Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies


The Economic and Social Council at HMUN 2018 includes the medium-sized councils, commissions, and programmes of the UN, which tackle issues of development, human rights, culture, economics, and trade. The Regional Bodies include both UN and non-UN committees that are made up of countries from specific regions, and discuss topics more specifically pertinent to those regions.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Director: Kathryn Kuhar

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Director: Trevor Noon

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific

Director: Luke Minton

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Kemi Akenzua and I am so excited to be your director for the United Nations Human Rights Council. I am a sophomore at Harvard College studying History and Science: Technology Information, and Society, with a secondary in Economics. As a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom with a lot of family from Nigeria, I grew up between three cultures and histories. These three cultures coupled with travelling and learning about different countries through classes and organizations like MUN helped me cultivate my passion for international relations. I also study history, computer science, and economics on campus.

In the United Nations Human Rights Council, we discuss and debate some of the most important and serious issues affecting the world today. You will not only learn a lot about these topics, but also meet and talk to people from around the world who share your interest. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the committee or HMUN, please feel free to contact me at any time. This will be an amazing experience for all us! I’m excited to meet you in January 2018.

Best Regards,

Kemi Akenzua
Co-Director, United Nations Human Rights Council
unhrc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Caroline Zheng, and it is my greatest pleasure to serve as your co-director for the UNHRC committee at this year’s conference. As a returning director from HMUN 2017, I cannot tell you the amount of joy being a part of HMUN brings me. The opportunity to work with delegates like you, from all over the world, with such passion for international relations and human rights issues is one I am privileged to have.

Last year, I served as director of ECOSOC’s African Union. The level of research and professionalism exhibited by all of my delegates astounded me. Their dedication to diplomacy and vision for a better world for all, regardless of existing barriers, was truly inspiring. Because I enjoyed my time directing so much, I chose to return this year when an opportunity arose for a co-director position.

As for a little bit of more general information about me – I am a junior at Harvard studying Government and Economics. Within my academic concentration, I am particularly focused on the economics of education, feminist political theory, and global monetary trends. Outside of the classroom and HMUN, I serve as Treasurer of Harvard’s largest student-run organization (PBHA), am part of a sisterhood, sit on the Harvard Women’s Cabinet, and am part of a finance/investment group. If you are interested in government/economics or finance, please come talk to me during our free time at conference.

I look forward to meeting all of you at conference and all the wonderful connections that will be formed; I hope you are as excited as me for conference. I encourage you to embrace this opportunity and, in the very best way, to expect the unexpected!

Warmest regards,

Caroline Zheng
Co-Director, United Nations Human Rights Council
unhrc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Major: History and Science: Technology, Information, & Society

Favorite MUN moment: When Andrew Chang (our amazing Secretary-General) gave me a hug, and generally all the support and encouragement from my friends at HMUN!

Why HMUN? I am directing for HMUN because this is an amazing conference for people around the globe to convene and discuss some of the most pressing issues in our world today. As someone with a passion for international relations and human rights, HMUN is the perfect place for me to pursue my interests while facilitating debates for eager, hardworking high school students. HMUN is an unparalleled experience and I am so grateful to be a part of this conference.

Advice for new delegates: My advice to delegate is to really immerse yourself in the wonderful experience of HMUN. It is an unparalleled way to learn more about very interesting topics and discuss them with people (and new friends!) from around the world. You do not need to worry about being graded or your oratory skills. From your position paper to the resolutions you’ll write during conference: this is an amazing learning experience that you’ll cherish for many years to come.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Syosset, NY

Favorite MUN moment: Representing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) as a delegate, my senior year at a Johns Hopkins conference. People were quite surprised to learn I was actually quite a nice girl…outside of committee!

Why HMUN? HMUN not only teaches you so much about the state of international affairs, but forces you to think critically and question/re-examine views you may have personally held about the world.

Advice for new delegates: There’s a motto I like and keep as a pendant on my dresser everyday – “Feel the fear, and do it anyways”. I remember at my first MUN conference, years ago in high school, my hands were literally shaking when I got up to make my initial speech. It’s going to be scary (though the staff and I are going to try our hardest to minimize that). But after you open your mouth, words will come out – I promise. Don’t be intimidated by more experienced delegates – you also have valuable ideas to contribute. And always let us know if something seems unclear; someone else probably has the same exact question!

Topic Area A: LGBT Rights

The United Nations did not publish its first statement on gay rights until December 18th 2008, when violence, harassment, and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation was formally condemned. The first resolution concerning human rights relating to sexual orientation and gender identity was adopted in June of 2011. Over 76 countries have laws against private, consensual same­sex relationships; some of the LGBT convictions in these countries may lead to harsh prison sentences of the death penalty. Many countries have also made efforts to protect members of their LGBT community. Japan, for example, recently expanded their Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying to prevent sexual orientation based bullying in schools. Yet, there are still numerous countries with a notable history of abuses against LGBT rights, including Iran, Russia, Nigeria, and Honduras. Many nations with political views against LGBT rights claim a religious backing. At the same time, other nations claim that violating gay rights is equivalent to violating global human rights, and should be responded to accordingly. Over the course of this committee, delegates will be encouraged to compromise across country policies and avoid immutable positions.

