Jamaican Students Take on Harvard

Beyond pristine waters and  rhythmic culture, boasts an aura of excellence and  tenacity seen in our young people. These attributes were portrayed when the University of the West Indies Model United Nations team, dominated on an international scene at the Harvard Model United Nations Competition from February 13-16, 2020 in Boston, USA.

The team consisted of  Sayeed Bernard and Sandre Rhoden, (who were the head delegates in charge),  Leah Taylor, Michka Williams, Jordan Ogilve, Tamoy Campbell, Matthew Mcttayle, Ronaldo Blake, Ronaldo Richards and Jamaïq Charles. 

The students study an array of disciplines from: Law, International Relations, Business and Sciences, Economics and Geography.

However, over the course of  a week they were transformed into delegates and were an elan  of formidability, confidence and astuteness all representing different delegations/countries in various committees.

For those who may not know, Model United Nations is a simulation experience of what the United Nations and its bodies actually does. It allows for students at either a collegiate or secondary level to interact with global issues, immerse themselves into the world of diplomacy as they work to create policies, exciting debates about the future of the world in their respective committees. The Harvard MUN is an international competition which featured over 100 universities and colleges, from over 34 countries this year. Even featuring many Ivy Leagues and renowned schools that we hear about: Yale, Georgetown and the list goes on. However, the UWI Mona Team was never daunted and were embolden with the knowledge and temperament to cop five out of the seven awards that can be conferred on individuals. 

Simply Superb!

The team was divided into co-delegations (pairs) and single delegations. The co-delegations were: Ronaldo Richards and Michka Willams who represented the delegation of India in the Futuristic General Assembly. The pair debated the Refugee crisis that has been promulgated due to the ecological massacre that has taken place. 

Additionally, Ronaldo Blake and Jordan Ogilve represented the delegation of Bulgaria. This power combination tackled the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), presenting on draft resolutions on Collective Defense Sharing.

Furthermore, Sandre Rhoden ( head delegate) and Leah Taylor cemented their presence in the League of Arab States committee as they represented the delegation of Syria. A country ravaged by war, destruction and clawing for stability, was simply the topic these two had to grapple with. They proved their mettle in their debates, presentations and the fruits of their labour was evidenced when they were individually awarded: “The Most Outstanding Delegate” Award.

The duo-dynamics were embellished with Sayeed Bernard and Tamoy Campbell commanding the European Union committee, all while representing the voices and concerns of the Republic of Cyprus. The two debated the issue of a Common Security Defense Policy and were writing the narrative for the future of Europe. 

An intricate and meticulous issue sprinkled with the Migration Crisis, Nuclear armament, common army or no common army. It was a full course meal but Tamoy and Sayeed had the appetite for it, so much so they copped “The Most Outstanding Delegate '' Award, which is the second highest award that can be conferred on individuals.

The sublime performance, articulation and erudition of these co delegations are indicative of the arduous training, preparation and self belief these young minds possess. 

In that same breath, a singular character in a room with more than 50 delegates, is the battle that Jamaïq Charles had to face. His committee was the World Trade Organization representing Cyprus. Charles however, had to infuse that with the issue of Climate Change and balancing profitability and environmental safety.

However, imagine doing all these debates, making verbose speeches and wielding influence committee sessions alone? Well, Matthew Mcttayle is the master of this. Matthew represented the delegation of Bulgaria, and with his emphatic and Martin Luther-esque presence secured the “ Diplomatic Commendation” Award. He tackled the issue of Crime Prevention especially combating  Cyber attacks. 

Although the team killed it at the competition, the journey to get there was nothing but arduous. This is where the head delegates, Sandre Rhoden and Sayeed  Bernard, had to broaden their obligations. These young men led the team, by facilitating training, coaching, even going as far as being emotional cheerleaders whenever the confidence waxed thinned. They were coaches, competitors, teammates, confidants, mentors and administrators. From even ensuring that the flights were booked, that the team was safe were tasks that had to be done. 

The team trained every Friday for more than three hours, including self training, meeting during the week with their partners, video calling and doing constant research. All this was also overseen by the faculty advisor Mr Glenville Mcleod. Training was more than knowledge and competence, but pushing the raw talent to another level while engendering discipline and accountability. Sending in submissions or assignments late could cost you your space on the team, so the members had to sharpen up, and be committed even to small tasks.

The team endured the cold of Boston, beauty of the city, made global friends and memories to last a lifetime.

Above all, gratitude must be extended to the University of the West Indies for sending these students and making this a reality each year. Your unwavering support helped these prodigies to shine and achieve. 

The UWI Mona team came, saw and conquered Harvard, made Jamaica proud and above all….they slayed. Congrats!


-- Tamoy Campbell



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