Students in the St. Thomas University Model United Nations class gained valuable experience in public speaking and negotiation at the sixty-fourth Harvard National Model United Nations.

Representing the country of Iran, Philippe Ferland, Rachelle Patrick, Jarrod Ryan, Rachel Slipp, and Emilie Hanlon joined more than 3,000 delegates from around the world to participate in various committees to work toward resolutions of global issues.

Ferland and Patrick were part of the Arab League; Jarrod Ryan worked within the Economic and Financial Committee; Slipp’s involvement was on the Commission on the Status of Women; and Hanlon represented Iran on the World Health Organization.

Ferland, a fourth-year Psychology major, said the hands-on experience in negotiation and team-approach to creating working papers was invaluable.
 
“It’s very subtle and interesting and would be tough to simulate in a classroom because it’s something you have to be able to perform to really understand,” he said.

“Fifty per cent of the work teams do in committee is spent outside the committee room drafting working papers in collaboration with other countries and then negotiating mergers with other blocs.”

As a first-time delegate at the Harvard-hosted event, Ferland was surprised by the originality of the statements delivered by other countries. He said this was one aspect of the competition that was educational while also fostering creativity.

“Speeches maintained their own flair but also developed with the ongoing conversation, which depended completely on their skills as speakers in being able to adjust and work with the conversation topic,” Ferland said.

“People at HNMUN really showed us flexibility in performing duo speeches, having their personalities and words mimic those of historic leaders from their country, and just being extremely enthusiastic and charming.”
 
Faculty Advisor for the Model UN class at St. Thomas, Stephanie McAnany, said the students spent a great deal of time diving into their topics and learning about Iran’s foreign policy in preparation for the event in Boston. 

“The students are challenged by having to think quickly on their feet, speak in front of a large number of delegates, many of which are from ivy league schools in the United States, and become leaders within their own committees,” she said. 

Founded in 1955, the Harvard National Model United Nations is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious conference of its kind. STU has sent a team to the competition for over two decades.