Thursday, February 26, 2009
Look at others as human beings
In the World Health Organization (WHO) committee of HNMUN, being a medical student puts you among the privileged few. I was asked by an Armenian delegate sitting next to me: “What in the world is MDR-TB?” Before, a delegate (no doubt a medical student), have been using the acronym which stands for ‘multiple drug resistant tuberculosis’ and other technical terms such as prophylaxis, palliative, DOTS, etc, which sounds unfamiliar to the students of law, government, economics and politics (which made up the majority of the committee).
Other than being able to understand the technical terms, and being a walking dictionary to others, being a medical student gave us an advantage to look at problems substantively. Politicians and economists like to talk about the legislative stuff, and they talked a lot too. But they don't quite have the correct idea on the real situation we’re facing. “Developed countries must supply more AIDS-curing medicine to developing nations!” one said. Well, if there is a cure for HIV/AIDS, we would have eradicated it from this world long time ago.
Realizing the flaws, once in awhile, they would say “Let’s hear the medical point of view”, signaling the need of someone with medical knowledge to speak up front. Throughout the conference, I was invited to speak a few times, and I’ve never felt more purposeful in my life. When the world asked for your opinion, why shouldn’t you feel so? I guess one of the best things about being a doctor is that people believe whatever you say. I am lucky I did my research before. At other times, I would most probably take an ‘intellectual guess’ =P
However, one can’t possibly deny the strong correlation between politics, economy, social systems and disease. So, like it or not, we all have to work together. One time I raised an issue on economics, about how the policy in the IMF and World Bank affects the healthcare system in many developing countries, and the next day, they brought a representative from the World Bank into the committee, in case people like me who lacked knowledge on economics asks the same dim-witted question again. I didn’t talk about economics again that day. Leave it to the economists, I did =PIn the end, despite our academic differences, doctors, politicians and economists worked together to find single resolution. The best thing about health committees such as the WHO is that we couldn’t disagree upon each other concerning the main goals. Of course, no sane person would disagree on eradicating infectious diseases from the world, yes? In other committees, such as the Security Council, they had about a dozen of resolutions to be voted. We had only one resolution, and the voting is just for formality. It was inspiring to see each and every country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, raising their placard, agreeing on single resolution.
HNMUN was a grand, once in a lifetime experience for me. It was a wide-eye opener. Where else would I get a world-scale experience if not attending the real United Nations General Assembly? But then again, it wouldn’t be the same, because in HNMUN, they send students instead of real diplomats to a United Nations conference. What you’ll get are scenarios impossible in the real world. The United States in alliance with Venezuela, Iraq having dinner with Iran, India working together with Pakistan and suddenly obscured countries such as Saint Kitts and Comoros’ opinions is taken into account. I’ve never knew there’s a country which starts with ‘saint’!
As students, we realize the politics and international affair of our countries, but despite that, we looked upon each other not based on race, religion or political views. That’s the best thing about Harvard National Model United Nations: we look at each other as humans. We believe that the only real nation is humanity. We're all humans, aren’t we?
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