Topic Area B: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

At 12 years of age, many people around the world are preparing for their teenage years, taking classes in school, or just having fun with friends. Vagharshak Grigoryan did not get a chance to navigate and discover his teenage years because his life was cut short while he was in the crosshairs of a conflict that has endured for far too long. Grigoryan, a young 12-year-old boy, was killed in a shelling attack in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Centered on the Nagorno-Karabakh region, this crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan has left refugees without homes, failing to reach a resolution for many years. A recent ceasefire was abruptly terminated by violence in just the past two years. Tens of thousands have died, even several times more have been left without homes. Comparable to many other political disputes from around the work, such as Israel-Palestine and the South China Sea, this crisis poses a familiar, yet perhaps still solvent, problem for the international community.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Kathryn Kuhar and I extremely excited to be the Director of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at HMUN2018! I want to extend a warm welcome to you from myself and the rest of the HMUN staff. Whether you’ve joined us before or if this is your first MUN conference, HMUN is a great experience. I am a sophomore at the college, expecting to study History or Government. Growing up, my dad was in the military, so I lived around the world, most recently in Ankara, Turkey. Living and traveling around the world ensured my interest in international affairs and I hope to work internationally after college. At Harvard, I am a photographer for the Harvard Crimson, have been involved in the institute of Politics and tutored local high school students.

In Ankara, I worked with the UNHCR, volunteering to make and distribute lunches to refugees, which is why I am so passionate about this committee. This conference will be as close to a simulation of the real Model United Nations as possible, to give you an idea of real world issues and the avenues which can be used to help solve them. Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you have about this committee or HMUN in general. I can’t wait to work with you all in the coming months and during the conference. Best of luck!

Sincerely,

Kathryn Kuhar
Director, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
unhcr@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Ft. Bragg, NC

Major: History

Favorite MUN moment: When a student in my committee got a rose that said "Thanks for the wild weekend!" and wasn't even in the room because he was skipping the session. I can only imagine what he was off doing.

Why HMUN? Harvard Model United Nations is an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn about international relations topics, pitch their own ideas, collaborate with other delegates, and create presentations. Through these days of committee and months of preparation, delegates as well as staff get so invested in topics and countries which they may have never even heard of before. HMUN offers the opportunity to be a part of the historic legacy of the oldest Model United Nations Conference out there. It is an incredible conference run completely by Harvard College students who are very welcoming and committed to inclusivity and making everyone feel at home. I have had a wonderful time getting to know the dynamic people who staff this conference and look forward to meeting a new group of students who are ready to learn and are passionate about their ideas!

Advice for new delegates: HMUN is a great opportunity to learn a lot about topics important to people around the world, and to learn how the actual UN works, but it's also a great place to meet people from around the country and around the world. Have a lot of fun and make some new friends! I hope that you learn about diplomacy and get to create original ideas and argue for topics that you are really passionate about because this is an excellent opportunity to get to explore an issue in depth. Also, don't be afraid to speak up and get involved in committee because you did the work to get here and your voice deserves to be heard!

Topic Area A: Preventing Infectious Diseases in Syrian Refugee Communitites

The Syrian Refugee Crisis is one of the most pressing humanitarian crises of our time and one which the UNHCR is deeply involved in. One of the dangers of large numbers of displaced people forced to live in tight, unsanitary, temporary conditions is the spread of disease. In refugee camps around the world, the threat of disease outbreak is always looming, especially in areas with low levels of immunization. With the long duration of the Syrian conflict, many children have not had access to adequate medical care and have not been vaccinated as most health facilities have been destroyed by war. Since the refugee crises began, there have been resurgences of eradicated diseases like polio and leishmaniosis. Because 90% of refugees do not live in actual Refugee Camps organized by the UNHCR, it is hard to even have a count of how many refugees have already been affected by infectious diseases. There is also the fear of these diseases spreading across borders and affecting citizens of host countries. This topic meets at an intersection of global health and politics. In this committee, I look forward to hearing innovative solutions to how we can build off existing health programs, or create completely new programs to help combat the spread of infectious disease within the Syrian refugee community, with a focus on working in camps.

Topic Area B: Protecting Human Rights: Syrian Refugee Women

Protecting refugees has been the main mission of the UN Refugee Committee since its founding in 1951. With the Syrian conflict, over 5 million people and counting have become refugees, more than half of them being women and girls. 90% of Syrian refugees do not live in organized camps, but have tried to integrate themselves into the local communities where they have sought refuge. There have been many reports of gender based violence against Syrian Refugee women, many of whom have become the head of households with the loss of the husbands or male relatives. Instances of child marriage, police brutality, and prostitution in order to survive have been reported, but since they are outside refugee camps, often there is little done to investigate or prevent these situations. There have been many frameworks and plans set out by the United Nations and its agencies to combat Gender Based violence and to protect Human Rights, but it is still a pressing problem, especially in relatively unregulated situations which place women and families at the mercy of host country men who have resources the refugees do not. In this committee, I am interested to hear about possible solutions to protecting the rights of Syrian refugee women, especially those who are living outside of sanctioned camp settings.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Allison Law, and it is my honor to serve as your director for the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. I am a sophomore at Harvard College, and while I hail from Hong Kong, I call my hometown Natick, Massachusetts. I plan to declare a concentration in Integrative Biology and a secondary in History of Science. My interests in science, medical ethics, history, and pharmaceutical drug research and development motivated me to create this forum to explore the intersections of these fields.

Outside of academics, I enjoy playing with the Harvard University Band, painting for the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and writing and promptly deleting references to Prince Zuko’s quest to reclaim his honor in a futile attempt of mine to seem more professional.

