Magical experience in Harvard WorldMUN 2017 - Montréal
The first step of our delegation’s official journey to Harvard WorldMUN 2017 began in Frankfurt airport on the morning of March 11. From then on it was clear that we had ahead of us a week which would becoming a lasting memory for each member of our delegation. From the inflight time to the stopover in Amsterdam, we could constantly be heard laughing and exchanging our excitement for the upcoming week. Upon our arrival, this excitement was temporarily replaced by shock due to the extreme weather, but we were soon as hyper and excited as we were when we started our journey. Each and every aspect of our trip which followed, from committees to socials, outings, sightseeing trips and meals were as brilliant and memorable as we had imagined individually, thanks to the amazing and diverse composition of our delegation. Every day, despite our lack of sleep and near exhaustion from the activities of the day before, we were able to pull ourselves together and represent our university and society as a united team.
To say that Montreal is a diverse city would undoubtedly be an understatement. People from all around the world with different cultures have gathered here and are now able to call this place home. We had Lanzhou noodle soup in Montreal’s China Town, we had proper Japanese food in a neat and tidy store at the corner of a street, and we of course also enjoyed truly Canadian dishes such as poutine or Tim Horton’s.
Montreal is not only diverse in its culinary aspect. There is always something that yoan explore and enjoy. For those who love shopping Rue St Catherine offers a myriad of shops, including the highly coveted Victoria’s Secret. One of our delegates has spent at least half a day and her total allowance in that very store. If one wishes to go sightseeing, then one would either take a bus drive up the Mont Royal to enjoy Montreal from above in its wintery glory or visit the Observatoire to take in the city from a 360 degrees panorama view.
Furthermore, the city also offers various cultural enjoyments. The Museum of Contemporary Art is a definite must-see for all those interested in modern art. We were even lucky enough to witness a temporary exhibition of the great Jewish artist, Marc Chagall. On top of that, the opera of Montreal is an architectural wonder with fantastic acoustics. Right next to that, the Place des Arts hosts splendid exhibitions ever so often. And these are merely three examples of perhaps hundreds more cultural activities.
All in all, I believe that this experience has enriched every one of us and will stay with us for a long, long time.
The opening ceremony of the 26th edition of Harvard WorldMUN took place in the Palais des Congrès right in the heart of Montréal. The Palais is quite spectacular with its colorful front and magnitude. It was also 2 minutes by feet from our hotel and it impressed us not only because of its architecture but also with its history. You might want to know that the 11th Conference of Parties was held here and that two of our delegates were simulating the 3rd one in Kyoto in the Historical General Assembly.
The opening ceremony started with the performance of a bagpipes ensemble alluding to the British roots of the population of Montreal. After speeches from the Secretary General Parijat Lal and his Director General, representatives of the Dawson College, the organizing Host team, expressed their pride to have been chosen to hold the conference in the year of the 375th birthday of Montreal. The best speech was, by far, was the one delivered by Peter Schiefke the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth to the Prime minister of Canada. He urged the delegates to fight for the better in the world in difficult times despite the frustrating developments on the international political scene. Another highlight was the performance of Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli who – despite his severe neuromuscular illness – has succeeded to become a widely-known break-dancer. The message he brought across was to never give up to be great, no matter how hard live hits you.
After these inspiring speeches and performances , Parijat Lal declared WorldMUN 2017 as officially opened.
Describing the sessions at WorldMUN can be a little tough. On the one hand they were very qualitative: there were many well-prepared students who really knew the matter, their country and its position. Therefore, we had efficient discussions and issues were ready to be tackled right away. However, many were also extremely competitive.
Of course, winning a diplomacy award at WorldMUN is very prestigious. But because of that, so many had resolutions basically ready and were eager to take over the control of a certain bloc of countries. And though it is always good to have a leader who keeps everything structured, I felt that sometimes the discussion was hurt by the competitiveness of who had the better idea and who was the better leader.
Nonetheless, we had excellent chairs who really acknowledged everybody and let each delegate have a chance to speak. Every morning, session would start with wakeup songs and the atmosphere was light. I enjoyed meeting highly intelligent people who took the topic seriously and I appreciated constantly listening to excellent speeches.
It all started on Sunday where the incredible team of organizers managed to have a party at the Montreal Science Center. This party is called “night zero” and is the first opportunity to get to know each other while dancing or hanging around at the bar.
After having the opening ceremony and our first day of impressions, we had an event called “Global Village”. The event was about showing typical food and beverages from your home country. We are proud to tell you that the MUN Mannheim delegation served the best liquor and we enjoyed the night walking around with our German flags while dancing. The third party called “Vogue Ball” was a special party where a transgender made an amazing performance to Lady Gaga´s “Pokerface” video. The atmosphere,the people and the music were just incredible.
On Wednesday we were all quite nervous, as it was the day of the cabaret. We enjoyed watching the performances of different delegations and some of their traditional dances. We were a bit afraid of Luis getting a heart attack… puh, but then fortunately it was showtime. We danced and gave our best! Hannes scared nearly everyone with his Rammstein performance, Max and Siim played Hulk and showed their muscles while carrying Jessie and Alejandra (she even lost her shoes on stage). WorldMUN Socials are the best evidence for showing that politics and diplomacy is not just business and is not bourgeois but that it connects people, leads to new friendships and unites cultures.
After a week of challenging and emotional debates WorldMUN 2017 came to its end. We all headed to the beautiful Montreal Symphony House where the Closing Ceremony took place. All around the hall delegates were showing the flags of their home countries and gathering up eagerly awaiting the award procedure to begin.
The Closing Ceremony started and Parijat, the Secretary General, gave his welcome speech and the official staff underlined their satisfaction with the conference. The Resolution Fellowship awards were handed out, these are prices for special social commitment shown by WorldMUN participants. Natalie Stasiewicz, one of our friends of the Heidelberg delegation won an award for her project of inclusive music program for teenagers 14-17 from different social and educational backgrounds to learn about music and themselves by writing and creating rap together.
Finally, the time for the event’s highlight has come: The award ceremony. Committee after committee was presented and the Under-Secretary Generals of each committee were calling the winners. The whole delegation was very excited when the Kingdom of the Netherlands was announced as we had won a diplomacy award in SOCHUM. Hannes’ and William’s reactions who were our delegates in this committee were divided. While William was clearly joyful, Hannes -who had decided before that WorldMUN 2017 would be his very last MUN conference- was disbelieving. Another reason to cheer was Max’ and Siim’s success in the NATO. For their great performance there, they were rewarded with a verbal recommendation.
The ceremony came to its end when Parijat declared WorldMUN 2017 as officially closed. Cheers Montreal, you were an unforgettable experience. We’re already exited to find out the next city to host Harvard WorldMUN in 2018.