Positive results for the Ca’ Foscari students who took part again this year on an expedition to the Harvard Model United Nations, the simulation that reproduces how the United Nations work, taking place in Boston from 16th – 19th February.
The Ca’ Foscari students, for many of them this being their first experience of this activity, were successful in passing one of their motions, and were also quoted by Press corps, the official press authority that summarises the most important goings-on at MUN.
It was an experience that has left an impression on the ten Ca’ Foscari students, who were able to fly to the United States thanks to the scholarships provided by Ca Foscari’s International Office: “From the Opening Ceremony to the Closing Ceremony, there isn’t a moment of rest” – they explained to us – “the timetable is particularly strict and every lunch, break and dinner is a useful time to adjust the drafts and find compromises. It is a full experience, in which students tend to take very seriously, above all in light of the prizes given during the Closing Ceremony.”
Accompanied by researcher Sara De Vido from the Department of Economics as a faculty advisor, the complete immersion in a truly international environment has represented a useful “training ground” to confront their peers coming from other countries, and to refine the skills that they must quickly apply to the world of work. “At first it seemed difficult to have our opportunity to speak, but once we were entered into the mechanisms of it, we felt at ease to be where we were and being able to overcome the initial obstacles allowed us to acquire greater self-security” they explained. “The guided tour of Harvard and the exchanges with various students were also useful to understand how other foreign universities function: this certainly made us reflect on the potential of various exchange programmes abroad that Ca’ Foscari offers”.
What has resonated most with the Ca Foscari students was the huge amounts of preparation from the delegates from all over the world: “The majority of the other students have participated in MUN for many years and have dedicated a lot of time to preparation, whether that’s to do with content or on methods of public speaking. Furthermore, most of the students are native English speakers and thus manage to concentrate their emphasis and intonation to underline the main points of their own speeches, a very important aspect for working successfully as a delegate.”
In fact participating in this kind of simulation requires a specific type of preparation, that the Venetian students have acquired in part thanks to the laboratories promoted by the Internship Office and carried out by the NGO Venice Diplomatic Society, and could be reinforced by creating a specific course: “Talking to other students of the delegations who participated at MUN, we discovered that many universities offer actual courses on how to participate successfully in this type of experience. For example, they develop their public speaking abilities and study ways of writing UN resolutions or similar documents. In fact, during our experience, we realized that the content of an argument often takes a backseat in comparison to the way in which it is confronted and exposed.”
At the end of this adventure, what remains is the awareness that the each student's study programme could be enriched with experiences of this type, that prepare them to face the world that they will take part in in a few years time. “During the visit to the UN Headquarters we were moved by thinking about how one day we could be able to contribute to a better and collaborative world, where fundamental human rights are respected. We can only hope that HNMUN is just our starting point".