Specialized Agencies


The Specialized Agencies (SA) is home to the most creative and imaginative committees of HMUN 2018. Traditionally, committees in the SA are smaller and more intense than those of the other organs. They require all delegates to respond quickly and decisively to crises, and allow each member of the committee to play a critical role in advancing his or her own interests, fashioning meaningful debate, and crafting effective responses to the crises faced by the committee. The SA committees together span a wide range of topics, time periods and regions of the globe, and individually move very quickly due to their small size and generally more experienced delegates.

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Social Studies

Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA

Why HMUN? HMUN conferences surpass any others that I've ever attended in terms of their substantive quality and commitment to the mission of Model United Nations. Committees are consistently creatively designed, well run, and home to excellent and nuanced debate. I am particularly excited by this year's leadership and directorial staff – having worked with many of them in the past, I can say with the utmost confidence that they will meet and surpass HMUN's high standards for quality.

Advice for new delegates: Substance always comes before formal procedural correctness. The purpose of parliamentary procedure is to define a set of discursive structures which enable and incentivize orderly and productive debate: it is simply a means to an end. That being said, you should consult your committee director regarding his or her expectations regarding committee rules and the flow of debate.

Dear Delegates,

My name is John Bowers, and I’ll be serving as Director of the United Nations Security Council committee for HMUN’s sixty-fifth session. This year’s committee will focus on two of today’s most devastatingly pressing humanitarian crises: the ongoing civil war in South Sudan and Venezuela’s economic and political turmoil. First, though, a little bit about myself.

I’m a senior at Harvard College hailing from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I’m concentrating in Social Studies with a secondary in Computer Science, and most of my work revolves around the intersection between policy and emerging technologies. Much of my time is spent at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, where I work on a variety of projects in the tech policy space. Outside of academics, I’m an avid debater, the Secretary General of HMUN China, and the co-chair of Harvard’s Environmental Action Committee. What little free time I have is primarily spent reading, running, and socializing. I’m currently in the process of reading through all of the books that have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in reverse chronological order – just finished “The Sympathizer.”

I could not be more excited for this year’s committee. This will be my third year directing HMUN UNSC, and my fourth time staffing the committee (I was an assistant director my freshman year). Our staff is experienced, tight knit, and committed to the topics and ideas we’ll be exploring together – you’re in very good hands. I can think of no better way to conclude my time as an HMUN staffer, and hope that this last round will be one to remember for all of us.

On a serious note, I am very committed to the use of Model UN as a learning tool above all else. The entire purpose of this committee is to help you better understand some of the most significant, attention-worthy, and downright horrific themes and events of our time. Take them seriously. However, we must also recognize the implicit silliness of the Model UN format. We’ll all be play-acting in a fancy hotel for the weekend while writing documents that almost nobody outside of our committee will ever look at. Remember this when you feel the impulse to backstab, talk over another delegate, or let competition come before content. Awards and recognition are fleeting and insubstantial, but knowledge and perspective can redefine the course of a life. I cannot wait to welcome you all to committee in January!

Yours,

John Bowers
Director, Security Council
sc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Spencer Ma, and I’m currently a junior at Harvard studying economics with a citation in French. I’m so excited to be your crisis director for the Security Council, and I can’t wait to see what all of you have in store for the weekend. A little bit about me – I’m originally from Southern California but somehow was crazy enough to go to the east coast for college. Aside from HMUN, I’m also the Head Delegate for ICMUN, Harvard’s traveling Model UN team, and also I serve as the Under-Secretary-General of Administration for HNMUN-LA (the Latin American version of HNMUN, our college conference). Other than that, I enjoy watching soccer in my free time and being with friends.

During conference, we will be tasked with a wide variety of issues as the Security Council. As one of the most important committees in the United Nations, the debate over the weekend will be substantive and fierce. However, I am confident that each and every one of you will provide substance and creativity when it comes to addressing these issues. Once again, I am ecstatic to be crisis directing for this committee alongside Elliott, and if you have any questions, please let either of us know!

Looking forward to HMUN 2018!

Best,

Spencer Ma
Crisis Director, Security Council
sc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Economics

Hometown: Irvine, California

Why HMUN? HMUN is incredibly special because it is the premier conference for high-school students and seeing the passion and vigor that the delegates have for international relations is especially inspiring.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to speak up or to participate! The more you put in, the more you get out of conference.

