An update from Brittany, a political science major who served on the Model U.N. Legal Committee:

Today the World MUN 2009 Conference in The Hague, Netherlands, officially opened its doors to thousands of eager delegates representing 190 countries. There was a feeling of anticipation and excitement in the air as we rode the #17 tram to the World Forum Conference Center. We arrived at the building, and I was astonished at the size and grandiose nature of the building.

As we went inside I was then struck, and honestly a bit overwhelmed, by the sheer numbers of delegates who had traveled all the way to Den Haag to simulate the United Nations process.

Opening speeches

We filed into the auditorium, where we would get to hear speeches and see what the conference held in store. We heard from Jozias van Aartsen, who is the mayor of The Hague. He told us that he held high hopes for the conference and was excited that it was being held in The Hague, the home of the Peace Palace and many international courts.

Then Ruud Lubbers, former Netherlands prime minister, gave an exciting speech about how to bring about change. At the end of his speech he held up a sign reading, “Yes you can!”

The Secretary General, who was from the host team of Harvard University, gave a speech about uniting all the countries of the world by remembering that we are all humans, and while we may have different lifestyles, we all together make up humanity.

Waving the flags

However, my absolute favorite part of the ceremony was when every country’s flag was brought out by delegates. The flags were waved around to music. It was such a symbol of hope and the anticipation of the cooperation of tomorrow that my breath caught and my eyes stung a bit. Maybe you had to be there, but it was quite a sight to behold.

The conference was then officially opened. Everyone began to talk to everyone else, and we met many people from many different countries. We also began to find people from our respective committees, and we discussed topic choices and our expectations for the coming days. This ceremony truly fostered a sense of comradeship, and I hope it lasts throughout the duration of the conference.