The excitement for Harvard WorldMUN started very early —one could even argue too early— this year, as the selection workshop held in November motivated MUN Mannheim’s members to put on a fiery debate that took place on campus and left a little less than 20 victorious delegates ready to represent the society at Harvard WorldMUN in Madrid.
Holding Harvard WorldMUN 2019 in Madrid was certainly an interesting decision. While the city’s excellent public transit system made going to the conference and to different socials an easy feat, it just doesn’t help that the location of the city was decided upon by a king randomly deciding to build a city in the exact centre of Spain. Accordingly, one could claim that the city lacks the historical aspect just a little bit.
Nevertheless, MUN Mannheim delegates made a point of exploring all the city has to offer, from queueing up hours upon hours to enter the Prado Museum to taking a cablecar across the river to a nearby mountain. Doing as the Spaniards do, it was also a nice opportunity to feast on tapas and sangria every single day (at least). All in all, the awesome spirit of our society members, supported by the excitement of attending such a spectacular event, made for a very enjoyable trip to the capital of Spain.
Around a week before the conference, WorldMUN’s social media outlets started posting the speakers of the opening ceremony one by one, building up a lot of excitement. It started with the Mayor of Madrid, which was impressive enough, before a great number of relevant ministers were announced, much to the amusement of first-time attendees, but one can certainly say that the announcement that the King of Spain, Felipe VI, was going to hold the keynote speech took everyone by surprise and made them all look forward to a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The opening ceremony was a very palatable event with very inspiring speeches, notably the one of the head of the local host team, meanwhile some were more relaxed and laid-back. The speech of King Felipe VI was quite inspiring, straight to the point and reflected immaculate eloquence in the English language and a modern mindset. The speeches were accompanied by a short classical music concert and, of course, a traditional flamenco show.
As one would expect from a conference with almost 2,000 delegates, debate in sessions was not exactly “cozy” and required a lot of effort and, politely expressed, “lobbying skills”. The multicultural background of the attendees made for an interesting debate, but also meant that different understanding and perspectives of MUN collided, to the point that sometimes hindered debate.
If one would look at the positive side of this, however, one would quickly notice that Harvard WorldMUN can be a great lesson in lobbying and real diplomacy, beyond the scope of a debate club and truly to the point where mobilising other delegations required utilising some psychological influence.
The highlight of every WorldMUN, even for very serious delegates, has to be the six social events organised for Harvard WorldMUN. It’s a fantastic opportunity to make friends from literally all over the world and get to experience the different sides of the nightlife scene in another city.
As the Harvard WorldMUN tradition goes, Monday night was dedicated to Global Village, where the multiculturalism of the conference could truly be appreciated as booths displayed the local culture and the local food (and drinks!) of the respective delegations. The fact that the event casually took place in the town hall of Madrid did not make it less boring!
Of the following nights, most delegates would most probably not be able to give an accurate account of the night, which -itself- is an indicator of the quality of the socials. My personal favourites, however, have to be Cabaret Night and the Farewell Party, both held in very impressive clubs of diverse natures.
Almost as magical as the entire experience itself had to be the 2,000-odd delegates singing together to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody as the song randomly played just before the closing ceremony started. As one felt the sadness of this experience ending and post-MUN depression almost kicking in, one could just forget all about it and sign alongside 2,000 like-minded young people.
As professional as the speeches were intended to be, the emotional level of bidding farewell to the people and the experience was the elephant in the room, taking over most of the speeches by USGs, the Secretary- General and the Director General.
All in all, Harvard WorldMUN was unquestionably an immaculate experience that every MUNer just has to experience at least once. To think that it would be academically enriching would be somewhat deceiving, at least for most, but WorldMUN is unexplainably unique and just worth the hassle of fighting to get a place in the Mannheim delegation and flying to wherever it’s held.