The HMUN Experience

This year, in the middle of August, six of us from Inventure Academy were selected to take part in the Harvard Model United Nations in Mumbai.
While some of us were more experienced ‘Munners’, the rest were newbies. But no matter how prepared we were, you can only imagine our initial shock upon hearing that one of the world’s most prestigious colleges would be gracing us with a first time in India, opportunity. Current students of Harvard would be the chairs at this MUN (some of them had up to 30 MUN achievements under their belts!) and over 2500 delegates were attending this exciting and versatile conference.

If you don’t know already, MUN deals with combating and improving the global pressing issues that conflict our worldwide community. The aim for international peace, is the main motivation that all of us delegates must have when representing our given countries. We were appointed as delegates of Belarus and we immediately set out to work on research on our given agendas. My committee was World intellectual property organization and honestly, the agenda was a topic that was not familiar to many of us. After
Preparing on the topic Genetic Patenting (and of course, a lot of extra reading on the flight to Mumbai) we were ready to face this challenging MUN.

Once we reached Mumbai, we were fortunate enough to stay at the Taj Vivanta and along with Lucy Maam, we checked in and unpacked all our formal clothes and shoes. The first evening, Shalaka and I went out with my family that stays in Mumbai for dinner. We had an enjoyable time eating chaat and getting a taste of the typical Mumbai food. We went to bed early that night, looking forward to what the next day would hold.

We were awoken to the sound of heavy rain pattering on our window. Added to that, the humid weather made us want to just crawl back in bed. But we were ready to leave the hotel and get on the bus, which would take us to the World Trade Center, as soon as we were dressed up. The WTC was adorned with delegates from all over India, some decked in flashy formals and some in clean cut business attire. Anxiously, we made our way to the stalls that were set up there for breakfast. After eating, we headed to our respective councils. Mine was on the 24th floor and what a view it was! Nischal and I “oohed” and “aahed” at the view of the Queen’s necklace that adorns Mumbai’s coast.

The head of our committee (known as The Chair) was absolutely amazing and surprisingly a very friendly person. He’s a student at Harvard and had been The Chair for at least 5 other international MUNs and a delegate for over 35 worldwide ones. In fact, my council was filled with diverse people who were passionate about MUN but equally unsure about the procedures since the Harvard protocols were strangely different from other MUNs. Once the differences were pointed out to us, we had a role call and then a moderated caucus on which topic we should discuss first. The voting was fun and I met some very interesting characters that went from either insanely shy or belligerent. By the afternoon, we were engaged in intense debate on whether genetic patenting was morally correct and if we should encourage it for a more developed world.

Day two was similar in terms of the amount of vast debates we had but we also had frequent unmoderated caucuses. Our other agenda, which was to discuss the need for protection of traditional knowledge in indigenous countries, resulted in many arguments and points of order being raised in the house. However, by the end of it we had formed our allies and managed to come up with a resolution. Day two was also different because we had a social night in the Taj banquet hall. To say it was entertaining would be an understatement. Many of our friends from Bangalore were also present as delegates and we made new friends as well. Dinner was delicious and pretty soon we were tired from the dancing, so we headed back to our room to crash for the night.

The other days were filled with shopping at fashion street, eating out, and of course the laughter filled tour that we had to endure. The tour of prime tourist locations in Mumbai, such as The Gateway of India, Chowpatty beach and The Hanging Gardens were intriguing and made us want to stay in Mumbai just to take in the sights and sounds. We had another social night at an old film studio, which was Carnival themed. The nights were filled with us working hard on our resolutions and thanks to teamwork, we were able to pull through the 5 days of the conference.

The difficulties that we faced, such as there being too many delegates in one committee and the lack of a logistics staff did set us back, but it did not dampen our spirits one bit. We learned about how an effective and confident delegate can take on a general speech or even participate in an unmoderated caucus and how to improve our resolutions all in the useful MUN School which Harvard India so graciously offered all its delegates. There was even a workshop on how to conduct a MUN in our respective schools! So hopefully, Inventure Academy will have its very own interschool MUN soon.

Divya Ijari
Grade 12 A Levels