An update from Lauren, a junior political science and French/Russian major:

ModelUN4.jpg After a day of trying to recover from jetlag and exploring the exciting city that is Taipei, my fellow teammates and I awoke the next day excited for the opening ceremonies for World Model United Nations 2010.

The opening ceremonies at any ModelUN conference are always exciting because they mean that all of the preparation that you and your teammates have done is finally going to be utilized in an exciting and hopefully successful conference. But the WorldMUN opening ceremonies are rumored to be even more exciting, and this year the host country did not disappoint.

That afternoon, my teammates and I took the metro en route to the ceremony location, only to find that we were in the wrong place. After a bit of confusion, we finally arrived at the correct location to find ourselves pleasantly surprised and a bit in shock by the grandeur of our surroundings.

With beautifully groomed gardens and huge expansive plazas, the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall stood before us, with thousands of other international students entering its doors to watch the opening ceremonies. A memorial to the Republic of China’s founding father, Dr. Yat-Sen, the building exudes the nation’s Asian heritage and complex history, and I was honored to be standing before it.

As we were being escorted to our seats, I turned to my right to see the formal changing of guards in front of a huge statue of Sun Yat-Sen. We reached the doors that ushered us into the auditorium and saw the 2,000 international students who would be our fellow delegates for the next six days.

As the ceremonies began, I was shocked to hear who would be giving the Opening Address: the President of the Republic of China, Mr. Ma Ying-Jeou. After his speech, I was suddenly more aware of the political implications of having this mock-political conference in Taiwan.

ModelUN8.jpg Following Mr. President came the Mayor of Taipei, the President of National Taiwan University, as well as the Presidents of the Harvard and National Taiwan University ModelUN Team.

The ceremony ended with a rousing Taiwan aboriginal dance and a closing speech, and the gavel came down on the podium, declaring the official beginning of World Model United Nations 2010. Our team’s research and preparation would finally be put to the test, and I could not be more excited.