Topic A: South Sudanese Crisis

After the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) fought for its independence from Sudan, South Sudan became a sovereign nation in 2011, with Salva Kiir as first President. In December 2013, a political power struggle broke out following Kiir’s accusation that his former Vice President Riek Machar was planning a coup d’état against him. Denying the accusations, Machar mutinied to lead the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO). Soldiers of the ethnic Dinka group quickly aligned themselves with Kiir, and soldiers of the Nuer ethnic group sided with Machar—thus spawned the ongoing South Sudanese Civil War. Fueled by factionalism and ethnic disparity, the fighting has seen over 50,000 killed.

With over 5.1 million people in need of aid, and 4.8 million people facing hunger, the nation is amidst one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. South Sudan is also facing the third largest refugee crisis in the world, as 3.6 million people have been displaced from their home – many are stranded in refugee camps, others have fled to neighbouring African countries, causing major problems for those governments. In 2015, President Kiir signed a peace agreement and re-instated Machar as Vice-President; the armistice short-lived, however, as fighting broke out once again in July 2016. As a nation dealing with unprecedented levels of starvation and displacement amidst a faction-fueled civil war, South Sudan must rely on decisive action of the Security Council to resolve the humanitarian crisis and warfare within its borders.

Topic B: Venezuelan Crisis

After two decades of political turmoil and economic instability in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, founder of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, was elected President in 1998. As the leader of the Bolivarian revolution, Chavez envisioned and promised popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution in the nation; over the course of Maduro’s fourteen-year tenure, however, Venezuela economy plundered and corruption burgeoned. Soon before his death, in February 2013, Chavez devalued the Venezuelan currency, which created food shortages throughout the nation and disconcert amongst Venezuelans. When Chavez died in 2013, a popular election was held wherein Nicholas Maduro, also a member of the PSUV, won with 50.12% of the vote, narrowly beating the opposition’s candidate, Henrique Radonski. With many contesting the election as fraudulent, and others already upset at PSUV over the economic downturn and corruption, Venezuela began experiencing national unrest – falling into the crisis that continues to plague the nation to this today.

Since 2014, protests over the high-level of urban violence, the high level of inflation, the perennial shortages of basic goods—and Maduro’s Presidency—have divided Venezuela. In 2014, Venezuela experienced its worst recession to date, with levels of inflation surpassing 100% - Venezuela had the highest inflation rate in the world in 2015. Since 2015, Maduro has exiled his enemies and has taken hundreds as political prisoners, causing many to announce him a dictator. On March 29th, 2017, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (mainly supporters Maduro) dissolved the National Assembly and took over its legislative powers – opposition has labelled this as a “coup”- but reversed its decision on April 1st. The action nonetheless caused major outcry and protests have officially escalated and have grown more violent. As a nation with rising levels of starvation, violence, and political corruption, Venezuela will look to the UN and the UNSC for recommendations on how to resolve its crises.

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Social Studies with a citation in Chinese

Hometown: Lexington, MA

Why HMUN? HMUN is a successful balance of established tradition and creative spontaneity. Each year, delegates can look forward to detailed background guides and thoroughly structured topic development, yet they can also debate with diverse peers and leave their own mark on a discussion through resolutions or crisis plans. This fusion has been a source of great happiness, surprise, and learning for me, and I hope to help offer you the same experience.

Advice for new delegates: Don't worry about parliamentary procedure or directive format--the dais is always willing to clarify! As long as you are passionate about the ideas driving discussion, you will be successful in communicating them.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the United Nations Historical Security Council, 1987! My name is Isabel Bernhard, and I look forward to serving as your committee director in this sixty-fifth session of Harvard Model United Nations. In our four days together, we will delve into evolving developments in Communist Poland and Soviet-occupied Afghanistan through the broader themes of national sovereignty, populist movements, non-state actors, technology, propaganda, and regime change. Through discussion, crises, directives, and resolutions, you will engage with your own and your peers’ understanding of these influential security crises that have shaped the world of today.

First, a brief self-introduction: I grew up between Taiwan and suburban Massachusetts, two places separated by a 15-hour flight and 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. I am a college sophomore studying Political Science with a minor in Chinese, although I primarily focused on Spanish language and literature in high school. Outside the classroom, I play the flute and piccolo for a school ensemble and devote myself to International Relations-type pursuits through both the International Relations Council and the Institute of Politics.

