From Brussels to Barcelona: a crazy kind of wonderful

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In what has to be one of my favorite parks: Parc Guell

There aren’t that many words I could aptly use to describe the Harvard World Model United Nations (MUN) team–or perhaps there are too many. As we bid one of our members goodbye at the airport in Barcelona, I could begin to grasp what this week has meant to me. On the one hand, maybe it’s not hard for a group of 20 odd 20-somethings who are traveling to a foreign country and designing an international Model United Nations conference to bond, but on the other, the variety of experiences and back stories each of us individually brought to this year’s World MUN made for an unlikely combination. My teammates between Boston, Brussels, and Barcelona are people whom I would most likely not have met at Harvard otherwise.

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The team at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

And sure, I was flabbergasted at times as I heard a mix of languages from French to Dutch to German filling the air around me, or just downright confused as I tried to navigate new streets in a foreign city without the luxury of google maps loading on my wifi-less phone, but at the end of the day, I remembered that it’s all about the people, not the place. The people that I lugged boxes upon boxes of materials into a palace with, the ones that I stayed up all night with before showing up in our committee rooms on time the next morning, the ones I shared the dance floor with, and the ones I joined to cross oceans and policy gaps in the span of one week–these are the people of WorldMUN 2014.

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I wrote in my previous post that I had participated in Model UN in both middle and high school, but even serving on Secretariat during my junior and senior years back then cannot compare to the experience that was this conference. I emerged extremely proud of my delegates in INTERPOL (the International Criminal Police Organization) and the work they did to combat organ trafficking in committee. After all, the students are the reason we run this conference, and as I looked around my committee room and saw the delegate from Pakistan in fervent discussion with the delegate from Spain or the interactions between students from France and Venezuela, I felt blessed to have a smattering of perspectives from around the world represented in our room–they couldn’t have known how much they were teaching me even as I wielded the gavel as their chair.

This was also a week when I wore many hats.

From being team mom when the boys forgot to tie their shoelaces (yes, it still happens) or needed some urging as we left one meeting for another,

To being the waitress as the bewildered staff in Barcelona didn’t know what to do with a crowd of 20 at a tapas restaurant, requiring me to whip out my Spanish and my organizing skills,

To being tour guide as we navigated the streets of one of Spain’s most beautiful cities in order to see La Sagrada Familia and Guadí’s village,

To being the head of INTERPOL as I worked with my assistant chairs from MUN Society Belgium to direct the best committee we could,

To being roommate, sister, friend and more than anything else,

A new and fearless Harvard WorldMUN-er.

WorldMUN is truly an experience unlike any other, and if I could wear that hat again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

And now, with spring break having ended, I’m headed back to Boston with the team before I return to the Sierra Madre and Mexico!

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