We will be developing solutions for the problem of unequal access to prescription opioids, and we will be seeking ways to reform the current drug development process. While certain aspects of these topics receive more media coverage than others, I hope for us to consider all the nuances of these timely topics as we address the root of these health care issues.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or my delightful crisis director, Danny Rodriguez. We look forward to working with you next year!

Best Wishes,

Allison Law
Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
unodc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Danny Rodriguez, and I will be your Crisis Director for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Harvard Model United Nations 2018. I am a senior at Harvard College studying Government with a focus on political economy, development, and trade. I am also pursuing a secondary degree in Music, and work frequently on theater productions on campus. Your Director Allison Law and I are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to run this committee, and want to work to make this as positive, educational, and fun an experience as possible for all of you.

I’m originally from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, where I lived until I came to college. When I’m back home you’re most likely to find me on the beach just enjoying the sun. When I’m indoors I like to cook, play guitar, and watch the West Wing, Archer, and How I Met Your Mother over and over again on Netflix. As mentioned earlier, on campus I work with theater pretty heavily. I started and run the Latinx theater organization on campus, Harvard College TEATRO!, and have directed, music directed, and performed in a number of shows on campus. I’m also a freshman advisor, a Jazz director at Harvard’s radio station, a manager at the campus pub, and of course, a member of the International Relations Council.

My interest in MUN actually began in my sophomore year of college. One of my roommates has been very involved since high school in MUN, and it was through him that I became curious about it, and as a sophomore I began staffing conferences and joined Harvard’s MUN traveling team, ICMUN. Through these staffing and competitive experiences, I’ve come to really appreciate the environment of growth and debate that MUN fosters. I love being able to learn about and discuss a topic and to develop my public speaking and negotiation skills with individuals that are passionate and engaging. Now I’ve staffed HMUN and HNMUN (our collegiate-level conference) twice, most recently Directing the Spanish-language committee in HMUN and Crisis Directing the Historical Security Council at HNMUN.

Allison and I are excited to provide you all with a substantive and fun experience through the UNODC committee, and are happy to answer any questions or address any concerns before and during the conference! I look forward to meeting you all at HMUN 2018!

Best of luck,

Danny Rodriguez
Crisis Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
unodc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Natick, MA

Major: Integrative Biology

Favorite MUN moment: HMUN 2017 GA World Conference on Women, Session VI colloquium on the difference feminism has had in our lives.

Why HMUN? Harvard Model United Nations offers an unparalleled experience for high schools to simulate the workings of the United Nations. At conference, you will meet delegates from all corners of the world with diverse backgrounds that will enrich your experiences inside and outside of committee in unpredictable ways. Whether you decide to apply to this committee or to another, the directors of every committee in every organ is extremely passionate about their topics. I am very interested in seeing what kinds of solutions you can develop with others throughout the course of the conference.

Advice for new delegates: Have fun. The weekend of the conference will fly by, and it is worth taking the time to pause and enjoy what you are doing, get to know the people behind the delegation, and maybe see what Boston has to offer. (This might be biased, but Boston is the best.) With such emotionally charged topics and the desire to do well at conference, it can be easy to let yourself be consumed by the stress of the conference. Take the issues seriously, but do not forget that you can only produce your best work when you are healthy and happy.

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Government

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Favorite MUN moment: Leading a separatist movement in Crete!

Why HMUN? I'm passionate with sharing teaching younger students about international relations through MUN, and love the environment of growth and debate that it creates. I had an amazing time directing the Spanish-language Specialized Agency last year and could not imagine missing out on participating in HMUN in my senior year.

Advice for new delegates: Don't forget that this should be a fun experience! It's easy to let the competitive nature of MUN get the best of you, but at the end of the day the best part of all of my MUN experiences has been the friends that I have made. This is an amazing experience to meet students from all over the world! Have fun, help each other, and keep in touch!

Topic Area A: Access to Opioids

The unequal distribution of opioids around the world causes conflicts both in countries that overuse prescription opioids and in countries that have difficulties getting access to opioids for medical use. In countries that face opiate epidemics among their citizenry, such as the United States of America, physicians have the incentive to overprescribe pain-killing medications as a safeguard against avoid malpractice lawsuits, and insurance companies benefit from paying pharmaceutical companies a lot of money with the knowledge that some of money will be used for research and development in addition to profits. Problems arise when patients abuse the legally acquired drugs and the lack of social infrastructure to deal with addiction adds to existing issues. Compounded to this is the irony that in some countries, such as rural areas in Nigeria and Colombia, face the issue of inadequate access to drugs such as morphine for medical use. Debate in this committee will require deft consideration of this duality- how can we limit the use of prescription opioids in some countries while increasing the access to medicinal opioids in others? One of my goals for this committee is to move away from the traditional lens of studying this topic that simply reduces countries to producing, trafficking, and consuming nations. As seen in countries such as the USA and Nigeria, socioeconomic class is a more accurate predictor of the impact that illicit and legally prescribed drugs have on citizens.

Topic Area B: Pharmaceutical Drug Development and Distribution

Historically, cases in which pharmaceutical drugs were ready for human testing involve human testing on vulnerable populations. For instance, with HIV medications, much of the clinical trial testing was performed in areas of the world with higher rates of HIV and AIDS. However, that also meant dealing with unequal balance of powers when researchers from Western countries imposed themselves in less powerful countries. The issue of those who bears the burdens research and who receives the benefits of those results, given the stringent patents on the final product that restrict access to those without financial means, is an issue of distributive justice that appears throughout medical ethics. Along the lines of that issue, the distribution of resources toward drug development proves to be an area that needs reform. How can we move away from using high drug prices to fund R&D, which limits the access to life-saving medications, without limiting scientific progress? With antibiotics, we see the result of the lack of economic incentive to innovate. There is much news coverage on overusing antibiotics which leads to antibiotic resistance toward current drugs. What is overlooked is the system in place that makes it unprofitable for drug companies to invest in developing new antibiotics. Debate in this topic demands consideration of the values of a country- does this nation value maximizing profits to maximize long-term discoveries, or does this nation value immediate help to those suffering now?

