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Exchange Journal
Award-winning delegate Kate Cornford shares her experiences at the Harvard University World Model United Nations conference

1700 students from over 160 universities around the world, all at one central conference centre – confused? 

This would have been the thinking of many Genevois as students from around the world saturated the public transport system of the city.

And why were we there? To debate world politics and international affairs at the most diverse conference of its kind – the Harvard University World Model United Nations conference.

For five days, students mirrored the high-level debate found in UN bodies, representing countries and non-governmental organisations, tackling issues such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its disproportionate effect on children, nuclear weapons in Southeast Asia, and the decolonisation of the Western Sahara. 

Daily debating was always followed by social events, which inevitably ended up as early-morning events – a Global Village where delegates sampled food and drink from the nations represented at the conference.



Although the debates were often of a serious nature, there was still time to play (Kate, far left)


    
The Harvard University World Model United Nations conference was an amazing experience for Kate Cornford

We also enjoyed a boat cruise on Lake Geneva; a Cabaret Night; and a Farewell night in which a disused factory space was turned into a magical space, the walls covered with red curtains, the lights kept low, and in the centre of all the dancing and drinking, and a chocolate fountain where delegates dipped fruit (and sometimes double-dipped!).

However, it was the Closing Ceremony, held at the Palais de Nations, where the League of Nations was based, which was most remarkable. 

Students sat where UN delegates had sat before them, with an enormous gold UN logo on stage reminding students where exactly they were.  Upon conclusion, delegates exited the historic complex to be greeted, for the first time all week, with snow.

It was a fitting end to a week where many lost their voices lobbying, most lost sleep partying, and everyone came together to appreciate their respective differences, but also understand revel in their similarities.
 
Kate Cornford
Bachelor of Science with Bachelor of Laws
Australian Representative to WorldMUN
Recipient of the Diplomacy Award, WorldMUN 2007

Macquarie University students who are enrolled in a full degree program are eligible to apply for a travel grant for international studies.

 

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