Kick-Off Weekend 2008

A five day long conference – everyday sessions in committees consisting of almost 400 delegates debating issues of current global policy.

“At first glance the imagination to participate successfully seemed to be a dream”, remembers Sarah Abelen.

But already after the first meeting of our team responsible for the preparation regarding the contents this dream became more realistic. Our preparation schedule for the following eight months was challenging. Soon we all knew that our next semester will be centered on different aspects of such a conference.

“Point of order”, “motion for a caucus”, “point of personal privilege” – an important task was to internalize the rules of procedure. We first learned intensively the right way to rise a “point of parliamentary inquiry” (the possibility to ask the chair during conference about the rules of procedure). But after several different simulations and discussions regarding the procedure of Harvard World Model United Nations it didn’t even bother us when Harvard changed some rules right before the conference.

Another vital aspect of our preparation was to improve our knowledge about current developments and issues of global politics as well as our English and representing skills. We trained to improvise speeches, criticized our filmed orations during simulations and could improve our appearance as well as our knowledge regarding pivotal questions of world politics as the crisis in Congo and Darfur, the drug trafficking in South America or the world economic crises.

These days and nights of training did also weld us together. In addition to our every week meetings we spent five training weekends near Munich – Birthday parties, Indonesian food, ping pong and lots of chocolate sweetened our challenging project.

In January we then finally got assigned the country we should represent – Lebanon!

Besides preparing the respective topics discussed in our committees, we concentrated an entire weekend on Lebanese history, culture, society, religions, economics, foreign and domestic policies. Visiting the Lebanese embassy in Berlin generated the crowning conclusion of our preparation. We tasted Arab tea and coffee, got first-hand information about the internals of Lebanese policies, the relationship between Hezbollah and other members of the current government as well as resulting problems in representing Lebanon within the United Nations. After two hours Mr. Hadi Hachem took leave of us with the characteristic summarization: “If you ask, how would be the Lebanese position – I must say: I don’t know!”

Hard work and lots of comical situations – we certainly know each other well after these intensive months. Representing Lebanon successfully in The Hague was not a distant dream any more. We looked forward to our goal, convinced that we were going to have a great time!