In an historic first win for the College, sophomore International Studies major Parshva Bavishi delegated his way to a victory at the Harvard National Model United Nations Conference (HNMUN) Feb 12 to Feb 15.
Bavishi, president of both the College’s International Studies club and Model United Nations team, was awarded Outstanding Delegate on the fourth day of the conference at Harvard.
Bavishi said that the individual award “is the first of its kind in College history.”
“It’s a great start toward a long lasting legacy that the College can possibly have,” Bavashi said. “I am proud to have this award for the College since it puts the College on the collegiate circuit and brings back something (to campus).”
Model United Nations, according to Bavishi, is “a simulation of intense debate that mimics actual U.N. agencies as well as specialized agencies.” The program takes place at the middle school and high school levels as well as at the collegiate level.
Most delegates represent individual countries, and debate using that country’s historical perspective on world issues. Other delegates debate as historical ministers or personalities.
According to hnmun.org, the conference’s official Web site, HNMUN is a learning experience for students. “Through preparation for and participation (in the simulation), students develop expertise in research, writing, public speaking, and the art of negotiation as they fight for the interests of countries they represent.”
More than a dozen other students from the College participated in the conference. The team met every Wednesday from November to February preparing with Brian Potter, adviser of the club and director of International Studies.
“The conference at Harvard is the biggest national Model U.N. conference,” Bavishi said.
According to hnmun.org, nearly 3,000 college and university delegates from the United States and around the world attend every year. It was the 55th annual conference at Harvard.
Bavishi’s award for Outstanding Delegate was the result of an “intense” debate. He represented the Minister of Defense in the Soviet Presidium, which was taking place in 1953.
“This was a Crisis Simulation where our nine-person Cabinet, with top students around the world, were debating against two other Cabinets: U.S. and Iran,” he said. “We were given a Crisis every few hours that dealt with domestic and international issues.”
The College’s team participates every year in two conferences: HNMUN, in the spring and a similar conference that takes place at the University of Pennsylvania in November.
Bavishi’s award at Harvard was his first win at the collegiate level and the first award of its kind for the College. He has been participating in Model United Nations since middle school and was a part of three other collegiate-level conferences.
“I have been doing this for quite a while so the experience has definitely helped,” he said. “But being able to debate against students from other educational institutions who might possibly be in careers in global affairs pushed me harder.”
Beyond participation in the conferences, Bavishi said he wants the International Studies Club to expand.
“We are focusing now on getting a high school conference started as well as hosting events on campus,” he said.
As for his win, “It’s important for the College to start somewhere and with this win, the College can finally make a name for itself and expand its International Studies Club program,” Bavishi said. “This means more funding, participation, events and potentially (we may) become a dominant factor at these conferences.”