Students on the Harvard University Model UN trip to Boston last week found themselves caught up in history in the making.
After four days of Model UN simulations, 19 SAC students and three teachers adjourned from the successful proceedings on Sunday morning. It was then they witnessed a massive rally in Copley Square, as tens of thousands of protestors demonstrated against President Trump’s immigration ban.
Fatigue quickly gave way to an adrenalin rush for the three broadcast journalism students.
“It was the greatest display of democracy I've ever been involved in," says Tristan Tsvetanov ’17, who along with classmates Ben Schmidt and Ayo Ogunremi, filmed some of the action and interviewed protestors. They put together a video, as they feel it is important to share the protest with the SAC community.
The eventful trip began Thursday with a tour of Harvard University. The group then met up with Chris Egi ’14 after his basketball practice, and chatted with legendary coach Tommy Amaker. The Harvard men's team is in first place in the Ivy leagues, and Chris is a huge part of its success. He is also the team’s top student by average.
The group also had an opportunity to take a tour of the Freedom Trail, with stops and stories about colonial and revolutionary America such as Boston Common, Beacon Hill, and the re-telling of the Boston Massacre and Tea Party.
The Model UN portion began in earnest on Thursday evening, when the SAC delegation did three hours of preparatory committee work. The conference sees students sit alongside and collaborate with like-minded peers from 35 different countries including China, India, New Zealand, Korea, Pakistan, France, Brazil, and the UAE. Delegates attempt to solve some of the world’s greatest problems.
“Our boys managed to skillfully negotiate and effectively communicate their positions in hopes of advancing the interests of their adopted nation, Belgium,” said Jeff LaForge. He, Joe Commisso, and Courtenay Shrimpton accompanied delegates and serve as club advisors.
First-timers JP Schnabel, Ben Schmidt, Ayo Ogunremi, Jake Kim, Daniel Soetikno, Hale Lee, Thomas Kook, Graham Stanley-Paul, Riley Jackson, Zi Yu Han, Chris Yi, Melvin Maroon, Eric Asgari, and Jack Davies demonstrated tremendous resolve and learned on the fly alongside some of the world’s brightest secondary school students.
“Entering this arena for the first time can be very intimidating, but all of our boys did their best to immerse themselves in the issues of the day and contribute positively to their respective session,” said Mr. La Forge.
Riley Jackson and Alastair Binnendyk lobbied hard for Belgium’s interest in the Legal Committee, one of the conference’s largest groups. Veterans Trew Morris and Alexander Smith picked up where they left off last year, wheeling and dealing in the interests of passing meaningful resolution, as members of NATO and the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee respectively.
Special recognition went to the team of Tristan Tsvetanov and Michael Kurp, whose work as members of the European Union reflected their unrivaled preparation and thoughtful insight. With a conference total exceeding 3,000 delegates, recognition as “Outstanding Delegates” placed them in the top 3% of participants.
Tristan said he and Michael developed new security methods, data sharing between EU systems such as SIS, and created a new standardized economic policy throughout the EU. “Along with our solutions, we were faced with four different crises that had significant impact on our decisions.”
From Model UN simulations to on-the-spot journalism, it was a remarkable few days for our students.
Story by Cindy Veitch