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March 18, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Students debate at mock UN

HARVARD Model United Nations, the oldest, largest, and most prestigious simulation of how the UN works for high school students, launched its second China summit in Shanghai yesterday.

More than 1,300 high school students and teachers from 40-plus countries and regions including Japan, India and the United States will participate in the four-day conference.

The first HMUN China was held in Beijing last year. It was also the first time HMUN was hosted by an Asian city.

"People need not only intellect and a nimble tongue but also determination, integrity and patience. But in my view, the most crucial quality is empathy," said Chris Wurzel, Deputy US Consul General in Shanghai, at the opening ceremony.

All the delegates lowered their heads in a moment of silence for the earthquake and tsunami disaster after the only Japanese high school delegation expressed confidence that authorities in their country will properly deal with the catastrophe.

"We feel very lucky to be here when we learned another high school in Tokyo failed to make it due to the nuclear crisis," said Alice Kenney, who led a team of six teenage girls.

Following Japan's earthquake and nuclear crisis, current issues such as nuclear proliferation and how the international community should respond to natural disasters will be discussed in the HMUN disarmament and international security committee.

The committee will be conducted by Ben Philipson from Harvard University.

The event drew mostly elite high school students from across the world, some of whom dream of becoming diplomats and future leaders.

"It was very nice to see faces of directors from Harvard, and I hope to improve my speaking skills here because I want to be a business person in the future," said Venhat Chalasani, a student from India.

As one of the fastest growing economies, China provides an exciting backdrop for fresh outlooks in committee debates.

Shanghai in particular provides participants a unique perspective into China's rich cultural history and recent economic growth, according to the organizer.

The Chinese conference committee consists of students from Harvard University with WEMUN China co-hosting the event.


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