Ten of Andover’s 16 delegates won awards at the 66th annual Harvard Model United Nations Conference (HMUN), which hosted more than 3,300 high school students and faculty advisors from over 50 countries from January 24 to January 27. According to Campbell Munn ’19, the President of Andover’s Model UN (MUN), the team won the most awards at HMUN that they have in his recent memory.
Awards won included: Munn and Quinn Robinson ’19 with Best Delegate; Olivia Lai ’20, Neil Thorley ’19, and Christy Wei ’21 won Outstanding Delegate in their respective committees. Grace Posorske ’20 and Yeetang Kwok ’20 received Honorable Mention, and Salvador Gómez ’21, Sebastian Romero ’20, and Lasal Mapitigama ’21 received Diplomatic Commendations
“I definitely did not expect to win any awards…I was so surprised and happy when our delegation was called second to last because I thought we wouldn’t get anything,” said Wei.
These recognitions were determined by current Harvard students who administered the various committees of the conference. Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate, Honorable Mentions, and Diplomatic Commendations were all awarded based on the delegates’ speeches, leadership, and ability to pass resolutions in their committees.
During the four-day conference, the team drafted papers, debated resolutions, and collected additional research. Lai, recipient of Outstanding Delegate in the Social and Humanitarian Committee of the General Assembly, said that the long hours of preparation for the conference were often exhausting but rewarding.
“The sheer intensity of HMUN as a conference is always a fun challenge, and I enjoyed debating and coming up with solutions for my committee’s topic: the rights of prisoners of war,” wrote Lai in an email to The Phillipian.
“There are also tend to be a lot of cutthroat people at HMUN, and learning how to hold my own while maintaining my own personal integrity at the same time is something that I’ve been grappling with throughout my MUN career,” continued Lai.
However, Lai also mentioned that missing school on Friday, January 25 conflicted with her school work.
“Missing class was definitely a little challenging because we were gone on both Thursday and Friday and had no time to work on homework over the weekend. Teachers were generally good about extensions, though, and I think the experience at the conference was definitely worth it,” wrote Lai.
Sebastian Romero ’20 noted the difficulty of balancing academics, extracurriculars, and research for the conference, especially when competing against teams who spent more time preparing.
“At Andover especially, I think it’s hard to prepare for conferences like this or really try to do things that extend beyond the limits of our campus. Just because of all the time commitments Andover students have with all of their activities, it can prove difficult to prepare for conferences like these,” wrote Romero in an email to The Phillipian.
Like Romero, Kwok mentioned having to prepare in advance for specific situations.
“Since HMUN has so many delegates, you can never fully prepare for what’s going to happen in committee. So, the challenge was doing enough research so you can still have a grasp of the unexpected situations,” said Kwok.
While it was many students’ first time at a Model UN conference, Robinson was satisfied with the team’s overall performance. According to Robinson, HMUN is one of the most competitive conferences for high school MUN.
“Overall, it was a really fun experience…all our delegates worked so hard in both preparation and at the conference itself. I’m so proud of everyone we brought, award or no award, since it was a number of people’s first time at a conference…they all excelled,” wrote Robinson in an email to The Phillipian.
Adya Chatterjee ’22 expressed that although many challenges occurred while preparing for the conference, she appreciated the friendships she was able to form with students from all around the globe. HMUN was a transformative opportunity for her, she said, recalling an experience with a delegate from Venezuela who had represented South Sudan.
Chatterjee said, “Another moment that I will never really forget is when a delegate who represented South Sudan but was from Venezuela came and spoke about his own experiences with terrorism in his own country. It was truly heartbreaking yet humbling to see how we really could one day solve world issues we were already creating solutions for.”