In keeping with HMUN Security Council tradition, I would like to emphasize that the substance of committee discussion always takes precedence over inter-delegate competition. After this committee comes to a close, the memorable insights you retain will more likely be a result of collaboration and exchange of values than of personal strategy or specific crisis arcs. In responding to decisive crisis points, I urge each of you to eschew replicating historical precedent and to consider alternative endings to the same problems that world leaders faced not so long ago. Your intellectual resourcefulness and nuanced understanding of the depth and breadth of these multidisciplinary challenges will enhance your credentials as an informed global citizen.

The historical convergence of this committee’s themes and their reemergence in recent years’ current events only serve to underscore the importance of grappling with this content and opposing viewpoints within it. In 2016, we saw a Polish Solidarity-esque rise of populism and in the political role of the working man in the United States, which fueled the ascent of Donald Trump. In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, there are echoes of the indiscriminate bombings and human rights violations that characterized the Soviet Afghan strategy. When history repeats itself, we must stand ready to identify archetypal sources of conflict and promote institutional sources of international dialogue and mediation. Once again, I look forward to joining you in this goal of analyzing the past to understand the present and our roles in it.

Yours truly,

Isabel Bernhard
Director, Historical Security Council, 1987
hsc@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Polish Democratization

The chief vehicle for ongoing Polish democratization efforts by 1987 was the independent trade union Solidarity, recognized by the Polish Communist government as a legitimate authority after the 1980 Gdansk Agreement. As Solidarity gained momentum, it began transitioning from a labor organization into a social movement. Using mass mobilization of its allied workers in agriculture and industry, Solidarity often employed strikes to paralyze national economic activity after passage of undesirable government policies. Soon, the Polish authorities recognized the threat Solidarity posed to its legitimacy, and declared martial law from 1981 to 1983. In that period, the secret police applied censorship, confiscation of union funds, and indiscriminate arrests of Solidarity leadership to force its dissolution. Nonetheless, with its network of underground radio emissions and newspaper publications, as well as with covert backing from the Polish Pope John Paul II and the CIA, Solidarity emerged from military rule in a stronger negotiating position. Popular support and international approval have made the organization confident in its demands for representation as a political party in a democratic Poland.

However, in 1987 the situation is far from settled. Economic pressure has increased on the Polish communist government following international sanctions and ripple effects from Gorbachev’s glastnost, perestroika and associated reforms. Solidarity members continue to be persecuted and discriminated, and internal fissures threaten to erupt between union members who support negotiations with the government and those who advocate for open revolution. Meanwhile, the specter of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet invasion still hangs over any Polish democratization process. Member states of the Security Council must consider how to maintain the delicate balance between respecting Poland’s national sovereignty and promoting the values of human rights and democratic self-determination that are manifest in the United Nations charter.

Topic B: Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan

The 1979 Soviet invasion, occupation, and war in Afghanistan was the latest twist in the battle between a secular Afghan government and Muslim rebels begun in 1975. Ever since 1975, Afghan governments had pushed through “modernization” reforms aimed at removing religious and culturally grounded practices from Afghan society. This sparked controversy and civilian protest, which degenerated into open rebellion after the government responded with killings of the religious and intellectual elite.

Simultaneously, since inception the Afghan state had historically relied on Soviet military advisors and aid. In 1979, as it became increasingly unable to contain the domestic mujahedeen rebels, the Afghan government asked for Soviet military assistance. The CIA began to clandestinely fund the mujahedeen once they realized the strategic importance of Afghanistan as a Cold War battleground. Soviet intelligence concluded that the incumbent Afghan government, led by Prime Minister Amin, was untrustworthy because of potential ties to the CIA and too incompetent a partner in combating the mujahedeen. Consequently, the Soviet Union unilaterally invaded Afghanistan.

By 1987, the war the Soviets are waging against the mujahedeen is going poorly. Far from effectively stopping resistance, Soviet intervention has added a dimension of nationalistic fervor to rebel efforts. The mujahedeen have learned how to fight a guerrilla war against Soviet forces, and their sabotage-centered tactics coupled with their continual recovery of contested areas has frustrated Soviet attempts at eradication. International support for the mujahedeen has increased their funding, while Arab ideologues have formed their own militias to join their effort. With a new Soviet premier, Gorbachev, the USSR is rethinking its interventionist foreign policy. The international community must consider how to facilitate the extrication of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, and how to manage the fractious rebel groups that remain without generating additional concerns for international security.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Andrew Jiang, and I am honored to welcome you all to the Historical Security Council at Harvard Model United Nations 2018! I am currently a junior concentrating in Statistics with a secondary in Economics. I am the Head Delegate for Harvard’s traveling Model UN team, and this is my third year working with both HMUN and our sister college conference HNMUN. I served as an Assistant Director in Historical Security Council my freshman year, and directed HSC 1986 last year, which touched upon important Latin American issues at the time. This year, I return as your Crisis Director for the committee, as we delve into the incredibly nuanced and complex topics of Polish Solidarity and Soviets in Afghanistan in the larger scheme of international policy regarding interventionism. With your director, Isabel, I hope to share my passion for historical global issues, especially around the end of the Cold War.

