HMUN Cartoon

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An open letter to a terrorist

To the man who shot my parents,

It took me a while to digest the news. It took me a while to accept that someone could be so far gone as to not reflect on his deeds, to be incapable of empathizing.

When the news was brought to me, I was picking out a cake for their anniversary. Do you understand what that means? Because I don’t think you could be half as dedicated to your religion as they were to each other; or perhaps you don’t understand because it isn’t inscribed carefully enough in the Quran. I could use bigger words, playing with sentences was something my grandfather taught me well. But I fear that you will not understand those either.

Is your god so weak that he needs you to defend him?

I pity you. I pity you because you will never know the soothing sound of a mother’s lullaby or her soft gentle hands that put you to sleep. I pity you because clearly your father never taught you what it means to be a man. I pity you because your world is built on violence and sadism instead of love and compassion. Mostly, I pity you because all you will ever know of this beautiful world is guns and destruction.

You see, I was ten when my mom told me and my brother that death was natural. I wish I understood then, she was just subtly telling me that she and dad won’t always be around. I wish I’d finally learnt how to make that ginger tea and sew a button on occasion.  I wish I could make dad proud before you decided to take him away.

But then I realized something. I realized that my father was proud that I wasn’t raised like you. That they know the value of the knowledge they passed on and they know I was better than seeking revenge. I realized people miss them, they will always hold that special place because we won’t allow them to be lost into oblivion. But you? Your own damn god will be placing a bet on your death, and you will be forgotten like the remaining ashes of a fire that caused nothing but fear and loss. You will roam these empty streets as mere shadows of the past. You will learn that words are mightier than a sword; mighty enough to help collapse an entire world once uttered, mighty enough to destroy lives.

I remember when mother spoke the most beautiful lies in the world to me, cradling my head in her lap, she spoke of unicorns and rainbows built on promises of a better world. Now, those lies are stuck under the debris along with her remains and with them lies my heart, sanity and humanity.

As I walk around the city, I survey the remains of the battleground. Hearing the echoes of the cries that helped build this ground brick by brick and have now broken it missile by missile.

If you win, know, that the taste of victory will be as bitter as acid on your tongue and the tears that were shed and wounds that bled will hang like an albatross around your neck. You may conquer the world, but with no one left to inhabit it.

Regards

The girl who will smile regardless.

Diplomatic Love

As the Harvard Model United Nations 2017 is coming to an end, I must say I enjoyed the best out of the experience. I have seen it all: cover all kinds of committees, interviewed and talked to a lot of people, made friends from all over the world and built connection with people that I really don’t want to lose. I traveled more than 15 hours just to be here. To simulate and to learn from the best delegates, the best chairs and the best directors in the world. I couldn’t pass an opportunity like that.

This is my 7th simulation overall and my 6th as a member of the Press Corps. Since I got into this whole new world of simulations and debates about the United Nations, I simply loved and got addicted to it. I’m a freshman now and I want to take part in this at least until the end of high school. And as my story here meet others people stories, I will tell a brief case about two people who helped and mentored me along this short path. This couple, just like me, have discovered the wonder world of MUN and met lots of people, but not as special as one another.

Camila “Caull” Sobrinho and Luis Clayton Mourao are dating for one year and two months now. Clayton took part in 12 MUN conferences and Camila, 10. The Harvard MUN is their first simulation as partners and they are representing Panama in the Human Rights Council. However, they are just finishing high school, so HMUN is their last event of its kind.

I did an interview with both together and the primary thing I could notice were their eyes. Caull’s eyes shine when she is talking about her partner and Clayton pass an air of peace and joy in his look. They are the cutest couple and are reunited for a very noble reason. Clayton will study Public Policy Management at the Universidade de Brasilia (UNB) and Camila will attend in law school at the same university. She plans to be director of an MUN simulation and be a public defender. He wants to get a double graduation and work in the Brazilian Senate.

