Rollins Students Compete in Model UN Conference

April 23, 2009

Twelve Rollins students recently competed in the annual Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) Conference in Boston. Representing the country of Montenegro, they spent their four-day weekend interacting with the rest of the conference population, which consisted of nearly 3,000 students from more than 35 countries.

Spending more than 20 hours in committee sessions, Rollins students had the opportunity to collaborate with students from all over the world as they sought to solve issues such as corrupt oil exploitation practices and the use of rape as a tactic in war. Working hard to pass resolutions that would solve these problems, students wrote draft resolutions, addressed topics of concern in formal debate, and networked with their peers.

At night, Rollins students had the opportunity to mingle with others outside of the conference session. Harvard's student organizers had planned several late-night social events such as a cocktail hour and delegate dance in the grand ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel.

By the end of the four-day weekend, Rollins students had become friends with students from all over the world, enjoyed several late-night conference social events, and even had their work published in some of the resolutions that were passed in the various committees. Rollins' Model UN club is thankful to the Office of the Provost for sponsoring this year's trip, and can't wait to see what next year's conference has in store for them.

Omar Rachid, one of the founders of Rollins Model United Nations team, said, "This trip to Boston made me realize how hard it is to negotiate with people when everyone is trying to impose their will and their conditions on everybody else. I was in the World Health Organization and every country had a completely different take on the issue. We never reached a consensus because people were hung up on the definition of health care and not actually tending to the problem at hand. This was a valuable real life experience because negotiating with others and coming up with a consensus that more than just a few countries can agree on is quite difficult. Being stuck in debate for so long made me really appreciate those few and rare moments people actually do come together."

First-year student Amanda Brooks said, "The most exciting and nerve-wracking moment of the Harvard competition was walking up to the microphone and speaking to 400 people who represented countries with conflicting views to our own. Although Montenegro is a small country, it was so interesting to learn about our country's place in other countries' economies. I made friends with other students from around the world and at the same time expanded my knowledge historically and geographically."

--Brittany Fornof, Class of 2011

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