On January 18th, 2018, a group of eleven upper school students went to Dubai for the annual Harvard Model Congress accompanied by Mr.Smith. Harvard Model Congress is a MUN conference held by Harvard Undergraduates, and it simulates regular United Nations committees (such as the United Nations Security Council, Arab League, African Union etc.) as well as the United States Congress committees (such as House Homeland Security, Senate Help, Senate Foreign Relations etc) and even special committees like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Presidential Cabinet. In these commissions, the eleven students used their extensive research and brilliant debating skills to tackle internationally pressing issues ranging from the Indus Water Rights to The Finance of the Brexit. These intense topics lead to very competitive, animated, and impassioned debates.
While at the beginning some of the delegates found the American form of procedure new, foreign and even a bit difficult, the delegates still managed to make their mark within their commission. The first day wasn’t all seriousness and debating. On the first night, the Delegate Meet & Greet Social Dinner took place. During this, all the students got to have some good food, meet new people and dance in the open air premises.
Ah, the second and longest day. But also by far the most engaging! Filled with tough resolutions debates and voting to pass them as well as dealing with controversies and with no laptops allowed in the conference really tested our delegates skills to think on their feet and remain calm in situations where things go wrong, which in MUN is a very important skill to have and our very own delegates demonstrated that wonderfully.
Later on, the commissions grouped into full sessions divided in between international and domestic; during these full sessions, NES students collaborated with their peers to ensure only the best resolutions pass and that we represented our school as the diplomatic, empathetic and brilliant delegates they were. Entertaining intriguing points of information and having to make up supporting speeches for one another on the spot and still “wow” the house and chairs was a very important aspect of the conference and our delegates truly brought such revolutionary ideas to the table and amazed the people around them.
After a fruitful debate, the American University in Dubai and Harvard College worked together with a panel of undergraduates to give us the College Panel so that the delegates of the conference could ask all the pressing questions they needed the answers to. The delegates saw the differences between the two universities and how brilliant the uni life is.
This motivating panel gave our fellow delegates the confidence to continue back to their regular commissions and dominate the committee and leave the crowd speechless. To congratulate them for their efforts, Mr. Smith took the gang to the Mall of the Emirates where they had a night filled with laughter, good food, banter and speed-walking competitions down the corridor between the mall and the metro (it would be fair to say that Mr. Smith is secretly apart of the Olympic Walking Team) and everyone had a fair share of play after working hard all day.
Saturday, the very last day, was an overall pleasant day for the delegates, with passionate resolution debates in Full Session and playing ‘delegate hot seat’ with all of the chairs from Harvard before proceeding to the closing ceremony, as all good things must come to an end.
During the closing ceremony, the delegates listened to the closing remarks with a very ambivalent feeling in their chests knowing that such an experience was coming to an end but also with such anticipation and excitement as they knew that awards were coming up, especially the esteemed “Speakers Award”.
NES’ Awards and Achievements:
In no particular order, the recipients of awards and honourable mentions at the prestigious Harvard Model Congress Dubai 2018 were:
Aliah AlKazemi Honourable Mention, UNSC
Khaled Ahmed-Honourable Mention, Arab League
Kerem Er-Honourable Mention, African Union
Noran Fayad–Best Delegate Award, House Homeland Security
Nadine Soliman- Best Delegate Award, Arab League
Ranna Kisswani- Best Delegate Award, UNSC
Mr. Smith and Arjun Issar- Overall Best Medium Delegation Award
One outstanding achievement that was awarded to one of our delegates was the Speaker Award; this is when two delegates from the conference are chosen to use their platform and speak on a topic they are truly passionate about. This was the first year a delegate from NES has been awarded this and the winner of that award should be very proud of themselves. Noran Fayad gave a speech on feminism in the Middle East and not only amazed the crowd but received a standing ovation making all of us proud.
Overall, this trip was very successful for both the school and the individuals themselves and helped them find more guidance in their journeys to the perfect university and how to better themselves for their next experience. Big thanks firstly, to Mr. Smith for allowing us to have such an outstanding experience as well as take care of the students, and provide them with humorous, mentally stimulating and pleasant conversations and of course, motivate us to do our best and gain and grow from this experience, not just win awards. Another very important thank you goes to the Secretary General Arjun Issar who has really helped the MUN program skyrocket this year and help it expand exponentially, but also thanking him for being a trainer to most if not all of us at one point and really helping us achieve awards of such prestige.
This conference is heavily recommended for everyone in upper school; this conference will help your personal development and really give you a fast-paced and pleasant time that is absolutely unforgettable.