They first met in their sophomore year, as Camila just founded out that an average high school boy was more handsome than the others. For her eyes, at least, he was just so gorgeous she couldn’t just stay looking at him. It was love at first sight. And Camila knew she had to talk to him and built a friendship tie between them if she wanted to approximate and get something serious. Their first meeting was a disaster. She couldn’t stop laughing at his funny way to talk and behave. However, she couldn’t control her heart and although she was already in love, Clayton was far from even considering her a close friend.

So, she was now in love. Her heart betted faster when he was near, her smile was brighter and her life was better. And it is beautiful to see how the feelings for Clayton haven’t change. At the time she described her emotions for him in the interview; it is clear in her eyes, her smile and her body language that the feelings are still intact.

However, Clayton was still a high school student not looking forward to a serious relationship. So Camila was accepting doing anything to impress him. And it’s here where the passion for simulation begins.

Clayton was doing applications and tests for being the delegation chief in a high school MUN in Brasilia, named SINUS. Then, Camila asked to go with him, saying that she was interested in participating in SINUS and was also doing applications. Lie. Camila had no idea on what she was taking part in. She showed up for her first test there just to impress and call the attention of her biggest crush.

And it worked to perfection! Clayton even quotes “it was the first time I really paid the due attention to her. She deserved it! And as she was admitted to participate in the SINUS with me, it was when she really started to make the difference in my life. She was so kind and wonderful… And that was when it happened”. As an unexperienced delegate, Camila shocked her teachers, advisors, the whole delegation and her major high school crush. “Well, it changed my life! And I’m not talking only about Clayton, far from that. By entering that room to make the tests, I met new people who divided the same passion as I do and a few of them who I can now call my best friends. The Models have given me a new life’s perspective” says Caull.

In their first conference together, they helped each other out, even though they were in different committees. It was Luis’ favorite conference overall, because it was his first experience simulating and debating on one of his favorites committees: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Camila had also a good experience debating in the International Labor Organization (ILO). During this event, they got even closer and realized they had something special among them.

Later in 2015, after lots of dates and stories, Clayton would be finally ready to take the next step on November 18th: he finally asked her out. “I really wasn’t expecting at that time. I was almost giving up and letting it go. But he surprised me like he always does”. She was very shocked and emotional as she accepted it with tears of joy dropping from her face. “I just felt it was the right time. I started to realize since that day in SINUS training she was the person who I wants to stay more time with and the one I loved”, said Clayton when asked about why he did it.

Since then, they always simulated together- but not as partners. Camila’s favorite event was Mundo CM 2015, in Brasilia, and her favorite committee overall is the WHO. Clayton’s favorite committee is G20. “What’s funny about we two is that we have very different preferences when talking about committees or subjects. I like economics the most but I don’t really enjoy committees about health, human rights or war. Caull is totally the opposite! But as our first and final time simulating as partners, I wanted it to be special. So I gave up committees like World Bank or IAEA to stay in a committee she enjoyed the most, like the UNHRC.”

I also asked both on what the MUN conferences have added to their life as individuals and as a couple. “We both learned a lot about how to work with others and to help each other, even when it is a subject that is not your favorite”, Camila declared. “To sacrifice and to offer your time to other are things those make you a better delegate and a better person. In addition, I’d say I learn much more when I’m with him than I would learn being by my own”.

As my final question I asked “what will you guys miss the most about simulating in the MUNs?” Without any hesitation Clayton answered for both: “the knowledge added in our lives by challenging ourselves to discuss topics that mostly people wouldn’t discuss in their everyday lives and the connections we made along the conferences.”

So, as Luis and Camila are simulating in their senior year, a lot of others are too. For those, I wish you had an amazing experience, such as me or the couple and took the most out of it. And for those who can still take part in a Model United Nations simulation, I will say to go for it. Leave your mark, show your thoughts, say what you want to say, make friends. Because in the end, the only thing that really matters is to have fun and to learn. Thank you all for making the 64th HMUN the great conference it was and I hope to see all you guys as soon as possible.

