Interview with a Passionate Delegate: Maria Sabina Arcenas

Lucy Semin Kim

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Maria Sabina Arcenas, the delegate of Malaysia, smiles during her interview on the second day of the conference

Members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) passed a bill regarding human trafficking which was mainly about formatting a worldwide database for prevention and identification. This bill was also successfully passed at the international summit held on January 6, 2018. It was written by four main authors: Delegate of Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Japan. This interview was done each day after the conference with the delegate of Malaysia, Maria Sabina Arcenas. As her outstanding participation was crucial during the animated debate, this interview was done not only to hear more about the process of passing the bill but also to know about her, the veteran of Harvard Model Congress Asia.

This was Arcenas’s third experience at the HMC Asia conference so she wanted to be challenged by joining a new committee. Thus, she decided to apply to be a part of ASEAN as a departure from her previous participation in Senate Foreign Relations. Since the delegates at HMC Asia are citizens of various Asian nations, everyone attending is affected by the decisions made by ASEAN during the conference. Thus, understanding the system and knowing the on-going international issues were important for her.

Arcenas discussed her satisfaction with the fact that her bill was passed during the international summit. During her interview on the first day, she thought modifying the database related clause would make the bill stronger. As she vigorously hoped, her bill was safely passed. She also decided to join the debate which made her work together with other delegates and improve thinking and speaking skills. She improved herself by talking more during the conference but felt regret for the lack of further research.

When asked for recommendations for first-time delegates to HMC and students just beginning public speaking, Arcenas emphasized the importance of being prepared such as understanding the country stance in order to represent the country and act as a delegate, not an individual. In addition, she advised standing the ground by maintaining your stance is crucial even if you are not a majority of the committee member.

Feeling both sad and relieved, she has reached the end of HMCA 2018.

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