By TIA TUIBURELEVU, THE NEW YORK TIMES
In today’s profile edition, The New York Times had a chat with first time HNMUN delegate Saiprashant Reddy, representing Venezuela on United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), to discuss his experiences at the conference.
Mr. Reddy grabs a quick refreshment before heading back into the committee room for draft resolution voting.
Model United Nations, MUN, conferences can be an intimidating experience, especially when your delegate debut happens to be at the 62nd Harvard National Model United Nations- the oldest and most prestigious tertiary event in the world. But a lack of experience didn’t deter Saprishant Reddy, a Mechanical Engineering student from Kettering University, from getting involved.
“Are you sure you want to interview me, this is my first time!” he laughs whilst hurriedly trying to read a freshly printed draft resolution himself and other have been working on. “I’m still getting the hang of this thing, but it has been great so far.” We’re standing on the 4th floor of the Boston Plaza Hotel, a rather unsuitable spot for an interview as a gaggle of delegates run down the lobby, yelling at one another to sign a resolution. Mr. Reddy whips his head back and forth, slightly taken aback by the flurry before him. As a MUN first timer, the pace and vigour of an unmoderated caucus can be a lot to take in, but it’s all part and parcel with the experience.
His interest in MUN began in his freshman year at College where he was impressed by the intellectually stimulating environment of the student club. He felt he had finally found a group of like-minded students passionate about global affairs, debating and human rights. Although Mr Reddy is somewhat of an outlier from your stereotypical MUN student. He majors in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Business, far removed from the typical law and politics combination. His interest in MUN is less about a love of politics and more about learning the technicalities of negotiating, lobbying, and networking.
He’s found his experience in the UNHRC incredibly interesting so far, even though he hasn’t had as many opportunities to speak. In particular, Mr. Reddy was impressed, if slightly overwhelmed, by the amount of preparation other delegates have been putting in their draft resolutions. It’s the attention to the finer details – the wording of the clauses, the structure of the resolution, and the lobbying process that is most striking. “I didn’t think the other delegates were going to be this prepared and ready to whip out working papers right from the first session. I was kind of ready just to go with the flow and see how it gels, so that was unexpected.’ He certainly has no regrets about being thrown into the deep end. There’s certainly no better way to learn than through experience, and Mr. Reddy looks forward to hopefully speaking more at the 6th and final session.
When queried about what he’s got most out of the conference, he ponders for a few seconds. “That’s a tough one, there’s so much even in this committee alone. Overall I’d say it’s the opportunity to network and to meet people from all over the world who share a common interest. I like learning about their backgrounds and approach to politics. The experience of getting into a resolution and really putting your mind to it is so rewarding.”
Although he loves the intensity of the UNHRC, he’s still looking forward to the delegate dance tonight. ‘It’d be great to relax for a little, but I can’t wait to see how it comes together tomorrow.’ He’s barely finished his sentence when a fellow delegate opens the committee door, whispering for him to go back inside. “Looks like duty calls!” and with that he’s straight back into it.