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Trevor Noon, and I could not be more excited to serve as your director for the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs! I am currently a junior at Harvard College concentrating in Statistics with a secondary in Astrophysics. I’m from Buffalo, NY (AKA South Canada, AKA Home of the chicken wing, AKA Go Bills), but I love to travel. I got interested in astrophysics as a kid stargazing on camping trips, and I am so lucky to be studying it now in a formal setting. Aside from HMUN, I’m also on Winthrop House Committee (my residential house), I have a part time job doing sports data analytics, and I am the founder of Harvard’s Club Flag Football team.

This year, we will be debating a very important issue - the renegotiation of the Outer Space Treaty. This relates to a wide array of stellar subjects and we really should have an incredible committee. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll try my best to answer them! I can’t wait to meet you all!

Sincerely,

Trevor Noon
Director, United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs
unoosa@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Newfane, NY

Major: Statistics (Secondary in Astrophysics)

Favorite MUN moment: Last year's conference when for superlatives I won "Best Hair." The runner up for the title was "Trevor again."

Why HMUN? I'm really passionate about space and our future affairs off of our own planet. That and my friend Erin convinced me to join the conference it last year and I loved it.

Advice for new delegates: I think everything is always a matter of reaching your potential. Do what you can, work hard, and everything will work out. Don't try to control things that are beyond your control and everything will be okay.

Topic Area: Renegotiation of the Outer Space Treaty

1967 was a frigid year in the midst of the Cold War. What had previously seemed impossible was now a reality with nations going beyond Earth’s atmosphere. In response, the United Nations Office for Outer Space affairs determined an Outer Space Treaty to answer questions in how to regulate this novel idea of Off-Earth international interaction. This treaty was very necessary and successful at answering these questions at the time, but have become rather outdated. Important updates that need to be considered extend into surveillance, the increasing privatization of space, and technological developments relating to spacecraft regulation. First, is the question of surveillance and an international standard for the jurisdiction of private information. Domestic surveillance is a very important issue, but little has been said about how this works across borders. Where is the line drawn between surveying for espionage and surveying for gathering information about the weather? How much of that information should be public? Secondly, space is no longer a place for only government agencies. Large, wealthy, private, interests are now taking to the skies and seeking to reap the benefits of space with its tourism, resources, and even land. How should the colonization of space be reconfigured with the interests of all countries and not just those wealthier ones with space programs? Should we allow private companies to mine and colonize at will or set certain standards? Finally, with more interests extending into space, what regulations should be placed on what we allow to go into space? Should there be environmental cautions in both the production of these crafts, as well as in the “littering” of our orbit? Overall, there are many questions that need to be answered, better clarified, or amended from their original statuses in the original Outer Space Treaty. Our committee will seek to find the best answers to these questions and discuss possible repercussions, all while keeping the ever changing technological future in mind.

Note: The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Rosan Bishwakarma, and I am pleased to welcome you to the European Union. The issues to be discussed are affecting millions of people, and there are no obvious answers, so I am excited what solutions you may offer.

First, a little bit about myself: I am a rising sophomore at Harvard University, studying Economics. I am particularly interested in development economics and understanding what factors contribute to higher standards of living for people all around the world. Currently, I am a Director for HMUN as well as HMUN China conferences. Outside of the MUN community, I am an Analyst for Consulting on Business and the Environment, a student organization that consults businesses in the environmental, energy or sustainability space.

Originally from Nepal, we moved to Austria when I was very little. Growing up in Austria, issues concerning the European Union have always surrounded me. However, it was only very recently that I became interested in the European Union as recent crisis have shown that the rights and values I took for granted are under threat. The continent is changing and you as the EU need to react.

I am confident in your ability to tackle these complex issues and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via my committee email.

Best Regards,

Rosan Bishwakarma
Director, European Union
eu@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Pill, Austria

Major: Economics

Favorite MUN moment: When crisis recreated an explosion in a train as part of our committee.

Why HMUN? As an Assistant Director for the European Union last year, I really enjoyed seeing delegates discuss a topic I really cared about together. I was amazed by how well delegates got to know each other over the course of the conference and I felt like it was a very defining weekend for many. Seeing all these high school students from all over the world really made me feel like I was at the United Nations and I wanted to contribute to this amazing experience as Director.

Advice for new delegates: Don’t be afraid to talk! It can be quite intimidating being in a new environment with so many new people but we are all here to learn and everybody has a unique perspective worthy of sharing. This conference is a great opportunity to improve your public speaking skills in a low-stakes environment so don’t be afraid to seize it! We want to see you grow!

