With 1600 attendees, including 200 faculty advisors, from 150 schools across India participating, one can safely say that the 8th edition of the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) India 2018 was a success!
A platform that gives students the ability to solve problems, visualise solutions, and think on their feet, this four-day international relations simulation is held annually in Hyderabad.
With a specific theme each year, this conference pushes students to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems in the real world. This year’s theme was ‘Act to Impact.’
The theme pushed delegates to convert what they learn in committees into real-world initiatives in their communities. Beginning with public discourse, HMUN India 2018 emphasised on the importance of translating dialogue into real action in order to improve the state of our world.
At the core of this conference’s theme was a focus on the impact that participants can have beyond the conference.
The conference saw the presence of many change makers who have truly made an impact and work towards bettering society.
Sampreeth Reddy, CEO of Worldview Education, the organisation that puts together this conference, said, “HMUN India and the success of the ‘Act to Impact’ initiative has filled us with optimism towards our mission to transform Gen-Z into a ‘Generation of Solvers’. The submissions that we received from delegates, who used their knowledge and skills from the Model UN to build impactful projects within their communities, were meaningful and inspirational.”
“These high school students were quite emphatic while expressing their belief that change has to be organic and led by individuals and that our problems can’t be outsourced to the government and authorities.”
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Shaida Mohammed Abdali, the former Afghan Ambassador to India and non-resident Ambassador to Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal.
‘The Leadership Forum’ saw the participation of former ISRO chairman, A S Kiran Kumar; Assistant Secretary General, FICCI, New Delhi, Shobha Mishra Ghosh – ; Prof Sharon Barnhart of FLAME University; Coca-Cola Corporate Affairs Vice President of India, Ishteyaq Amjad; Director of Corporate Affairs in Coca-Cola, Chandramohan Gupta, among others.
Kiran Kumar, after attending the conference and seeing the calibre of the delegates attending, said, “For addressing problems whose nature we do not know and how solutions can be found for these problems, we need to prepare the current generation as to how to address and solve these problems.”
“This process is very important since we do not have any idea of what tomorrow’s problem will be.”
On this year’s theme, he said, “Act to Impact is very essential. No amount of discussion will make a difference unless we translate our thoughts into implementational action. In this context, this year’s theme for the conference will make a huge difference to the students who are participating.”
“We have to make planet Earth a sustainable place and this can happen only when we realise that how things are happening today will not make it sustainable,” said Kiran Kumar.
The ‘Act to Impact’ curated panel was very well received and saw participation from D Suresh, Sustainable Homes; Tiger Conservationist Hans Dalal; and Abhishek Agarwal of PAPPCO.
Translation of the theme into action
Lusha Jetley from Sanskriti School, New Delhi is making a positive impact through her initiative, the ‘Wonder Woman Project’.
She says, “The objective of the project is to promote safer menstrual hygiene practices and safe reproductive health among women”.
She conducts awareness camps on reproductive health and promotes the use of reusable sanitary napkins. She also went on to add that “All the information and tools are now accessible to us and on our individual levels, we can go about making a change because that is what ends up making the biggest impact. I don’t believe that some governmental policy can solve the issues that the world is facing. I think it needs to be small, local and organic and that is how we start fostering change,”
In line with the theme of the conference, ‘Act to Impact’, Riya Kulkarni from Podar International School, Sangli is sewing her way to sustainable development with her project.
She says, “Plastic bags have been banned in Maharashtra. But the cost of cloth and paper bags are high because of which shopkeepers are suffering tremendously”.
She aims to conduct a workshop for tribal women to teach them how to make cloth bags at a lesser cost for promoting sustainability and to encourage financial independence for these women.
The next Harvard Model United Nations conference is the one held annually in Boston, USA, in January. Interested students can reach out to Worldview Education for participation.
With this year’s conference seeing much success, the organisers are already gearing up for a bigger and better 9th edition of Harvard Model UN India which will be held in August next year.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)
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