Best Corps, Press Corps

Press Corps is hands down the greatest committee without question at Harvard Model United Nations 2017. From having an absolutely astounding Director and Assistant Director, to being surrounded by intelligent and thoughtful individuals who take their job seriously and genuinely enjoy every second they spend interviewing, reporting, writing, or any other functions of journalism. Regardless of what others say, I have never encountered any group of dedicated and driven individuals quite like this. From both experienced delegates and new delegates to HMUN, professionalism and “journalistic integrity” were always the priority of each and every member of Press Corps.

To those who may be reading this next year, I hope that you find the same amount of value in this prestigious committee as I have.

To those who are currently in this committee, I say to you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this committee so much more than I expected, from the assistance with stories and structure, to the constant sarcasm and chatter present amongst the reporters there was seemingly never a dull moment with you all. I would also wish to commend you all on your undying commitment to reporting and giving a voice to those who may not be able to get their points heard outside of their committee were it not for you.

So, as a final send-off before both myself, my friend the “observer” and the rest of my school are to return back to the desert, I wish you all the best of fortunes in everything that you do. Whether that be skiing, running marathons, studying mathematics or humanities, continuing in journalism, pursuing a career in law, I wish all of you the best and I thank all of you for creating such an incredible and energetic environment for both myself and Cam “The Observer”.

New York Times, Haydon Bergren

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

A wallflower by definition is defined by the dictionary as being a person who either has no one to dance with, or is the shy or awkward one at a party, all of which I believe accurately describe myself. However, I believe that this is not an entirely adverse trait.

Now, to get to the real story at hand. The Delegate Dance. Regarded by many veterans of Harvard MUN as a mysterious and often scandalous affair one afflicted with both intrigue and controversy. However, to many new delegates the experience is spoiled before they even get onto the dance floor. The dance is meant to be a time where all of the delegates are able o forget the world for a while and escape to a reality where everyone wants to party and simply have fun. The Delegate Dance is an experience few get to experience and should be admired and enjoyed, even if like me, it may not be your cup of tea.

The Delegate Dance is an event which immediately from one’s first steps they are enveloped into an environment of warmth (of which is not always welcome) and vibrancy. Such an occasion is inviting to both the meek and the spontaneous, the readers and the writers, the speakers and the listeners, and the leaders and the followers.

While the dance itself has in recent years come under scrutiny due to various breaches of security and protocol over the previous years of which include the 2015 and 2016 dances, the effort and initiative taken by both the Sheraton and Harvard security teams cannot be forgotten or marginalized due to their extreme effort to ensure that this year and every following Dance which will take place in that venue are safe and enjoyable environments for all visitors.

Myself, having attended the previous three delegate dances, am wholly relieved and inspired by the efforts and energy exhibited by the security teams, even though others may argue they may be over-reaching in their protection and methods, I feel as though they are doing a fine job in their handling of the Dance.

To shift focus back to the title of this article, it must be said that I am not a dancer, nor am I much of a party person, however I do very much enjoy the tradition and rituals that many delegations participate in. Whether it be the ever entertaining stretching circle exercise in order to lumber up before entering the dance, or even the now expected rush of costumed characters (ranging from togas in 2016 to a pirate conga line this year) onto the dance floor to inject a spontaneous bit of fun to the party as a whole one can be assured that there is never a dull moment in regards to the Delegate Dance. In addition to these hallowed and cherished traditions by some delegations, many delegates simply enter with their friends either to party or experience.

Continuing on the study of the fashion of the Delegate Dance, it cannot be overlooked that many different delegates have many different choices of style when it comes to the dance itself. From Daffy Duck sweaters, to jeans, to suits, to traditional dresses, to workout clothes and everything in between it becomes quite clear that everyone is unique and decides to put it on display when going to a massive dance with both strangers and friends alike.

As this article grows in length, I must address the topic of dancing. As someone who is not entirely familiar with all the technicalities of the dance styles put on display excluding the white boy dance and the occasional head bob and toe tap, I know I have little place in critiquing any type of dance, so I will be curt and simply say I admire all of you who go out there and dance, regardless of what others might think or say, y’all put yourselves out there and venture into the unknown. So, for that I commend all of you who are able and do dance.

