HIU Rises to the Occasion at Harvard National Model United Nations Conference

Model UN Team

After three days of lobbying, proposals, position papers, and speeches, the Hope International University Model United Nations team returned from Boston, MA in high spirits. For the second year in a row, they successfully proved themselves to be among the top delegates at the Harvard National Model United Nations conference (HNMUN).

“I thought that everyone on the team did very well,” said Neil Baker, head delegate. “Every single one of them came ready to give their all. I was very proud to work alongside the members of Hope's Model UN group this year.”

Baker along with Sarah Brown, Beatrice Krause, Hilary Lamont, Catherine Lowry, Kasey Philyaw, Sine Schrimer, Danny Sugimoto, and Amy Thorne represented the Republic of Malawi. Paired off and split into five delegations, the HIU team tackled topics like sovereignty, international security, discrimination, and humanitarian efforts as they applied to Malawi. A big moment for the Hope team came when Sarah Brown and Amy Thorne co-authored the final passing resolution for the Legal Committee, which was composed of 190 delegations. Six other countries authored the resolution, including Bhutan (University of Houston) and the United Kingdom (Yale University).

Faculty Advisor Dr. Roberto Sirvent, an Associate Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he was impressed with the HIU students’ willingness to learn both from researching on their own and from other participants at the conference. “I think it was simultaneously challenging and affirming for them to realize that you don't have to come from a church youth group in suburban Orange County in order to care about the grave injustices in the world,” he said. “Rather, there are so many people out there --American and non-American, private school students and state school students, Christian and non-Christian -- who are eager to tackle the world's biggest problems. I hope this realization both humbled and motivated the students.”

In fact, one of the best aspects of HNMU is that it offers students the chance to expand their worldviews. “I have never traveled outside of the states before so meeting people from about 40 different countries was surreal!” Kasey Philyaw, a junior at HIU, said. “Being part of a united event at this large of scale was life altering.”

Baker agreed and added that for him seeing democracy at work was incredibly meaningful. “The most valuable thing that I took away from the conference was a sense for how theory goes about making its way into practice in a democratic setting,” he said. “It was definitely a learning experience, and it has already had an influence on my thinking in almost every other academic discipline.”

This kind of broad, lasting impact is what keeps HIU students invested in the HNMUN and excited to return next year. “I know we are ready and prepared to compete and interact with the best of the best in the conference,” Philyaw said. “We are all looking forward to making Hope proud once again.”

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