Bridging Academia and Diplomacy—HNMUN 2017 from the Faculty Advisor’s Perspective

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Faculty Advisor Buba Misawa from Washington and Jefferson College, with his head delegate.

GARIMA KARIA, THE HINDU (Opinion/Other)

BOSTON: During Model UN conferences, we often get so caught up in our committees, our working papers, our blocs, our crisis arcs, and, quite frankly, ourselves, that those who have taken the time guide us, mentor us, and advise us on a daily basis are sometimes forgotten. These people deserve the spotlight just as much as delegates do.

If you hadn’t guessed, these individuals are our Faculty Advisors (FacAds). In between writing articles for the Press Corps, I took the time to approach and chat with a few Faculty Advisors here at HNMUN this year, and ask them what being such an integral part of this conference means to them.

I stopped Andres Quesada in the 3rd floor hallway and he graciously accepted my request to ask him a few questions. I learned that this is his second year at HNMUN, and that he is from Peru. I asked him how, in his opinion, HNMUN provides an academically enriching experience for the delegates that attend the conference, and their faculty advisors as well. In response, Mr. Quesada told me that he loves meeting new people and new friends at conferences like these, as well as travelling to new places! “You meet people from around the world and debate lots of different topics,” he said. “That’s very valuable.” When asked what advice he gives to all delegates at HNMUN, his answer was simple: “Never back down.”

Next, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Sitarahman, Clark University’s FacAd. He has been accompanying his students to HNMUN for a decade and a half! That’s almost as old as I am! For Sitarahman, HNMUN provides an academically enriching experience for delegates be

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Clark University’s FacAd, Mr. Sitarahman, reading the news between committee session

cause it “makes them conscious of their ability to articulate their thoughts on matters that are important in a dynamic environment.” He went on to tell me that he values the meaningful debate that his students have the opportunity to engage in as a result of attending HNMUN. “They get to interact with students from 80-90 countries. That’s an amazing experience that they get right here in Boston. And it’s not just any interaction… they’re talking about cool topics like space, security, and intelligence. It’s great for them now, and for their future professional endeavors.” To his students, he says, “it’s challenging to be here, especially in GAs. It’s nerve-wracking, and adults feel that way too.” He tells them to “keep at it, be prepared, and be conscious of what they are saying and doing.”

 

 

 

Next, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Buns Rachman from Indonesia! He is an HNMUN alumnus, having been a delegate himself in 2010 and now a FacAd. When asked what HNMUN provides his students from Indonesia, past and present, he said it “broadens their horizons… They used to only think of opportunities in Indonesia, but now they can network with people in the same discipline and access new opportunities as well.” He also told me that his University made a questionnaire for alumni that attended HNMUN, and, thanks to that form, he is proud to say that 70% of students said attending HNMUN helped them get their first jobs!

For Buba Misawa from Washington and Jefferson College, HNMUN’s value and academic experience is provided in three ways. First, it’s a “great way to gain an academic understanding of the UN system.” Second, “it’s a challenging environment.” And third, “it’s inspirational for students because it’s run by other students!” Mr. Misawa strongly believes in the UN system and the way this conference embodies it, which is why he’s been coming back to HNMUN every year since 1995! To his students, and all delegates at the conference, he says, “Be confident, and stay competitive.”

Finally, I had the chance to catch the terrific trio of Sara, Julio, and Juan, three FacAds and friends from Venezuela. They’ve been coming to HNMUN for four years, starting as delegates, and returning together as FacAds. Juan values his HNMUN experience because 70% of his best friends are from the delegations he’s been a part of every year in Boston. He’s shared valuable thoughts with all of them every year, and, to him, HNMUN is all about the people he has met. Julio echoes this sentiment in saying “it’s not all about competition. It’s about the cultural exposure that our delegates get at this conference. It’s so rich, and so much more than just MUN.” To end the interview, Sara sends this message to her delegates: “Enjoy the nine months of preparation. That’s the most important part. This may seem like a roller coaster ride to you, but use that preparation as a guide while you explore this city and live the authentic HNMUN experience.”

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Julio, Juan, and Sara: from HNMUN delegates to FacAds… and friends throughout.

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