Topic Area A: Assimilation, Integration and Immigration

In light of the migrant crisis that led to thousands of people entering the EU, many European nations are faced with a drastic demographic change. But even apart from the recent wave of refugees, people have been migrating within the EU for a long time. A highly politicized topic, migration is handled very differently depending on the country. While some countries embrace immigrants and the potential economic opportunity they bring, other countries see them as a cost to society. Although people can freely move once they are in the Schengen Area, they face different governments with varying policies regarding immigration. This, along with a rising anti-immigration sentiment, makes integration a challenge. In many countries, people who look foreign, even if they are third generation immigrants, feel like they are not truly part of the society they live in. In extreme instances, this alienation led to violence. What is clear is that this demographic change requires the peoples of Europe to redefine what it means to be a citizen, not only in legal but social terms. This redefinition will eventually have to take place as many countries will be forced to accept immigrants as the only solution to sustain their country’s ageing population and the increasing costs of the welfare state.

Topic Area B: Nationalism vs. a Common European Identity and the Future of the EU

Although all on the same continent, European countries did not have much of a common identity for most of history. In fact, they were constantly competing against each other. It was only with the advent of the European Union that these few dozen countries developed a sense of a common identity. Many people felt that on top of their national identity, they also had a European identity. Now, this notion of a common European identity is under threat as far-right nationalist movements all over the continent are gaining support. Fueled by a perception of being ruled but by technocrats in Brussels, nationalistic and eurosceptic movements all over Europe are growing. Many fear that the EU will become the United States of Europe, a system under which the member states relinquish much of their sovereignty to the union. Slogans such as “we want our country back” express this sentiment. Recent crisis such as the sovereign debt crisis or the refugee crisis have further shown the inability of the EU to solve big problems, thus exacerbating its image as a useless bulky bureaucratic apparatus. Although a wonderful project that has brought peace and cooperation to a war-torn continent, citizens care less and less about the EU. With favorability ratings dropping in many countries and the rise of far-right nationalism, either the EU changes or it falls apart.

Dear Delegates

My name is Eugenio Donati and I am incredibly excited to be welcoming you to HMUN 2018 and to the International Monetary Fund where I will be serving as your director this year. I am currently a sophomore at Harvard College with anticipated concentration in Economics and secondary in Government. I am particularly interested in financial markets, transportation, and entrepreneurship. Born and raised in Italy, I lived there all of my life before coming to Harvard, and I am now happy to call Cambridge and the United States home.

On campus, I am involved with various finance organizations, the Harvard Sustainability Think Tank, and I am a member of Harvard’s Swimming Club. I also love traveling, video editing, and memorizing everything from world capitals to digits of pi.

During the conference, you will have the opportunity to debate some of the world’s most pressing and complex economic issues, contributing to a discussion that has the potential of making the world economy more dynamic, efficient, and transparent. Please reach out at any time with questions or concerns. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you in this coming year!

Sincerely,

Eugenio Donati
Director, International Monetary Fund
imf@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Povoletto, Italy

Major: Economics

Favorite MUN moment: The closing ceremony of my first conference.

Why HMUN? I believe that participating in HMUN can be a transformative event for high school students, and I want to contribute as much as possible to something that can have a lasting impact on a their journey. Being involved in Model UN is generally a great way of being exposed to some of the most pressing issues of our times, and actively working to find solutions to these problems. Combine this with HMUN’s very rigorous academic standards, access to some of the world’s most talented high school students, all in a unique location, HMUN is the ultimate destination for any MUNer.

Advice for new delegates: Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself as much as possible, whether socially, during the sessions, or even when researching your topic. Participating to such a prestigious and large conference can be intimidating. I get it. We have all been there. HMUN is such a unique opportunity to learn and to meet amazing people that you should never let your fear prevent you from making that speech, talking to somebody new, or exploring your topic from an original perspective.

Topic Area: Fighting international financial crime in an increasingly cashless economy: challenges and opportunities

Physical currency, particularly large denomination bills such as the $100 or the €500 note, is a major player in almost any kind of criminal activity, mainly because of its anonymity and very high liquidity. Cash plays a key role in most international financial crimes, including money laundering, tax evasion, corruption, and financing of terrorism. Fighting these activities is essential to ensure the stability of financial markets and of the broader economy.

While there are many opportunities and benefits presented by the phase-out of physical currency in fighting financial crime, challenges that governments and international organizations need to tackle are numerous in this period of transition from a predominantly cash-based system to a near-cashless economy. The include needs to address privacy, security, and financial inclusion concerns.

In this highly complex landscape, the role of the International Monetary Fund is to promote cooperation and dialogue among nations, with the goal of encouraging the adoption of a shared international framework that – while promoting a unified approach towards the phase-out of physical currency – accounts for the profound differences that exist among member nations, ranging from infrastructural gaps that prevent the adoption of cashless payment technology to different financial systems and stages of economic development.

Note: The International Monetary Fund is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Manav Khandelwal and I'm excited to serve as your director for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at Harvard Model United Nations 2018! Originally from Philadelphia, I am a junior at Harvard with a joint concentration in Statistics and Computer Science. This will be my first time directing at HMUN but I am the Under-Secretary-General for ECOSOC&RB at Harvard World Model United Nations. I am passionate about the intersection between politics, military strategy, and economics and hope that your committee experience at HMUN will help inform you in all three areas and how an organization like NATO can make a broader impact on the world. Outside of Model UN, I am Director of Senior Investment Research with the Harvard Financial Analysts Club, a sports editor for The Harvard Crimson, and a choreographer for the South Asian dance show Ghungroo.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out and I look forward to meeting you all at conference.

Sincerely,

Manav Khandelwal
Director, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
nato@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Major: Statistics and Computer Science

Favorite MUN moment: Cabaret Night at Harvard WorldMUN 2017 in Montreal, where I got to perform with the other chairs on stage for all of our delegates.

