Yalda Mauj ’19 recently attended the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) in Boston. She was one of over 3000 students from all around the world who applied and were accepted to participate in this annual event which challenges the attendees to research and discuss real-world problems with the goal of creating applicable solutions. The following is a description of HMUN from their website:
At HMUN, delegates gain insight into the workings of the United Nations and the dynamics of international relations by assuming the roles of UN representatives and members of other international bodies and national cabinets. HMUN is an exciting opportunity for students to debate issues that confront world leaders and to draft resolutions in response to these global issues. Participants will develop their abilities to work with others who are equally motivated and passionate about the topics of debate and to respond to global concerns.
Yalda’s assignment was to represent Canada as a member of the Organization of American States in 2024. The group was tasked with addressing drug cartels that had originated in Paraguay and were gradually spreading to other parts of the world. Yalda didn’t have a lot of background knowledge about Canada or drug cartels, so she did a lot of research and printed out a lot of important documents and information in order to prepare for her role. The situation was dynamic and meant to mimic how these issues play out in real time, so over the course of the three day conference, the group was presented with new challenges and had to react to ever-changing conditions. They spent their time involved in formal discussions and debates which were moderated by Harvard students and the ultimate goal was to propose resolutions which garnered support from the majority of the group.
Yalda really enjoyed her time at HMUN and learned a great deal about how the UN works and the issues that UN officials are currently facing and trying to solve. She recently reflected, “I gained confidence in speaking publicly and learned how to discuss complicated issues in a diplomatic way.” Yalda met students from all over the world, but was struck by the fact that she was the only student from Afghanistan. She believes that there are many diligent and intelligent students from her country who would have a lot to offer at an event like this and her goal is to use her experience to try and help create the same opportunities for others in the future.