Finally, to the delegates who maybe didn’t go to the Delegate Dance for fear of running into the horror stories of years past or perhaps to those of you who, like me, do not view parties as your thing or cup of tea. I urge you, if you are able to come back next year, to venture out to the Delegate Dance and if nothing else at least spend a few minutes just enjoying the moments. For the Delegate Dance is a revered experience and while it may not be the most educational or reserved, it is an experience any and all delegates deserve to experience.
– New York Times, Haydon Bergren

How To Not Panic: A Guide For Next Year

The days before a Model United Nations begins are some of the craziest days ever. Any one who’s ever been a delegate will be more than happy to explain exactly why, and then some. No matter how small the MUN, how big the committee, how much you think you can just ‘wing it’ – there comes a time, about three days before the conference opens, when panic sets in. Did I research enough? Oh, no! I’m going to fail! I’m not going to get recognized! What do I do? What do I do? And it isn’t limited to just preparation. There’s also the stress that comes with finding the right clothes, the right shoes, printing out all your stuff, and wondering if anyone is actually going to want to lobby with you. While I can’t promise that this will fix it all, it can’t hurt for you to read a little more. It might even help.

1. Clothes

Before you try to locate and collect every blazer within a three-mile radius, keep this is mind – blazers aren’t the only thing you can wear to a MUN (unless you’re a boy. If you’re a boy, you need a suit. No other option. Sorry. Maybe you can try a waistcoat.) And for every one, regardless of gender, mix-and-match has been around for years. There’s no reason you can’t make two blazers last you four days – just pick a different shirt, tie, or trousers. Or, if you’re a girl, wear a dress. That works, too.

2. Shoes

The only real rule here is not to wear Crocs. Crocs are evil and wearing them will eventually cost you. No, I’m just kidding. Obviously, Crocs are out of the question, but formal closed shoes work just fine – and you really only need one pair, unless you have five different belts to match five different pairs of shoes with. Then you’re on your own. And if you’re planning on wearing heels, keep in mind that you might have to walk a long way to your committee – or, if you’re a Press Corps member, stay on your feet pretty much the entire time. So unless you’re sure you can handle walking around on six-inch stilts for four and a half hours straight, try to go easy on the height.

3. Travelling

This is specifically for international delegates. Chances are your flight is going to get in the evening before committee starts (three hours before, if you’re really unlucky). Some delegates get a day to acclimatize and try to deal with jet-lag, but if you don’t, don’t worry. Try to sleep on the flight instead of watching all those movies. If you can’t, hey! There’s always Starbucks, that loyal best friend that’s never going to let you down. Just be warned – there will be lines. And they will be long.

4. Nerves

It’s so normal to get nervous – about speaking, being looked at, even for a reason you can’t explain. I’m not going to tell you to imagine everyone in their underwear, but just keep this in mind – every single delegate in the room is probably just as nervous as you are. You’re never alone when it comes to that.

5. Lobbying

All you need to know – walk up and make friends first. That makes it a lot easier to work together in committee later, and gives you a little more time to get comfortable with a person. Then you won’t feel as awkward bossing them around later when you’re leader of the bloc.

6. Research

Do it. That’s all I have to say.

7. Awards

The more you worry about whether you’re going to win or not, the more you’ll stress yourself out. Don’t go into committee thinking you have to win, and don’t try to analyze every move you make so that it’s something that you think will get you in the running. As cliché as it sounds, a MUN is, first and foremost, for the experience. And don’t worry about winning so much that you spend your whole stay holed up in your room writing resolutions. Go out and shop! (I mean, that’s what I would do. And what I did.)

This is in no way an official guide for a MUN. I can’t guarantee that it’ll help you. But I hope it does, because I know as much as the rest of you how nerve-wracking it can be. Just (and don’t yell at me for this line) don’t forget to have fun.

 

Crisis Managed!

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By Parmita Protik Das, CNN

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(CNN)— The highlight of the HarvardMUN delegate experience is undoubtedly the crises that fallout and evolve in the various committees. Elaborate and carefully planned, but acted out in a way that captures the delegates’ attention without being hard to follow, the crises cause the gears of the delegates’ minds to start spinning wildly. They are made to deal with an issue that was, perhaps, not being debated on much or thrown into another area of the topic entirely. But due to the skill of enactment, the delegates don’t feel ambushed or lost, they can entirely imagine the perspectives of different characters in the crises and are made to care for them.

