In February 2020, eight UCD students represented the university in the 67th session of the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN). The delegates stepped into the role of decision makers, negotiating on major international crises and subjects. UCD was well represented, with a mix of experienced HMUN negotiators and new-joiners. The delegates spoke on the topics of climate change and the threat of a future refugee crisis (Matthew Shiel and William O’Brien), legal topics (Síofra Brady and Ellen Groom), security and disarmament (Harry Curley and Ciaran Soden) and economics and finances (James O’Connor and Orlaith Barry). Ran by the UCD Investors and Entrepreneurs Society and sponsored by Arthur Cox, the delegates travelled to Harvard to take part in the event between January 30th and February 2nd. 

Having registered in early 2019, the UCD delegates had less than one year to prepare for their respective topics. One would think that’s time aplenty, but, as delegate Matthew Shiel explained to the College Tribune, ‘’drafting resolutions for such complex problems requires countless hours of not only research but brainstorming and debating. There was never a time when I felt I had thought of every point of view or angle to take when drafting potential resolutions’’.

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Matthew Shiel representing UCD at the 2020 Model United Nations

The first stage of the programme is the preparatory phase, where the teams must research and become knowledgeable in their prescribed areas. According to Matthew, he “found it the most intimidating part! Despite months of research, the best preparation came from the last minute bouncing of ideas off each other on the plane’’. Starting research early can give you a competitive edge over others, as it allows for the consideration of multiple problems, and thus solutions, which may present themselves during the negotiations. 

Síofra Brady, another delegate, told the College Tribune that her rationale to be involved was to gain an ‘’understanding of the political, economical and social events happening in countries dotted across the globe’’. From her experience in the programme, she recognises that having ‘’knowledge of other countries ameliorates our ability to interact with people from across the globe’’. 

UCD will be hoping to send another delegation of students to HMUN in 2021, and one can only imagine that an opportunity such as this would be beneficial to students. Applications for next year’s programme open in May 2020; from Matthew and Síofra’s insights and praises for the HMUN programme, becoming involved is not to be missed.


Alex Lohier – Deputy Editor