« Incredible, unforgettable, magical, unique, extraordinary » such are the adjectives chosen by the delegates of AixONU to describe what they had just lived ! In fact, through pure joy, social events, laughter, diplomacy, visit to the French Consulate in Madrid, cultural diversity and meetings with the King of Spain, … the AixONU 2018-2019 delegation will let you live through the 28th edition of Harvard WorldMUN again!
Everything began on Thursday, 14th March 2019, at Marignane airport. 11:50 a.m. 21 “sciencepistes” jump up and down with excitement. The long awaited day is finally upon them and the expedition finally begins. The stay in Madrid is divided between 4 days to explore the city and the 5 days of WorldMUN.
Having arrived at 1:30 p.m at “Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas”, our “sciencepistes” – seemingly becoming the Real Housewives of Madrid – are now facing the Madrilenian underground with packed suitcases close to 20kg. After this first trial, the delegation discovers the apartments which will become their HQ for 10 days. After some time mostly spent on buying groceries for the week, the AixONU team invites their protégés to the Lola 09 bar to properly celebrate the beginning of the trip !
The next morning, rendez-vous at the French Consulate ! For close to 3 hours, our diplomats in the making learn more about the various diplomatic jobs found in the Consulate and talk with the panel : business trips and the diffucilty of having a stable family life, how to access the different diplomatic careers, entrance exams, opportunities, placements, …
After a thrilling exchange, the hour has come to eat out. While some enjoy Spain and their mythic paellas, others prefer to stop at the famous Parque del Retiro to have a picnic. Ensue long days focused on tourism at an unbridled pace ! Between cultural visits to the Prado Museum (Las Meninas, Saturn Devouring His Son, The Garden of Earthly Delights, Tres de Mayo), the Reina Sofia Museum (Guernica), the Las Ventas bullring, the historical Plaza de Mayor and the shopping afternoons on the vast Gran Via – and who could forget the unavoidable Churros con chocolate of San Ginés – everyone had their fair share of fun ! Some even immerse themselves in the Spanish atmosphere by witnessing a football match between the Real Madrid and the Celta Vigo on the 16th of March – the day Zidane came back! – or by going to a Flamenco performance.
Afterwards, t-shirts, shorts and skirts are put aside to let costumes and suits in : the atmosphere of Harward WorldMUN overwhelms. Even though our “IEPiens” have high expectations, they are still baffled by their entry into the Palacio de Cibeles : immoderation, elegance, encounters, exchanges. No less than 1800 delegates from 113 countries attend the event !
The opening ceremony fills the delegates with wonder. Philarmonic orchestra and contemporary dance resonate in the heart of our “IEPiens” who gradually realise how lucky they are to witness and attend this event. Several high ranking political figures give speeches such as the Mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena: the President of the Community of Madrid, Ángel Garrido and the Spanish Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque.
Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. A horde of journalists bursts in followed by none other than the King of Spain ! For the closing speech of the opening ceremony, the King Philip VI urges the students to take an active role in politics to “change and improve the world”. On that note, the ceremony comes to an end. Our delegates are astounded: if the WorldMUN is on par with what they just witnessed, the week is sure to be an emotional rollercoaster ! The daily social events, organised by Harvard in the biggest Spanish nightclubs, are also promising.
Next morning at 9:30 a.m., the Aixois attend their respective committee sessions and meet their collegues. After a series of opening speeches, debates begin. It pretty becomes clear that the first-timers, and even their more experience collegues, are easily impressed: the level is very high and the delegation faces very experiences students coming from the best universities in the World (Oxford, West Point, Yale, …). Disconcerted, the Aix students are nevertheless determined to rise to the challenge and learn more in-depth how the United Nations work. In 6 hour sessions each day, debates become working papers which in turn become draft resolutions, with the aim of voting on a resolution for the committee.
After long sessions and debates, delegates relax during six social events organised by Harvard. Amongst the most memorable, how can we forget the Global Village or the Teatro Kapital. On Monday evening, at the Cibele Palace, the delegates – instructed to dress as the country they represent – go from stall to stall to discover the various dishes and beverages of each country. Wednesday night, the mood is completely different: Cabaret atmosphere in one of Europe’s biggest nightclub. Some delegations, including the Harvard team, come one after another to present splendid choreographies. Furthermore, the social events are an opportunity to meet the other participants in a laid back and festive setting !
At the end of a week filled with meetings, work sessions and social events, the 28th edition of Harvard WorldMUN ends with the closing ceremony. The atmosphere is joyful albeit a bit nostalgic. Before the ceremony, the delegates patiently wait while the organisers play some of the world’s finest music which makes the delegates sing, dance and makes them forget for a time that it is all about to end. The ceremony ends on a highlights video of the week. The message is beautiful: “the world needs dreamers who do” and, for a week, the delegates of AixONU where among those dreamers.
by Mathieu Favier