May 29, 2024

BBS Connect

Bridging You To The Outside World

Harvard Model Congress Asia

Harvard Model Congress Asia is a global conference where international high school students learn and experience government while playing the roles of officials in the United States government and several international political bodies. This event is coordinated by the students of Harvard University themselves, and have spread all over the world including Asia. The topics covered in HMCA ranges from State matter like national security and nation relations to international world wide matter such as refugees healthcare and human rights. The host this year is Hongkong University with approximately 650 students participating from all over Asia.
On the fourth until tenth of January a few selected students from Secondary 4 to Junior College 2 had the rare opportunity to experience this event first hand. Despite all the Mid- Year Exam business they tried their best to divide their time to do their respective roles given by their HMCA seniors. From KJS we have 15 people participating, including I myself with the addition of our teachers Ms. Hannia and Mr. Richard. Our team departed from Jakarta along with the BBS PIK campus on January 4th at night, arriving in Hongkong the next morning around 6am. The HMCA event itself was scheduled on the sixth until the eighth, so on the first day the BBS team went sight-seeing in Hongkong, visiting a few museums like The Hongkong History Museum and The Marine Museum. The unusual view of Hongkong’s harbor was s new sight to us. Around noon we checked-in to our hotel which was relatively small compared to hotels in Jakarta due to the expensive scarce land in Hong Kong. But the location of the hotel was pretty strategic because it is one station away from Hong Kong University and there are convenience stores and places to eat nearby. Not only that, there are MRT stations right around the corner. We spent the rest of our night exploring the nearby area and had dinner at a local place before we retire to our room to prepare for the big day tomorrow. The opening of Harvard Model Congress Asia.


A lot of people, even teachers, are puzzled by the event. It seems like no one know what is going on except for those who are participating. To make it simple, it’s a series of debate upon a topic chosen beforehand and these topics belong to different committees as said before. There are domestic and International committees. Each person are given a specific role to be a person (e.g. I was Terri Sewell from the seventh district of Alabama, a democrat) or a nation (e.g. Representative of Chad or Representative of Indonesia) and when the event is running, we will be these people. A member of senate, a CIA worker, a representative of a nation and much more. Our job is to think, discuss, and vote as if we are this person. All of these are done as close as it would be on the real thing. We have rules and regulations that we must abide to, there are specific ways to do certain things. All of this might sound overwhelming at first but when it is time to do what is supposed to be done, it will be a new, fun and unique experience. I can tell you this because I have felt it. I was very reluctant at first. Talking in front of a committee that we do not know seems scary, to know that they are older, wittier and had more experience is very intimidating. But we are all learning. I may not be the most active person there, but most of my opinions were heard. Arguments are not a problem, it is a way to a better solution.
Anyways, the event itself was great. Apart from meeting tons of new people and befriending them, we got closer as a team. The three days seems like a blur. There was a social night on the first night which we all attend to. There was music, Chinese calligraphy, great food and photo booths provided. It was amazing seeing people bravely dancing on the floor surrounded by people they only know for less than 24 hours. Not only a social night, there were sessions in which Harvard students share their opinion and experiences of Harvard and university life in general. All of the staff were very nice and they helped those who are lost finding their way around the campus. They offered their email addresses so that we will be able to keep in contact in case some of us needed it if we consider applying to Harvard.
Some of the best moments in the congress is the overall meeting session where everything that we discussed are compiled into one file and presented to the whole chair members and participants. In this meeting we can see people from opposing parties and division argue about the matter in hand with passion and wit and it is a different feeling seeing people being very passionate about what they are doing. It is a good admiration, especially personally for me.
After it all ended, we heaved a sigh of relief and accomplishment. The burden is finally being lifted off our shoulder. All those nights worrying about HMCA and politics in general paid off. The next day, we went on a trip to Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. This is where our crew truly bonded, because after Disneyland, there were no grades separation, we were like old friends, having fun and enjoying the rest of our time in Hongkong. We went back to Jakarta with a permanent smile pestered to our faces, remembering all the good times in Hongkong and how we will miss it, it was truly a great experience.
This is why I am encouraging you to join HMCA next year, not because of the place, do it because you will find new friends. Do it because you will learn something on the way. Do it because all those before you that went, will say they had a good time, to some extent.

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