Poland Hosts Harvard World Model U.N.
Hundreds of Delegates Gather for First Ever International Simulation
More than 275 delegates from 40 countries and six continents gathered in Miedzyzdroje, Poland during spring break for the first ever Harvard World Model United Nations.
During the four-day conference, mock sessions of the United Nations were conducted by nine different committees discussing actual topics taken from the agenda of the real U.N. The committees passed several resolutions and sent them to the body in New York City.
"Students got to trade off ideas about their different countries and cultures, as well as their different political views," said Business Manager Beth Noveck '91-'92.
Over 27 Harvard students attended the conference, including Daniel H. Tabak '92, Isabel M. Dedring '93, Geraldine Acuna '92 and James T. Chao '93.
Proceedings over the four days focused on four major groups. The Secretariat handled administrative affairs, while the majority of discussion and debate over issues occurred in the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Specialized Agencies and Related Bodies.
Two Harvard students helped to staff each of the committees and presented the topics to be discussed. The committees debated issues including the future of the European Economic Community and the end of American hegemony.
"Because of the low cost, there was a lot of representation of different economic backgrounds and people were really honest with their views," said Shanti Rabindran '93, a member of the General Assembly.
Corporate sponsorships and private donations helped to keep costs low for the participants, organizers said. In addition, Vienna International, which owns the hotel where the conference was held, donated conference space and charged low rates for lodging.
Poland was chosen to host the convention so that Eastern European delegates could attend, organizers said. Russian delegates also attended after the organization helped pay the group's travel expenses and fees.
"We really wanted the Russians to attend and it was a unique opportunity to be able to interact with them," Noveck said.
In addition to gaining political and governmental experience, delegates met students from all over the world and made many friends, participants said.
"Getting to meet all those people made it all worth it for me," said Rabindran. "I even managed to go see an old friend from Warsaw."
"One of the major goals was to have a U.N. simulation where students could represent their own nations, and another was to discuss issues of current global concern," said Linda E. Klaamas '92, executive director. "I felt that both of them were achieved."
Another world Model U.N. is tentatively planning a meeting in Prague, Czechoslovakia next year, organizers said. Though nothing is yet official, they hope to double the number of participants.
"I'm hoping this conference will become an institution of exchange for many years to come," Noveck said.