Why HMUN? Carrying a passion for international relations, politics, and diplomacy is not just important for people who want to study government or political science, but for all members of our society. The ability to understand the world and find common ground with those around you will help all delegates as they go to college and ultimately head off into the real world.

Advice for new delegates: Two things: learn and be diplomatic. Know everything about the topics that you can, as a broader knowledge base will help you during committee sessions and as you draft documents. In terms of working with others, while the ability to impose your own agenda on the committee and other delegates shows persuasiveness and determination, diplomacy and cooperation will also be looked upon quite favorably as it exemplifies the ability to compromise and form a coalition.

Topic Area: Confronting Terror - ISIS

Besides nuclear warfare, terrorism is the greatest military threat facing the West today. NATO member states have seen groups like ISIS expand their operations from strictly the Middle East to home soil, as evidenced by the Paris, San Bernadino, and Istanbul attacks among others. Despite these acts, NATO has taken no direct action against ISIS to date, despite verbal condemnation of the group’s existence and actions. NATO has primarily served as a conduit for countries to gather and form partnerships, but has not been directly involved in any of the interventions. Fighting a guerrilla army in Iraq and Syria while using intelligence assets to keep track of cells around the world is a difficult task, and the purpose of this committee will be to devise a comprehensive counter-terrorism roadmap for NATO. Delegates will look to find ways to block ISIS financially, develop an effective strategy to counter ISIS propaganda in the Middle East, and create military contingencies to deal with ISIS fighters abroad and at home.

Note: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Esteban Flores and I am proud to be the director of the Organization of American States committee. I am a sophomore at Harvard with an anticipated joint concentration in physics and philosophy. I was born and raised in South Texas on the US-Mexico border, and I have always been very interested in discussing Latin American politics and international relations. At Harvard, I participate in Harvard National Model United Nations, WorldMUN, the Harvard International Review, and Harvard Model Congress. I also referee intramural sports.

Our committee experience will be a very interesting as we will be negotiating a trade treaty. My hope is that this conference will be a unique one for you and that you will leave with stronger negotiation skills and an interest in Latin America. Always feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have any questions. I cannot wait to see you all at HMUN this coming year!

Respectfully,

Esteban Flores
Director, Organization of American States
oas@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Edinburg, TX

Major: Physics and Philosophy Joint

Favorite MUN moment: I once amended my best friend's resolution on decentralization by striking the word decentralization from every operative clause (in the name of democracy of course). It overwhelmingly passed. Thankfully we are still friends.

Why HMUN? Of all the high school conferences in the nation, none can compare with HMUN. First of all, the delegates are superb and produce the highest quality work. There are also many international students so there is much cross-cultural dialogue. Secondly, the staff members themselves care immensely; at no other conference will you find staff members as dedicated, passionate, or as intellectually gifted as the HMUN staff.

Advice for new delegates: Do not focus so much on being the perfect stereotype of a MUN delegate and instead focus on being diplomatic and contributing significantly to the educational aspect of the conference. Even though HMUN is a competition, do not forget that the issues you are discussing are real and affect many people; HMUN is a forum where solutions to these issues can be discussed and debated. That being said, do not forget to have fun and enjoy your time in conference. Make sure to leave with the phone numbers of the many new friends you have made.

Topic Area: A Western Hemisphere Free Trade Deal

At the Third Summit of the Americas, the nations of the Americas negotiated the extension of NAFTA from Canada, USA, and Mexico to all other nations in the Western Hemisphere. The heavily protested summit eventually resulted in no free trade deal being passed, leaving negottions for a later time; that time is now. In this committee, we will negotiate a new free trade deal for all of the Americas that addresses labor law violations, democracy and human rights abuses, inflation, tariffs, and tourism and we will discuss ways that we can strengthen the economies of OAS member states. These subtopics of the trade deal will discuss many topics such as child labor, violence against women in factories, safe working conditions, economic aid to other nations, intervention in un democratic states, sovereignty, and protectionism. While investigating this topic, delegates will gain substantial knowledge in economic topics such as balance of trade and inflation. Further, this topic will require that delegates develop strong negotiation skills, as they will be representing their respective nations while negotiate a binding treaty, and therefore must fight for the interests of their nations well.

Note: The Organization of American States is a single-topic committee.

Class year: 2020

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Major: Math and Music

Favorite MUN moment: Gaveling at NYUMUNC.

Why HMUN? I am passionate about helping young people, especially at the high school level. Education runs in my blood, and I am still very involved in tutoring and mentoring in my home town even though I have left. I want to be able to make an impact in the lives of young people, and I am confident that through HMUN I will be able to do so.

Advice for new delegates: Don’t sweat it if you’re nervous about how much you know the topic area or speaking in public. In Model United Nations, and in life in general, the ability to inspire confidence in others through your writing and your voice, even when you have incomplete information, is a necessary aspect of leadership. That begins with having faith in yourself. If you feel nervous about expressing your ideas, remember that all the delegates are in the same situation as you are and that we’re all here ultimately to learn from each other and help ourselves be the best we can be.

Hello Delegates,

My name is Luke Minton. It is my great honor to serve as your Director for the United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Get ready to have a great experience at Harvard Model United Nations 2018! I’m currently a sophomore at the college planning on pursuing a concentration in Mathematics and a secondary in Romance Languages and Literatures. While not involved with Model United Nations at Harvard, I participate in a number of other extracurricular activities such as the Applied Mathematics Society and the Institute of Politics. I also love to sing, and have performed as a soloist with the Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum.

