Students Channel Passion for Global Issues at Harvard National Model United Nations

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Student delegates from around the world had one thing in common at the recent Harvard National Model United Nations in Boston—a passion to use what they’re learning to affect global change.

Students from STU’s Model United Nations course spent the conference representing the interests of Venezuela.

“This experience has allowed me to see the world with open eyes,” fourth-year student Emilie Hanlon said. “I was able to make connections with people from all over the world, and some of my closest allies throughout the conference were from Venezuela. We were able to have real and deep conversations about the crisis going on there.”

Students worked on various committees including the United Nations High Commissioner for  Refugee’s Committee, the Legal Committee, the UN Environment Programme, and the Disarmament and International Security Committee.

Hanlon—who is studying Human Rights and Psychology—was tasked with discussing education as a tool for refugees. The challenge for her was maintaining Venezuela’s view on the issue, which differs from her own.

“I believe my courses in Human Rights and what Professor McAnany has taught us in the months leading up to the conference allowed me to have a better overall understanding of foreign policy.”

Skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and writing also proved to be invaluable during the four-day event.

“The ability to think critically and quickly on my feet allow me to be a better public speaker, especially in situations like Model UN where the topic is constantly changing and you aren’t able to write a speech or do any more research,” she said.

“I’ve also learned how to become a better writer from professors like Dr. Szurlej, and having that skill allowed me to be involved in writing working papers and draft resolutions in my committee.”

Founded in 1955, the Harvard National Model United Nations is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious conference of its kind. STU has sent a team to the competition for over two decades.