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Liam Etti '20, An Tran '21 win awards at Harvard Model UN

Liam Etti '20, An Tran '21 win awards at Harvard Model UN

Specialized agency – the phrase alone is impressive and stands out.

Similarly, at the largest Model United Nations event in the world, two students from Wilbraham & Monson Academy were impressive and stood out.

Among more than 4,000 peers, Liam Etti ’20 and An Tran ’21 received awards based on their performance at the Harvard Model UN, which was held in Boston Jan. 30-Feb. 2.

The 67th session of Harvard Model UN drew students from 57 countries.

Liam and An participated in Specialized Agencies, aka Crisis Committees, which are more intense than the traditional format. Liam portrayed Omotola, a Nigerian female who verbally and physical fought against the British Empire for the Women's War of 1929. An, meanwhile, was the master of supplies for the Pirate Confederation of Ching Shih in the early 1800s.

Liam won an Honorable Mention Award, while An was recognized with a Diplomatic Commendation.


Faculty Advisor Sommer Mahoney ’11 on Liam and An earning awards: “Specialized Agencies are uniquely difficult to prepare for, because sessions are designed around ‘crises’ that happen in real time, while delegates are simultaneously trying to work on the larger problem that they have spent months researching. Both Liam and An are particularly talented researchers, writers and persuasive speakers, and they’ve learned how to apply all of those skills in the intense situations that Harvard creates for these committees. We’re so proud of their success.”

Liam regarding his role: “I was one of the only males in the room. Everyone was representing a council of women who did actually meet in 1929. It was interesting and not something that’s widely publicized. It’s a time that isn’t that talked about in Nigerian history. So in terms of researching the rebellion, it was hard. It was a group of women in 1929 who fought rather successfully against the British Empire and almost won independence for Nigeria.”

Liam regarding what he likes about Model UN: “I like the intensity, and the level of debate is very impressive for such young people; to be at the cutting edge of your field and of your skill to know exactly what you’re talking about and debate real issues. It’s an interesting experience.”

An on what she likes about Model UN: “I like the energy that everyone brings; everyone is really excited. I enjoy the fact that you get to argue with people about even the smallest things and use your kind of reasoning to embody another character.”

An regarding winning an award: “I didn’t know I won an award. Based on last year, one thing I wanted to improve on was working between blocks to negotiate and connect with people I would never really talk to. One thing I think I did pretty well during the conference was talk to people who were more quiet or didn’t have as strong of a voice. I talked to them so they could talk to others to get more people to rally behind my idea.”