I have been interested in Central Asia and the Caucasus ever since I did a project on the regions as a high school freshman, and I have the utmost confidence that, after HMUN 2018, you will fall in love with these countries and their unique cultures just as much as I have. We will be debating a number of political, economic, and social issues with implications not only for the region, but for the global balance of power, through this we will see the important role Central Asia and the Caucasus play on the international stage, especially in the present and in the years to come. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns; I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Sincerely,

Luke Minton
Director, United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific
unescap@harvardmun.org
Topic Area A: Economic Development in Central Asia

Economic development in Central Asia and the Caucasus presents a number of opportunities because of the wealth of natural resources that many of these countries possess. However, in a number of cases, excessive reliance on a single material good has caused countries to fall into the proverbial resource curse, whether in Turkmenistan with oil or in Tajikistan with aluminum production, leading to long-term stunting of the economy. When this is combined with the predatory economic relationship that many of these countries have with Russia, who controls distribution channels to the biggest energy consumers in the West, the further development of the economy presents greater challenges than the GDPs alone of the countries would suggest. Some of these countries have approached this by trying to reorient themselves and their economies. Kyrgyzstan, for example, has sought to pivot from Russia and the greater Eurasian region to East Asia, seeking greater interaction with China. Kazakhstan has courted Western investment, especially in renewable energy and technology sectors, seeking to overcome its historical reliance on petroleum products. In recent years, other countries have sought to gain access to these markets. The announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative by Xi Jinping, a modern day re-imagining of the Silk Road to integrate both Central Asia and the Caucasus, has provided concrete new opportunities for land trade and economic interaction. There is no one set way to proceed with economic development in the regions, but it will be necessary to reconcile the countries’ resource capabilities with the shifting nature of global markets.

Topic Area B: Human Rights in Central Asia

Human rights have historically been applied inconsistently in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Even Kazakhstan, the most economically and socially liberal of the countries in the two regions, is an autocracy whose president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has ruled continuously since the country was granted independence 25 years ago. In other countries, the situation is even worse: Azerbaijan is ruled de facto by the Aliyev family, which is control of the country’s economic, political, and military resources in both the private and public spheres; Turkmenistan is a repressive totalitarian dictatorship which enforces a cult of personality around its leader; while Tajikistan is arguable failed state characterized by civil war for most of its history. Free and fair elections exist in none of these countries, with political success deeply tied to personal connections. Further south, these questions are also tied to matters of Islamization, as the culturally-Persian peoples of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan favoring Islamist forms of government influenced by sharia law. In these areas and others, such as the Ferghana Valley of Uzbekistan, the threat of radicalization looms large, prompting concerns that social progress will be reversed, while in others frozen ethnic conflicts, such as Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, stand in the way of greater progress. When autocratic regimes often provide stability and protection against the human rights violations that accompany chaos, the trade-off between stability and freedom is often difficult to determine. Human rights solutions for the region must take into account and reflect this dichotomy.

Hello everyone,

My name is Yong Han and I am so excited to welcome you to the State Council of the People’s Republic of China! As a rising sophomore at Harvard, I am concentrating in East Asian Studies and Anthropology, with a secondary in Government. Outside of the classroom, I am highly involved in the International Relations Council, an extracurricular umbrella organization that encompasses Harvard’s traveling Model UN team along with HMUN, ICMUN and of course, HMUN China. I also serve as a Peer Advising Fellow, dance for the Asian American Dance troupe, write for the Singapore Policy Journal and am Co-President of the Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia Association.

At HMUN 2018, you will be a part of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. Though China has made significant economic progress, its welfare policies remain highly limited and unequal. Hence, as a council, you will be debating comprehensive welfare reform in modern China, focused on three main issues - healthcare, poverty relief, and housing. Across all three issues, we hope you will be sensitive to the needs of various sub-groups, including urban residents, rural residents, and the “floating” or migrant population. We also keep in mind some central points of contention across the three issues, including tensions between depth and breadth of coverage, the rural-urban divide, the central-local nexus, and the domestic-international tension.

I am confident that with sufficient research, delegates would be able to generate policy solutions that genuinely help address the welfare needs of China’s large and extremely diverse population. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me via my committee email and I will do my best to address them.

Best Wishes,

Yong Han Poh
Director, State Council of the People's Republic of China
prc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Anthony Bogachev and I will be your Crisis Director for the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at Harvard Model United Nations 2018. I am immensely honored to have the opportunity to work with you, and I know that we will have an incredible conference together!

I am a Junior at Harvard, studying Bioengineering with a potential Secondary (Harvard’s version of a Minor) in Global Health. I am originally from the state of Minnesota, although my parents immigrated from the country of Belarus. I was raised in a bi-lingual and bi-cultural household, learning both the English language and American values, as well as the Russian language and Belarussian/Russian cultural principles. As a result, I became passionate about politics and international relations from a young age. Throughout high school, I competed in Debate, Speech, and Model United Nations. Although I was originally not planning on continuing any of these activities in college, Harvard’s vibrant MUN community pulled me in during my very first semester, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. I directed the World Bank at HMUN 2017, and I am incredibly excited to be returning as a Crisis Director.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding researching the topic, learning about your individual country, speaking in committee, or any other problems you may encounter – particularly if they’re related to crises!

