More than 900 college students from 78 schools participated over the weekend in the 27th annual Harvard National Model United Nations conference.
Held at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, the conference lasted four days, ending yesterday with a plenary session of the General Assembly at which ten resolutions were passed.
"The students came to learn, meet people and have a good time at the parties," a Harvard delegate said.
New to the conference this year was the simulation of a second Camp David summit. Using a format designed by Roger D. Fisher '43, Williston professor of Law, delegates representing Israel and Egypt traded concessions, each of which had to be ratified by the Knesset and Arab League, respectively.
The need to obtain the approval of these bodies demonstrated "the role of external constraints in the decision-making process," said Richard J. DeNatale '81, director of the simulation.
Although the Israeli delegates were prepared to relinquish some control over the occupied West Bank, they failed to reach an agreement with the Egyptian delegates on the future status of Jerusalem, the demilitarization of the West Bank and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.
The United States delegates urged the two parties to sign a treaty on the points of agreement, but they refused to sign anything less than a comprehensive solution.
Other students debated and compromised the conflict in El Salvador, the Iran-Iraq war, terrorism, East African refugees, nuclear non-proliferation, the status of women, transnational corporations and financing the debts of developing countries, among other issues.
Michael J. Levintin '82, secretary-general of the conference, said yesterday the purpose of the conference was to show delegates that "compromise and consensus are both necessary and possible for success in the international arena."
The most exciting aspect of the conference is "pretending you're in the real world," Cara B. Seidman '81, president of the International Relations Council, the undergraduate organization which sponsors the conference--said yesterday.
When asked about the shortcomings of the conferences as a realistic simulation of the United Nations, one delegate observed it was difficult for the students to "tear themselves away from their own biases and put themselves in the shoes of a representative of another country.