to do a specialized committee and practice my public speaking skills, something that I may not have been comfortable with in previous, in person-years.”

In a time of increasing world issues and the need for global discourse, the intelligent and passionate young voices presented in this year’s Harvard Model United Nations Conference prove the determination and ability of our generation to truly make an impact. After an inspiring experience this past weekend, I know myself and other club members will be counting down the days until next year’s (hopefully in person!) conference! If you have any interest in joining the Model United Nations Club, feel free to reach out to club advisor Ms. Black or any of the senior captains: Julia Burm, Mia Kourafas, Emma O’Horo, Jade Larsen, and Grace LePenske!