Newcastle student represents Qatar and Lithuania at UN!

A former student of St Francis Xavier’s College shares her opportunity to broaden her outlook on the world.

At the beginning of 2016, my HSC year, I told myself this was the year to take up any amazing opportunities that came my way. I couldn’t continue to let anxiety limit my experiences, and so when the opportunity arose to travel to the United States as part of the 2017 “Harvard & Yale Model United Nations”, I grabbed it!

Post-HSC I began writing position papers and dusting off my debating skills to prepare, learning so much from the Crimson Education advisors. Crimson Education provides resources to assist students seeking entry to prestigious universities. In January I flew to San Francisco with 26 delegates from Australia and New Zealand.

Visiting Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia and New York Universities was wonderful, as was seeing the sights of San Francisco. The United Nations General Assembly Hall was a stirring and awe-inspiring place to be and a great precursor to our UN committee sessions.

In New Haven, Pennsylvania, we began our participation in Yale Model United Nations sessions. I was a member of the UN Special Committee on Drugs. For the next three days I represented Qatar and debated the issues of the global cocaine trade and the illicit sale and use of legal drugs. I worked closely with another young woman from China and we quickly became allies and friends. At the end of the week, the rest of the General Assembly and I had reached a resolution on what actions we believed should be taken in order to tackle these world issues.

Harvard Model UN involved some 3000 delegates from countries such as Korea, the Dominican Republic and Brazil and required me to work on speeches and draft resolutions.

While in Boston, we toured Harvard and attended a delegate dance and cultural extravaganza, a great opportunity to get to know our fellow delegates. I represented Lithuania on the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee. During the committee sessions we debated the issues of Mental Health in Crisis Zones and Human Population Control. The debates were lengthy, intense and incredibly rewarding. It was interesting to hear the opinions of other countries on these issues − except perhaps North Korea which kept restating, “North Korea has already abolished these issues, it’s now up to the other countries to fix it themselves.”

This experience gave me insights into international relations and the inner mechanisms of politics. Someone who struggled to raise her hand in class addressed a room of over 150 people and stood firm on her point of view!

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Olivia March Image
Olivia March

Olivia March is a past student of St Francis Xavier's College, Hamilton.

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