Bertrachtung

By GIANINA SCHWANECKE, DER SPIEGEL (opinion)

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Today marks the close of the 63rd session of the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) conference. Today delegates will learn whether or not their lobbying, negotiating and debating skills will see the success of their resolution.

The routines of the morning seem straightforward — delegates consume caffeine to compensate for the delegate dance the night before, find their seats and prepare for the final round of voting on yesterday’s amendments.

Some delegates here are seasoned pros and navigate procedure with ease. For some it is the last time they will attend. For others, bright eyed, excited from the weekend’s activities and already counting down the days until the 64th iteration, this is just the start.

For the last time, delegates entered the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) committee room which they have largely called home over the past four days. They streamed in, chatting about the past evening’s festivities and their plans for after the conference.

Debate resumes with three amendments leftover from the night before. Snaps ring out in support of what the current speaker is saying and my reflection is momentarily disrupted. Our committee group is smaller and today the atmosphere is one of support — a contrast to the competitive edge which characterized many committees over the last few days as delegates fought to have their voices heard and make their views known.

Now they work together, making strides towards a more equal world. The CSW passes both resolutions in a show of faith. Not mutually exclusive, both resolutions work to address different aspects of gender inequality and female empowerment.

Addressing the theme of gender equality, the room reflects on the lessons we can learn from our time in the CSW, and I find myself snapping as the dais states “A win for one woman is a win for all women’’. The conference offers delegates an opportunity to reflect on where they come from, learn more about other delegations and the processes which shape the world around us.

We may be far from achieving gender equality in the real world, but in the Tremont Room, delegates have put aside their differences to work together and address violence against women.

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