From the Front of the Room: A Unique Perspective on Model United Nations


For nearly every delegate at Harvard National Model United Nations 2015 — and at most speech and debate conferences, for that matter — delegates in mid-to-large sized committees experience a monolithic perspective for the duration of the conference. Seated in long, parallel rows of chairs that often stretch back to fill an entire ballroom, delegates encounter little change in their visual perspective over the course of a weekend. Among the students that Agence France-Presse spoke to, several called the setup of these large General Assembly-style gatherings “overwhelming,” “uniform,” and “completely homogenous.”

Contrast this bleak interpretation with the perspective of the Chairs who are seated at the front of the room. The elevated perspective of the DAIS immediately affords these moderators an elevated point of view. They an easily survey the whole room; they are able to see all of the movement, debate, and interpersonal interactions occurring in a committee at the same time. Although few delegates will have the occasion to survey the room from this perspective during their time at Harvard — with the possible exception of a few, brief, front-of-the-room speeches — our reporters hope to bring this perspective to life with a photo gallery of committee rooms taken to mimic the field of view of the DAIS. The sweeping angles and downward lighting in many of the images contribute to the sense of motion and commotion that characterize so many of the larger committees at Harvard National Model United Nations 2015 and contribute to the differing senses of self between the delegates and chairs. On behalf of the entire Agence France-Presse reporting team, we hope that you enjoy them.

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