In some cases, the crisis is meant to take the delegates by surprise and capitalize on the shock factor by intimidating the delegates to see how they behave in the face of adversity, that is, to test their crisis management skills. Since most developments along the world are not planned and the UN is charged with the incredible responsibility to handle dire situations around the world, Crises help make the experience more authentic.

The delegates have to be commended on how well they encompass the crisis that unfolded into their argumentation and use it to highlight their stances. They appeal to the emotion and logic of the Dais and their fellow delegates to establish new solutions to tackle the highlighted problem. The wide range of ideas that emerge to tackle any one problem showcase the difference in each delegates’ perspective, shaped by their unique experience in their home cities or countries, and add to the global platform that HMUN is supposed to be. In fact, addressing different facets of a lofty problem help make the directive or resolution even more detailed and effective in regards to real-world solutions. The Crises help delegates put themselves in other people’s shoes and thereby opens their minds a little more about the problems that people face around the world, making them conscientious global citizens. The polarization of ideas show that there are two sides to any story and that balance is key.

A Note to the Crisis Staff

The main entrancing factor of the crises is the acting chops that you possess. The nobility of the Qatari royal family and the air of absolution in their commands, the cold indifference and smugness of Julian Assange, the indignation of the high ranking Irani government official, the fleeting happiness of the water fowl, the materialistic attitude of the President of Big French Pharma, the disruptive nature of the police: the range of ideas, emotions, scenarios and characters make one feel like they are watching a performance by some of the best actors in Harvard.

The hard work that was put in by the Directors of Crisis was hard to miss, in fact the correspondent from CNN observed the Senior Director of Crisis mouthing out some of the lines of another character to help her along. Any observant delegate can see the passion that you possess for your duties as you file across the corridors, moving from committee to committee.

So thank you for adding a unique color to HMUN that keeps it in the minds of each and every delegate for a very long time.

 

A Day in The Life of a Press Corps Delegate

First, what is Press Corps at HMUN?

A lot of people think of Press Corps delegates as authentic reporters, writing stories to inform the public and to report the world-changing decisions among committees. But there is more to Press Corps than meets the eyes. Beneath the surface lies an irrefutable truth: no one really knows the specifics of what we do as Press Corps delegates. For instance, I got a text that says,

“press corps seems so fun omg but like what do you guys do actually????”

from one of my friends last night. Well, here are four steps that will educate you about we do at Press Corps:

Step 1: Go on http://harvardmun.org/committees.php

Step 2: Click on Specialized Agencies

Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and click on “Committee Summary” and “A Letter from the Director” under Press Corps

Step 4: Voila. You’re welcome.


Just kidding.

To lift the veil that covers the uniqueness of Press Corps, I will be sharing my personal schedule of the day to give you readers a truer, more down-to-earth vision of the uncommon things Press Corps do at HMUN.

Here is my schedule of the day:

7:30am woke up

7:45am woke up

8-8:15am waiting impatiently for my friend Ritika to go to Au Bon Pain together

9:30am started committee session IV

  • Every Press Corps member was assigned a role in a news channel stimulation
  • I was the Executive VP of Programming of National News Nightly
  • We faced a crisis: a terrorist attack in downtown Boston, followed with more crisis that challenged us to think intellectually as news company executives (read more about it in the article named “The National News Nightly: Not As Simple As Putting It On Paper” published by The Guardian!)

12:28pm NNN’s President of International (the delegation of CNN) motioned to introduce a directive, but we all just screamed “yes” to temporarily suspend the debate and go to lunch

2pm started committee session V

  • Under the ‘beats’ system, a system that allows all the delegates to cover the three organs at HMUN, everyone got to go to the organ that they haven’t been yet and collected information in committees
  • In the Computer Lab, I finished my article about WCW inspired by the massive numbers of working-papers and intellectual conversation about the legality of commercial sexual industry

3pm 8 people, including me, volunteered to conduct a small press-conference with our director Frankie in the Cabinet of Russia after the death of Vladimir Lenin

  • Some inspiring questions we wanted to ask/have asked:

“Who’s going to be the successor?”

