Profiles in Courage: Chairs Kat Ebright and Lexi Smith


Names and Positions: Kat Ebright, Chair, and Lexi Smith, Assistant Director

Hometowns: North Brunswick, New Jersey and Decatur, Georgia

Studies: Social Studies and Environmental Science/Public Policy

In our humble opinion, Kat Ebright is the closest thing that Agence France-Presse has seen to a modern-day Renaissance woman.  Although her role in Harvard National Model United Nations 2015 is to chair the Cabinet of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1945 — a committee that she created herself from scratch — her influence in the international relations community at Harvard extends far beyond this conference.  Ebright is the current President of the Harvard International Relations Council (HIRC), the body at Harvard University that governs and oversees all activities related to Model United Nations and beyond.  In addition to overseeing HNMUN 2015, Ebright is also responsible (from a macro perspective) for similar conferences in Boston (Harvard Model United Nations for high school-aged students), HMUN India (held annually in Hyderabad), and HNMUN Latin America (taking place this year in Lima, Peru).

Ebright spoke frankly to Agence France-Presse about her passion for international relations and the influence that HNMUN 2015 and the influence that HIRC has had on her college experience. “In all honesty,” she revealed to our reporters, “the Harvard International Relations Council influenced me to switch out of the sciences and into a program of social sciences and humanities.” She stressed that HNMUN 2015 and HIRC “legitimized professions outside of the hard sciences” and “introduced her to some of the smartest and most ambitious people” that she has met to date.

Her right-hand man (or, as may be more appropriate, woman), Lexi Smith has had an equally fascinating experience with HNMUN 2015 and the Harvard international relations community at large.  “My mother is a classical flute player,” she revealed, “and I actually play the flute at the New England Conservatory,” which at first glance is a far cry from the cutthroat world of Model United Nations. Agence France-Presse quickly discerned, however, that Smith’s musical gift manifests itself in the creativity of her work on the Cabinet of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam committee and her dedication to HNMUN 2015.  She admitted that she works long hours in the crisis room of the committee to ensure that the committee follows a seamless story arc to devise engaging crises to keep the talented delegates on their toes.

Kat Ebright and Lexi Smith moments before the start of the second committee session.

On a more personal level, Ebright and Smith forged their bond of friendship over more than Model United Nations alone.  “We’re both vegetarians,” quipped Smith, who also acknowledged that her family runs a renowned animal hospital in Georgia.

“I’ve only been a vegetarian since the start of the New Year,” admitted Ebright, “but in all honesty, I don’t do it explicitly because I care about animals.  It’s also more sustainable and better for the environment,” she patiently explained.

For Ebright, Smith, and the delegates in the Cabinet of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1945, debate rages on in the Orleans Room at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel.


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