– By Ashley Stuart
In August 2015 I received a phone call from United Nations Youth New Zealand saying I had been selected to represent New Zealand at the Harvard Model United Nations in Boston.
From the 14 New Zealand university students selected, I was the only one from Canterbury, which gave me the opportunity to represent UC at the conference alongside 3000 students from all over the world.
I represented Norway in the Disarmament and International Security committee at the conference, discussing issues in the Middle East.
In addition to the Model United Nations conference at Harvard, we embarked on an educational study tour. We visited San Francisco, Washington DC and New York, which gave us the opportunity to meet diplomats, political advisors and non-governmental organisations, and to learn about international relations and diplomacy.
We met with Helen Clark at the United Nations Headquarters in New York; visited New Zealand Embassies in each city; had meetings at the World Bank, US Senate, US House of Representatives and Global Fund for Women; and visited significant historical landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial in D.C and 9/11 Museum in New York. We also spent an afternoon exploring Castro in San Francisco, which is where the LGBT movement began in the US.