“What effects does it have on the future of Communism?”

“Does this change the ideology of the Government?”

4:29pm writing this article, trying my best to be precise but I simply cannot because so many fun things happen in Press Corps, and asking other delegates for title ideas

5:54pm submitting this article and waiting for the end of committee session V

So above is the schedule of a Press Corps delegate today. I hope you gained more insight into Press Corps and what we do after reading this article.

See y’all at the Delegate Dance at 9:45pm!

 

 

My Draft Resolution: AZ good as it gets

Since it’s day three, Resolution (dooms)day as I’d like to call it, I’m going to attempt to write my own draft resolution. So here goes-

Author: China Daily

Signatories: China Daily

Affirming that the roll call for general assemblies is a high degree of torture;

Believing nobody. If someone flatters you on your paperwork, it’s probably a trap to usurp all your information;

Cognizant of the fact that the Press Corps is the best committee by far;

Discussing topics spanning everything but the crises at hand;

Emphasizing on journalistic integrity and the authenticity of sources in the Press Corps;

Focusing on trying to stockpile on caffeine to fight the unending battle against sleep ;

Gauging that the elevator and the Wi-Fi are the worst betrayers;

Hoping that the food lines are short enough to catch some food in between committee sessions;

Instigating the members of rival blocs against their leaders in order to gain a majority;

Judging people by merit and, well, by their fashion sense; 

Kudos(ing) all the delegates from all over the world for managing to stay alive through the quick paced crises (and the boring GA moderated caucuses);

Lamenting not being the recipient of a rose;

Mending bridges between the USA and Russia (is that too much to ask?);

Noting with zest the work of the Secretariat in ensuring the smooth running of the conference;

Observing the idiosyncrasies of delegates as their key to recognition;

Proclaiming that the delegate dance is not that bad (is it?);

Quarrelling with everyone in your field-of-view outside committee and with no one inside committee;

Reiterating that everybody in committee should get a chance to speak (especially in the GAs);

Strongly condemning the use of pre-written paperwork;

Tinkering with the chits and also delegates’ minds (the primary role of the Press Corps?);

Underlining important issues in the world today;

Viewing with appreciation the work of the crisis directors for the brilliant crises and efficient responses to crisis notes;

Wishing that the HMUN experience did not have to end;

Xeroxing working paper copies for everyone in the general assembly (and also blatantly killing several trees in the process);

Yielding collaborative resolutions from constructive debate;

Zeroing in on lobbying, debate, paperwork and most importantly spontaneity.

P.S.- Please forgive me for any inaccuracies. I have no prior experience in resolution writing, and so I might have made up some of the operative and pre-ambulatory clauses.

Minnesota Nice? Try Boston Brusque

It happened as soon as we stepped outside the airplane doors.  People rudely brushed past, banging our legs with their bags and bumping our shoulders as they strode past us.  Instead of holding the door for us, they merely went on their way, leaving the door swinging into our faces. While this brusqueness was a shock to some in our group, I was prepared.  Coming from Wisconsin, home of cows, brats and of course the Green Bay Packers, people are generally pretty friendly.  Nobody wants to offend anyone so words are chosen carefully and requests include heavy doses of “I’m sorry but..” or “Would it be too much trouble for you to..”.  But as I have experienced on past trips, you won’t find any of that in Boston.  Words and time are precious and people certainly do not waste them apologizing for their actions.

On a recent excursion to Mike’s Pastries, a few of my fellow classmates where sitting at a table when a worker came over and bluntly stated “Get out of your seats, find somewhere else to sit,” in a thick Boston accent.  While her bluntness surprised my friends, I recognized that it was just her way of communication.  It is a no frills, straight to the point communication used by  many who grew up in and live in Boston.  While it may seem rude at first, I often find myself mimicking it when I return to Wisconsin, with a slam of the door and the shouldering of the people walking in front of me as I pass by.