HMCE Online: A Great (Virtual) Learning Experience!

Anouk Maman, 3ème EA

Harvard Model Congress Europe (HMCE) is a government simulation conference run by undergraduates at Harvard College. It’s a global conference where international high school students play the roles of officials in the US government and different international bodies, debating current domestic and international issues.

This year’s conference took place via zoom and I was excited to join with students from across the world including Greece, Spain and Canada. I took on the role of Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, in the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss NSA (National Security Agency) Surveillance in the US. Unsurprisingly, our debates centred on the conflict between national security and individual privacy.

I must admit that 7-8 hours of debate on zoom, over one weekend, didn’t sound very appealing at first. But, honestly, it turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had this year. The key to enjoying the conference, and to feel satisfied once it’s over, is to participate throughout the two days. The more you do so the easier it gets. Most of the other students are already quite experienced so it can be intimidating at first, but the people there were so nice and welcoming. Even making a small contribution was always appreciated by the Chairs.

Overall, HMCE 2021 was a great learning experience. It allowed me to gain more confidence in my public speaking and negotiation skills. I also learnt a lot from conducting my own research to build my own opinions on the topic, as well as to see the situation from the perspective of the Republican senator I was representing.

So, if you are thinking of signing up for next year’s conference, I highly recommend it! After all, HMCE 2021 was my first ever conference and I still managed to get an “honourable mention”, which proves that anyone can do it!

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