Staffed entirely by Harvard College undergraduates, the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) conference brings over 3,000 students and faculty together from colleges and universities around the world to simulate the activities of the United Nations. HNMUN offers a unique opportunity to experience the challenges of international negotiation and diplomacy.
From 14 to 17 February 2019, I was back at the HNMUN conference. This was my second visit to Boston, USA, in two years, having been part of the student team a year ago in 2018. This time round, I was there as advisor to a team of 12 juniors.
Two SIM students did Singapore and the school proud when they were commended for their negotiation and diplomacy skills.
Two SIM students did Singapore and the school proud when they were commended for their negotiation and diplomacy skills – Joanne Wee (BSc Accounting and Finance) and Kayven Tan (BSc International Relations). It was a first for the school since its participation in the annual event in 2013.
The SIM duo represented Qatar and negotiated solutions on issues such as civil disobedience and LGBT rights. Their outstanding negotiation skills impressed the judges and distinguished them from others in the social, humanitarian and cultural committee.
The team that made it through the selection process to represent Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) at Boston came from the largest pool of candidates to date in the seven years that SIM has sent teams to Boston, with 11 candidates selected out of 39 trainees.
The demographics of this year's team was also unique in that we had more international students on board: one Malaysian (Joanne Wee; BSc Accounting and Finance), two French (Benjamin Boulud; BSc Economics and Politics and Louis Martin; International Foundation Programme), one Vietnamese (Benjamin Lee) and six Singaporeans.
This year's team also consisted of a higher proportion of delegates who were of a younger age compared to previous years, including Benjamin (19 years old), Aneesha (20) and Joanne Wee (21 this year). The fact that they managed to hold their ground – and went further than some of us who are way older – is, in my opinion, a remarkable feat.
Their ability to adapt quickly on the go, and to deliver tangible results by going further, stand as a strong testament that each successive batch of students bound for HNMUN perform better than their predecessors.
Lastly, an interesting thing to point out would be the HNMUN conference itself. As a faculty advisor this year, I feel that the dynamics were vastly different, notably the pace of the sessions. These were at a higher tempo, and our trainees were not necessarily trained under such circumstances. Yet their ability to adapt quickly on the go, and to deliver tangible results by going further, stand as a strong testament that each successive batch of students bound for HNMUN perform better than their predecessors – strongly pointing to the development of a learning curve over the years. Or, as some may say, progress along the course of history.