While most of the world can only stand by and watch the United Nations action in Somalia, 2200 high school students from around the world have come to Harvard to take their own crack at it.
The 40th annual Harvard Model U.N. began with the fall of the gavel last night at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, as students grouped by school will represent all 179 countries belonging to the U.N.
And for the first time, the Harvard Model U.N. focused on making the event a true-to-life international scene, with about 100 students from as many as 12 schools comprising the foreign delegation from Europe, Asia and South America, according to Neal J. Reehan '93, the secretary-general of the organization.
Before the international crowd could get into the thick of delegation politicking though, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Alexander F. Watson '61 presented the delegation with an overview on the international forum's changing face.
In committees, the students decided their assigned country's global interests on a wide range of issues, including arms trade, refugee status, child labor, prostitution, the succession of states, and Somalia. The students are supposed to stay true to their country's persona and history in making their decisions.
The situations provided for students are meant to determine the skill with which delegates can be equally good actors as debators.
To make the simulation as real as possible, the Harvard staff will be treating the U.N. Security Council to a 3 a.m. emergency wake-up sometime during the next few days. The nature of the crisis will be a surprise as well.
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