Harvard Model Congress Asia, Hong Kong
On 8th January 2015, fourteen Year 6 members of the Senior High International and Strategic Affairs Council, along with teachers Mr Tan Chien Huah and Ms Tan Chien Ming, gathered in the wee hours before dawn to embark on a trip to Hong Kong in order to partake in the annual Harvard Model Congress, Asia (HMCA). HMCA was jointly organised by both Harvard University and Hong Kong University (HKU), where the latter also served as its host venue. The air was charged with anticipation as we welcomed the following five days together with the first of many group selfies at the airport and awaited our imminently exciting time at the conference.
HMCA entailed the assumption of roles as delegates in model United Nations conferences or simulated Congress sessions representing countries or individual American politicians respectively. The three-day conference saw us gathering the strength and audacity to step forth and engage in active debates, lobby for support and craft bills or resolutions in an attempt to address pertinent global and American-domestic issues. HMCA further gave us an invaluable opportunity to interact with undergraduates from Harvard, as well as fellow delegates from Canada, Indonesia, Hong Kong and South Korea. Moreover, we developed an in-depth understanding of the challenges and intricacies of modern-day governance as a crucial aspect to such conferences is negotiating compromise in order to pass vote-required solutions.
These achievements presented themselves tangibly in the five Outstanding Delegate accolades attained by Ong Si Hui Olivia (156YC34), Chu Kwok Ren Darek (15Y6C35), Song Lu Yi (15Y6C35), Doo Chi Yin Genevieve (15Y6C44) and Low Yan Lin (15Y6C45) from the National Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the National Governors Association, the Senate for Environment and Public Works as well as the G24 councils respectively. While we have cause to celebrate, we remain humbled by the reminder that the intrinsic value of our reward from HMCA lies not in these awards but rather in the three-day process that has evoked a genuine appreciation for global and American politics. In this regard, the daily evening debrief sessions were critical in helping us capture the salient learning points we picked up during the course of the conference.
Our light-hearted fun vested itself in HMCA’s social night, where our inner party animals were released to enjoy disco-style dancing and other Oriental-themed activities, along with our exploration of Hong Kong. All of this provided us with the chance to experience the local culture in Hong Kong and advance our understanding of the city’s origins and current status. At the heart of this trip laid an increased awareness of ourselves, the people we spent these five days with and the larger international community. Undeniably, this trip has left us with enough memorable experiences to kick start our rigorous academic year with joy and gusto.