Yours,

Anthony Bogachev
Crisis Director, State Council of the People's Republic of China
prc@harvardmun.org
Topic Area: Welfare Reform in China

This committee will be focused on comprehensive welfare reform in modern China. Delegates will be focusing on three main issues - healthcare, poverty relief, and housing. For healthcare, delegates should aim to address the key problems of high costs, narrow coverage, and general supply-side issues including poor medical infrastructure,lack of trained professionals, and overuse of drugs. For poverty relief, delegates should think of how to improve the current minimum income guarantee (dibao) system in China, address the disparity in strength of social safety nets between rural and urban residents, as well as consider the role of international and domestic NGOs in service delivery. Finally, for housing, delegates should work to address the high costs of housing, tackle the inconsistencies in infrastructure regulations and standards, and address the potential for social exclusion through the rise of gated communities. For all three issues, delegates should be sensitive to the needs of the three main groups of target populations - namely urban residents, rural residents, and the “floating” or migrant population. Delegates should also keep in mind some central points of contention across the three issues, including tensions between depth and breadth of coverage, the rural-urban divide, the central-local nexus, and the domestic-international tension.

Note: The State Council of the People's Republic of China is a single-topic committee.

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Singapore

Major: East Asian Studies and Anthropology

Favorite MUN moment: Cuddling with the rest of my dais after HNMUN 2017!

Why HMUN? HMUN is an incredible experience for staff and delegates alike, and a great opportunity for delegates to engage in important issues with other similarly passionate individuals. It's a space to inspire and be inspired.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to speak up, and be constructive in council! Reach out to other delegates, connect, and make friends - the MUN community is an amazing social sphere and some of them will become your friends for life. Most importantly, have fun and don't let the politics/competitiveness of MUN prevent you from fully enjoying the whole experience!

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Bioengineering

Hometown: Maple Grove, MN

Favorite MUN moment: I’ve had so many incredible MUN moments that it’s difficult to pick one! One of my favorites, however, was walking around a hotel in a king’s robe and crown with a team of guards in order to break a crisis. The shock on everybody’s faces was priceless!

Why HMUN? HMUN is one of the only places in the world where thousands of high school students and hundreds of college kids can come together to discuss globally pressing problems while having fun in the process. It provides a platform for debate, learning, and forging friendships. Participating in this experience year after year is a true honor every time.

Advice for new delegates: Beginning a conference can be frightening, but the hardest part is finding the confidence to start. Once you give your first speech or two, pitch an idea during unmoderated caucus, or even just send your first note, everything becomes much, much easier. Everyone can become an incredible delegate once they gain a little bit of momentum, and if you find that that is out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to reach out to any staff member. We are all here to help you in any way possible!

Dear Delegates,

My name is Nadya Okamoto, and I am honored and grateful to be serving as your director for the Non-Governmental Organizations Programme. My personal interest and professional experience are very closely related to what we will be focusing on in committee, so I am excited to hear and see what you as delegates engage in within session. I am the Founder and Executive Director of an NGO called PERIOD, and the co-Founder and Spokesperson for E Pluribus. On campus, I am involved in Intercollegiate Model United Nations (along with HMUN and HNMUN), Harvard Model Congress, Key Change (an acapella group), and Expressions Dance Company (hip-hop dance).

In committee this weekend, we will be discussing some pressing conversations that are necessary to have when innovating solutions for education equity, but also topics that some may see as heavily stigmatized. I hope to hear innovative and disruptive ideas and productive discourse, and hope to see some collaboration pushed forward amongst delegates. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have any questions. Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018, I hope you have an amazing time -- best of luck!

Yours,

Nadya Okamoto
Director, Non-Governmental Organizations Programme
ngo@harvardmun.org
Topic Area: Education Inequity - Gender Equality and Education for Development

When we think of breaking the cycle of poverty and working towards global development, pushing for the fundamental right of every child’s access to a basic education and even higher education becomes increasingly important. Even more so, maximizing the potential of one hundred percent of our population, regardless of sex or gender needs to be prioritized. Right now there are obstacles standing in the way of ensuring every child’s access to school that have not been paid as much attention as demanded, in the past -- and we’re going to change that. This year, our committee will focus on important conversations about complete education equity. More specifically, we will be discussing hygiene, particularly menstrual hygiene management and female genital mutilation, and ending child marriage. Poor menstrual hygiene management or practices that surrounding menstrual hygiene (like female genital mutilation, an obvious human rights violation to many) is the number one reason why girls miss school in developing countries. Female genital mutilation and child marriage are both hard to tackle as issues as well because both are often seen as social custom and tradition -- heavily embedded and valued by communities. Every non-governmental organization working with international communities has to face this challenge: working to respect social custom or the affected community, while also trying to advance their mission for human rights or advocacy in general. This committee will also focus on how schooling is made possible in areas and times of great conflict, specifically with war. Since education inequity has so many faces as an issue -- and is entwined in a spider web of different causes, there will be exciting discourse and opportunities for collaboration this year. This committee and topic area will be both challenging and invigorating, wresting with a numerous set of sliding scales across religions, cultures, ideologies, and institutional methodologies. But ultimately, for today’s most formidable and organized social mobilizers—be it an organization or even a person—it will stake a robustly visionary path, deep into the future.

Note: The Non-Governmental Organizations Programme is a single-topic committee.

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Portland, OR

Major: Government (tentatively)

Favorite MUN moment: Last day of NGO committee last year.

Why HMUN? HMUN is an amazing opportunity to gain insight and experience into what it looks and feels like to work in the real-world as a global delegate -- and make new friends with similar interests and potential life-long mentors.

Advice for new delegates: Really invest in preparing because it will maximize the potential of your participation during committee and that will make all the difference in how active you can be.