This past weekend King students attended the 68th annual Harvard Model United Nations Conference, held virtually for the first time this year. Typically, the conference takes place over the course of four days in Boston, with delegates from all over the world congregating in ballrooms to debate the most contentious issues faced by our world today. This year, committee sessions were conducted from home, yet discourse was as fervent as ever.
The virtual nature of the conference, held over Zoom calls, allowed for greater accessibility. Normally, students would travel to Boston and miss two days of class, but committee session calls were held after school hours, in the evenings. This year’s online congregation drew over 2,000 delegates, hailing from the United States, Turkey, Canada, and beyond.
King students Sammy Cohen '24, Nicole Barrera '23, Kenny Backes '23, Nii Adom Laryea-Adjei '23, Spencer Owen '23, Meredith Joo '23, Ellie Goudie '22, Jake Murphy '21, and Model UN club leaders Alesia Paz '21, Ava Bussan '21 and Thomas Mandel-Mantello '21 participated, and represented the delegations of Guinea-Bissau and Ethiopia. Delegates discussed and proposed solutions for world affairs ranging from fracking and environmental dangers to management of international marine resources, as well as trade and development in the age of Covid-19. Committees debate and try to reach consensus on a resolution that delegates then vote on in order to pass. Students are faced with creating alliances, managing issues such as funding, supporting the perspectives of their assigned countries, and defending their resolution papers on the floor of the committee.
While this Harvard-hosted Model United nations was a vastly different experience than in past years, the spirit and dedication shown by its attendees was as prominent as ever. Attendees collaborated digitally where they could not in person, and made efforts to engage to the greatest point the digital medium allowed them to. Delegates are hopeful that next year will be more true to the traditional in-person Model UN experience, but this conference was certainly no disappointment.