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DoDEA Pacific students gain international government, leadership experience at Harvard Model Congress Asia

For Immediate Release — February 12, 2014 | Pacific
: Public Affairs Specialist | 644-5786

HONG KONG — February 12, 2014 — 56 DoDEA Pacific students from 11 high schools joined more than 570 of their peers from 17 foreign countries for the Harvard Model Congress Asia Conference held in Hong Kong Jan. 9-12.

HMC Asia is a rigorous government simulation event for international students organized by Harvard students. DoDEA Pacific students attend HMC Asia as Far East delegates representing their schools’ Model United nations programs. During HMC Asia, students assume roles of real-life congressional legislators, U.S. government leaders and members of major international organizations such as the European Union, World Health Organization, World Bank, etc. They are challenged to expand their own perspectives by exploring the deeper complexities of the issues at hand. The students are actively engaged throughout the conference in scenarios based on contemporary international disputes and must work together to forge solutions through diplomatic, judicial, legislative and journalistic exercises.

DoDEA Pacific high school students earned numerous accolades during the
2014 Harvard Model Congress Asia Far East event held in Hong Kong.
Click here for high-resolution photo.

Topics covered a wide range of issues including bird flu, education in Africa, terrorism, world banking, and recent developments in the Arab world.

Facilitators from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government supported student-led domestic committees such as the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, U.S. Supreme Court, Presidential Cabinet, National Security Council, etc. International committees included the G-15, World Trade Organizations, African Union, World Health Organization, Arab League, among others. Students also assumed roles as professional journalists seeking to convey the important work of the committees, explore accountability and transparency issues, and report on outcomes.

Teacher Patricia Wagner from Yokota High School said the conference was a very important endeavor for the students and wished “all parents and teachers could watch the dedicated, articulate, and intense performances of these students in action. Their preparation was thorough and academically sound, and I was awed by the entire event.

“Harvard students presenting the conference were extremely well-organized, enthused, and dedicated to assuring all students a successful conference. They are great role models for our students,” Wagner added.

Other skill areas the delegates learned and applied during the HMC Asia conference included job creation, the fight against international crime, public speaking, negotiation, and critical thinking skills.

“It was an exciting opportunity as I am now able to test myself against students all over the world and experience a higher level of critical thinking,” said Yuki Ikeda, a senior at Yokota High School, “All the rigorous and dedication into activities like debating or regarding a bill will only leave a positive effect.” Selected delegates were recognized for their outstanding contributions to their respective committees. The following DoDEA Pacific students earned Awards of Excellence for their high performance at HMC Asia:

John Davis, U.S. Senate
Daegu HS

Sydney Ellis, U.S. Congress
Edgren HS

Jessica Guisinger, U.S. Congress
Guam HS

Tenley Getschman, U.S. Senate Kinnick HS
Telena Weber, U.S. Supreme Court
Marissa Mesquita, U.S. Supreme Court
Luke Pirrotta, Delegate, U.S. House of Representatives
Darkarai Roe, Delegate, U.S. House of Representatives
Nicholas Pagel, Delegate, U.S. Senate 
Michael Elliott, U.S. House of Representatives
Kubasaki HS

Lucas Holsopple, U.S. House of Representatives
MC Perry HS

Young Park, U.S. House of Representatives
Osan American HS

Danari White, Press Corps
Kyelee Fitts, Press Corps
Fred Lee, U.S. Senate
Seoul American HS

Kristianne Sonnenberg, European Union 
Yuki Ikeda, U.S. Senate
Nic Tures, European Union
Yokota HS

Yokota High School senior Deja Martinez said HMC Asia allowed students to express themselves and expand their horizons, and it built confidence and teamwork which will provide an upper-hand in the classroom and beyond.

“It gives a deeper understanding of the material allowing students a greater advantage in the competition giving the student an experience of a lifetime creating stimulating thoughts,” Martinez said.

Photos for this year’s HMC Asia can be found at

About Harvard Model Congress Asia:

Harvard Model Congress Asia (HMC Asia) is a government simulation conference run entirely by Harvard students who are passionate about international relations, government, and teaching. Organized by Harvard College Model Congress Asia, a student organization at Harvard University, HMC Asia has been committed to providing an immersive educational experience for high school students from across the globe since 2004. This year HMCA was held in Hong Kong 9-12 January. More than 570 students from 53 schools in 17 countries competed. DoDEA Pacific was represented by 56 students from 11 high schools, securing more than 15% of the awards presented.

For more information about HMC Asia visit

About DoDEA Pacific:

The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, DoD schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 50 schools serve over 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,400 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.

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DoDEA Pacific Public Affairs

Unit 35007
APO, AP 96376
DSN: 315-644-5657
From the States: 011-81-6117-44-5657

The initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts for the Pacific to include Guam, Japan, Okinawa, South Korea. The office is responsible for media relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.