Empowerment and Education

"Education remains the key to both economic and political empowerment.” - Barbara Jordan

Each year, HMUN selects a conference theme to highlight the focus of the year. The conference theme for HMUN 2018 is Empowerment & Education. At the core of this year’s theme, HMUN commits to its mission of educating and empowering the future leaders of the world.

A Letter from the Director-General

Dear delegates and faculty advisors,

This is the sixty-fifth session of Harvard Model United Nations, the biggest high school conference, unparalleled in its outreach and impact. We have more than 3,300 delegates from all over the world and more than 230 staff members from varied experiences and varied understandings for what HMUN should be for them and for others. To unite everyone under one collective vision, each year the Secretariat of HMUN selects a theme for the conference to encapsulate what the conference represents more generally, but also to outline the specific vision and goals of current leadership.

The theme informs not only the selection of the charity we partner with, or the quest for our keynote speaker. The theme is at the heart of each one of the committees we host at HMUN, penetrating debate, resolutions and lessons. This year, we are hoping to further increase the prevalence of the theme at conference, and to further substantiate it for both delegates and staff alike.

The conference theme for HMUN 2018 is Empowerment & Education.

HMUN fosters a constructive forum for open dialogue on complex global issues, while providing delegates with opportunities to engage in diplomacy, negotiation, public speaking and writing. In this regard, as in the breadth and depth of our vision and mission, HMUN strives to create an unparalleled educational experience, while also inspiring delegates and staff to stand up for themselves and those around them. While an inherent part of our conference every year, Empowerment and Education are particularly important not only for the expansion of dialogue in committee, but also for the re-centering of our goals and values to align with what matters most, which is the impact we have on delegates. In this era of uncertainty with education reforms and the pressing need for the empowerment of youth, it is essential for HMUN to provide a model of discussion and understanding.

We challenge you to reflect upon this theme in the full breadth of its significance, for all those who are in the position to fight for others’ education and empowerment, but primarily for those who are not as lucky. We invite you to motivate the people around each other to question the mechanisms that affect your education, and the structures that jeopardize your empowerment.

HMUN Love Always,

Marija Jevtic
Harvard Model United Nations 2018

Keynote Speaker

This year, we are delighted to announce that our keynote speaker will be Ann Cotton!

Ann Cotton is the Founder and President of Camfed International, an organisation advancing girls’ inclusion in education in Africa. Under her leadership over 20 years, the organisation expanded its work from Zimbabwe into Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, establishing programmes that enabled girls from poor families to travel through the education cycle from pre-school to tertiary level. Working in partnership with communities and African government ministries, Camfed has built around girls a social and institutional ecosystem in which they, and other children and young people, can thrive. This year marks the 100,000 th young woman joining the Camfed alumnae, each member transformed by education into a powerful role model and change agent. Ann’s vision of principle-based leadership continues to influence the international development sector. She has been awarded a number of honours including an OBE, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cambridge, Skoll and Schwab Fellowships, and a WISE Laureate.


Each year, we select a charity partner that believes in the ability of HMUN delegates to change the world. Our charity partner often connects with our conference theme and addresses a global problem that remains detrimental to the international community. We donate all proceeds from our charity campaign to this partner. Last year, we raised over $15,000 for our charity partner, CARE International. You can read more about the impact of HMUN delegate and faculty advisor donations here.

Our charity partner for HMUN 2018 is Save the Children, an international organization that works to empower and educate children of all ages. To stay informed on the issues targeted by Save the Children and to find out more about its programs, please click here. We hope that you will engage with our charity partner this year to make a positive impact in the world, beyond the confines of the conference.

Social Impact Project

Each year, Harvard Model United Nations organizes a Social Impact Project for delegates to promote active critical thinking about the conference theme, and to allow delegates another path to share their voice and be heard. This year, the conference theme is Empowerment & Education. Read more about the theme here to provide a framework for your submission.

Submission guidelines: The submission for the Social Impact Project is now closed. The deadline for HMUN 2018 was January 10, 2018.

Task: Respond to one of the following prompts in the form of a written essay of 750 words or less, or a video of 3-6 minutes. Make sure to include real-world examples, and substantiate your arguments with properly cited facts and expert opinions. You can use multimedia elements in any of the prompts selected.

Prompt Options:

1. What are some of the root causes of disparity in levels of education and empowerment within a society? Provide at least two concrete examples and explain the effects of such disparity.

2. In what ways does education inspire empowerment? Discuss a specific case where this occurs and explain how this mechanism can be fostered on a larger scale.

3. Design and describe in detail, a project you would like to implement in your community to help promote education and empowerment of the youth. While the scope of the proposal can vary, it must reflect a realistic solution to an existing need within your community. Feel free to be creative (you can assume budget, participation and other variables as you deem necessary).

4. Video Project: create a media campaign to raise awareness of education and empowerment problems in your community. Be sure to include a practical solution to the problem you discuss. Videos should be three to six minutes in length.

Awards: First, second, and third-place winners will be recognized during Closing Ceremonies on the Sunday of Conference.


  • November 15, 2017: Prompts released
  • January 20, 2018: Finalists are notified by email
  • January 29, 2018: Results are announced at HMUN 2018 Closing Ceremonies

Questions: Please direct all questions to socialimpactproject@harvardmun.org.