Harvard Model Congress Europe: Expectations vs. Reality

By Tiphaine Gentil

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to participate in a model Congress, run by some of the world’s brightest university students? Harvard Model Congress Europe has the answer.

Every year, many of La Tour’s Anglophone Section students from 3e to 1ère are given the chance to take part in this event. The congress is run by the students from the Harvard Model Congress Club at Harvard University. Over the weekend of March 15-18 in Madrid, Spain, 23 students from the Anglophone Section took on the roles of senators or House representatives in one of the domestic program committees or a country delegate an international committee. Whatever the role, for students, this experience is as stressful as it is eye-opening.

Mixed feelings about one’s preparation, the fear of public speaking, the fear of not being good enough can haunt students before going on the trip, because, let’s face it; speaking in front of hundreds of people about topics concerning some of the world’s greatest issues is not an easy task to do. Prune Moreau and Iris Noble are two Premiere Anglophone Section students who went on this trip for the first time. It so happens that they were in the same committee, the World Health Organization, which was an advantage for them because they were able to prepare together. They also got lots of help from Mr. Benjamin Slade, the Anglophone Section teacher who organizes the trip. To be as prepared as possible, students must thoroughly research their topics, read their committee briefings, and prepared papers with the positions of the countries which they are tasked with representing on the issues of their committee. Most choose to take part in this trip because it is different from anything they have ever experienced before, and most students expressed excitement over the chance to meet new people and to learn new things.

However stressful and exciting this new experience can be, Athénaïs de Polignac, a 1EA student (who has already taken part twice in HMCE and who won the HMCE Award of Excellence last year), was eager to share her positive experience. Over a two-day period, she learned how to speak in public and about the basics of government policies. She also learned how to “take leadership as much as work within a group,” how to write bills, and how to convince her audience. She strongly recommends this course for anyone afraid of public speaking but who wishes to improve in that domain. The best way to enjoy the experience, according to Athénaïs, is to just let go of any kind of fear you may feel, and have fun.


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