Awards Won by Students at Harvard Model U.N. Conference

Last Thursday, eight of Andover’s thirteen delegates won awards at the annual Harvard Model United Nations Conference (HMUN), which hosted over 3,000 students and faculty advisors from all around the world.

During the four-day conference, Andover’s Model U.N. represented Togo. For eight hours each day, participants debated resolutions, drafted papers, and networked.

Claudia Meng ’18, Matthew Cline ’19, Yeetang Kwok ’20, and Olivia Lai ’20 each won Outstanding Delegate in their respective committees. Campbell Munn ’19, Quinn Robinson ’19, and Grace Posorske ’20 received Verbal Commendations, and Neil Thorley ’19 received an Honorable Mention.

These awards were determined by college students who oversaw the various committees of the conference. Outstanding Delegate, Honorable Mentions, and Verbal Commendations were all awarded based on the delegates’ speeches, leadership, and ability to pass resolutions in their committees.

“It was especially gratifying because of the hyper-competitive nature of HMUN. There is definitely a culture of stepping on other delegates in order to gain more power and success, and it was really nice to know that I could succeed while still maintaining a level of collaboration and integrity,” wrote Lai in an email to The Phillipian.

According to Lai, Andover’s goal was to represent Togo, declare a stance on an issue, and try to pass a resolution on that issue.

Lai wrote, “Representing Togo was both a blessing and a challenge. Togo is a small country… in the scope of Model U.N.; their GDP is only four times that of [Andover’s] endowment. As a result, it was difficult to gain credibility in the committee.”

Meng, president of Andover’s Model UN, talked about the processes and difficulties of passing a resolution.

“Most of your political leverage comes from being in large institutions like the African Union, so you have to know that and either align yourself and become the leader of a West African or African Union block. Or, you have to align yourself with more powerful countries that have similar views. I aligned myself with Israel, China, and the U.S., and I used their political leverage to allow my ideas to be heard,” said Meng.

Meng said that it was interesting to see the conference’s simulation of world powers. She felt that the people portraying their countries often become one during the conference.

“You start conceptualizing people as countries, and the entire thing just becomes this entire conglomerate of power plays, which is really interesting.” said Meng.

Jeffrey Kao ’19, another participant, expressed that although he did not win an award at the conference, he formed friendships with delegates from all over the world, some of whom he stays in touch with.

“In my friend group, there was me, someone from Tunisia who went to boarding school in South Africa, someone from an Upper East Side New York  private school, [and] people from Connecticut. It was a whole bunch of people from around the world that you can really only get at events like Harvard MUN, and we were just sharing our stories, getting to know each other. I thought that was very wholesome,” said Kao.

Editor’s Note: Campbell Munn is a Video Editor for The Phillipian.