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.

 

Commission on Narcotic Drugs Not Budging

Because of the complexity of the drug problem in most parts of the world, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is divided between two large blocks who want the same result, but are unwilling to budge on the process to achieve that result. This seems to be a recurring theme in most HMUN Committees; each delegation wants their resolution to be the one that is passed, even when compromise is the only real solution.

I spoke to the delegation of Pakistan regarding their draft resolution 1.2, which essentially gives smaller countries a voice when it comes to drug reform. The draft resolution also stresses education as a potential solution for corruption. While this seemed like a good idea on the surface, this was proposed to be given to the corrupted officials themselves who are incentivized to maintain their corrupt ways. Pakistan has partnered with Japan, Germany, Brazil, United States of America, and Botswana to create this draft resolution. Pakistan states they are “aware of the complications within a solution for drug reform” meaning they were expecting at least some opposition. They also expressed that the opposition has lessened with the help of some amendments and simple edits in the draft resolution.

The draft resolution stresses the option for countries to legalize marijuana if they choose which they believe could decrease the crime rate in certain countries and give governments the ability to tax the drug trade. This has come under scrutiny by countries such as Sweden and Nigeria. These delegations expressed to me their concerns with this clause because there are many farmers now who get their income through selling things like marijuana and if a portion of their income is taken away by taxation then these farmers could suffer because of it. The 1.2 draft resolution team suggested that the farmers supplement this income by planting biofuel crops, but the opposition says this would not at all be profitable. Not only is the biofuel industry not very prevalent in developing countries, but there is not a biofuel industry in most developing countries. The opposition recommended planting food crops instead.

One of the 1.2 resolution team’s values is national sovereignty, which they attempted to uphold by giving countries a choice as to whether they implement these policies or not. Many delegations saw this as ineffective and not at all concise in what the committee was trying to accomplish.

As of now the two blocks in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs are unwilling to budge on any clauses or draft resolutions on the table at the moment. The only true way to solve the problem of drug trade is compromise however, the light is very dim at the end of a long tunnel.

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.

Puerto Rico Struck again!

The physical control board took control of the puerto Rican  cabinet following the lack of fiscal responsibility and allegations of corruption. Five members of the cabinet were arrested following the allegations made against them and were replaced by members of the physical control board. The cabinet has been stripped of most of it’s powers specifically budgetary decision! We must wait now to see how the cabinet responds and strikes back!