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Model U.N. Is Largest In World

By William E. Rehling, Special to The Crimson

BOSTON--Who cares about snow when you've got the world's problems to solve?

That seemed to be the consensus among almost 2,000 participants as they swung into action at the Harvard National Model United Nations at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston yesterday.

"We have students from Australia, Indonesia, Japan--every continent but Antarctica," said Sanjay Shetty '96, the secretary-general of this year's conference.

The Harvard Model U.N. is the largest in the world, with 32 delegations from foreign countries and 110 from U.S. colleges and universities.

Each delegation has been assigned a country and is charged with representing its interests in 20 different committees and agencies.

The participants don't get to choose their country, making for some interesting situations for the participants, said Peter T. Bellanti of D'Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. His delegation was assigned to represent Iraq.

"It's weird because we can't do much; we're under so many different sanctions," he said.

According to Shetty, the goal of the Harvard Model U.N. is to provide the participants with a realistic experience.

"The purpose of this conference is to teach students about international relations and consensus building, but it does it in a way different from a traditional program because it engages them as if they were actual delegates in the U.N.," he said.

A participant from Japan, Allison Ueda of Sophia University in Tokyo, said she found the Harvard conference better than any others she had attended.

"In Japan we talk about issues very vaguely," Ueda said. "Here we talk about specific programs."

The Harvard Model U.N. also tries to avoid the acrimony that can occur in the body it imitates, organizers said.

"We like to foster a spirit of international cooperation, and perhaps a little more than in the real world, compromise and working together," said Aurora J.S. Swithen-bank '97, charge d'affaires for the conference.

According to Comptroller Brian R. Blais '97, the conference is expected to generate a net profit of $30,000 to $40,000 for the Harvard International Relations Council.

The Model U.N. has booked about 600 of the Park Plaza's 977 rooms, according to Lory Davis, convention manager for the Park Plaza.

A staff of about 125 Harvard students is working to ensure the smooth operation of the committees, enforce the 1 a.m. curfew and keep late-night partying from disturbing other guests of the hotel.

But this effort hasn't completely eliminated the need for the Park Plaza's own security staff. One of the hotel's guards, who declined to give his name, seemed unimpressed by the students.

"It's ironic," the guard said. "These are supposedly some of the great minds of the future, and they can't remember their room keys.

According to Shetty, the goal of the Harvard Model U.N. is to provide the participants with a realistic experience.

"The purpose of this conference is to teach students about international relations and consensus building, but it does it in a way different from a traditional program because it engages them as if they were actual delegates in the U.N.," he said.

A participant from Japan, Allison Ueda of Sophia University in Tokyo, said she found the Harvard conference better than any others she had attended.

"In Japan we talk about issues very vaguely," Ueda said. "Here we talk about specific programs."

The Harvard Model U.N. also tries to avoid the acrimony that can occur in the body it imitates, organizers said.

"We like to foster a spirit of international cooperation, and perhaps a little more than in the real world, compromise and working together," said Aurora J.S. Swithen-bank '97, charge d'affaires for the conference.

According to Comptroller Brian R. Blais '97, the conference is expected to generate a net profit of $30,000 to $40,000 for the Harvard International Relations Council.

The Model U.N. has booked about 600 of the Park Plaza's 977 rooms, according to Lory Davis, convention manager for the Park Plaza.

A staff of about 125 Harvard students is working to ensure the smooth operation of the committees, enforce the 1 a.m. curfew and keep late-night partying from disturbing other guests of the hotel.

But this effort hasn't completely eliminated the need for the Park Plaza's own security staff. One of the hotel's guards, who declined to give his name, seemed unimpressed by the students.

"It's ironic," the guard said. "These are supposedly some of the great minds of the future, and they can't remember their room keys.

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