The topics for this committee include two incredibly important points in history that ultimately contributed to the collapse of the USSR – thus, as representatives of the UN Security Council, the power and responsibility to change history at this point in time is quite significant. With a mixture of conflicts regarding communism, religion, and ethnic conflict, I sincerely hope that you enjoy these strikingly pertinent concepts in history. As your Crisis Director, I strive to present to you engaging and relevant crises regarding the two conflicts, and look forward to reading and working with all of your crisis notes and crisis arcs over the four days at conference.

I am incredibly excited to meet all of you at HMUN 2018 and to see the lively debate and crisis that you all commit to at conference. If you have any questions or concerns regarding crisis, please do not hesitate to contact me. Welcome to the most amazing committee at HMUN this year: HSC 1987!

Warm regards,

Andrew Jiang
Crisis Director, Historical Security Council, 1987
hsc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Statistics, secondary in Economics

Hometown: Montgomery, NJ

Favorite MUN moment:

Advice for new delegates: Take your time -- this is a long conference, and it will be difficult. Remember that this is a marathon: so contribute throughout to the debate and make sure that you're always having fun engaging with the material!

Why HMUN? HMUN has always had a special place in my heart because it ultimately is a highly educative experience. Being able to impart substantive knowledge of the time period and the events ongoing has always been one of my passions regarding this conference.

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Computer Science (Secondary: Government)

Hometown: Brasilia, DF, Brazil

Why HMUN? I love HMUN because it brings together students from around the world, empowering them to debate some of the world's most complex issues. As a delegate in HMUN, I experienced the amazing educational experience and international community of the conference, and have been super excited to direct here ever since. HMUN is one of the most fun and substantively rewarding conferences you'll ever attend, so take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much as you can, meet other delegates from around the world, and have a lot of fun!

Advice for new delegates: Ask questions! Crisis can move really quickly and might be a different dynamic from what most of you are are accustomed to. The important thing is to ask for help when you need it and to do your best to balance your actions in committee with those in crisis. Feel free to ask me or Gavin for help and guidance throughout or prior to the conference! If you have any questions whatsoever in relations to what you can and can't do, how crisis is run or anything else, we are here to help and guide you through this awesome type of Model UN.

Class year:2020

Concentration: Joint concentrator in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and Romance Languages & Literatures

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Advice for new delegates: Take advantage of the opportunity, make new friends and immerse yourself in committee!

Why HMUN? HMUN's community, excellent planning, and diversity make it unparalleled amongst high school Model UN conferences.

Dear Ministers,

My name is Pedro Farias, and I will be serving as the President of Brazil and director of the Cabinet of Brazil, 2018. In this cabinet, we will explore the convoluted issues facing Brazil in the present day, including health crises, water shortages, corruption, and the upcoming presidential elections. Through this committee, we will be introduced to the difficulties of multiparty presidentialism and many concerns facing emerging nations. So that we may best work together in conference, however, let me first tell you a little more about myself.

I am currently a sophomore at Harvard College, but I was born and raised in Brazil. I spent almost all of my life in Brasilia, my hometown, with the exception of the year and a half that my family spent in Newton, Massachusetts for my parents’ academic work. I have a multitude of different interests, ranging from my concentration in Computer Science to potential secondaries in Government and Statistics. I am also an avid follower of international relations, and I love Model UN. Outside of my role directing for HMUN, I am a crisis director at HNMUN, our college conference, a director at HNMUN - Latin America, and a delegate myself with Harvard’s travelling team, ICMUN. I also enjoy reading about finance and exploring the crazy world of stocks and bonds.

After college, I see myself working in technology for a while, exploring how we can best use artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide differentiated educational opportunities for as many students as possible, regardless of income level or location. In the long term, I aspire to move back to Brazil and potentially work in the public sector.

With regards to HMUN 2018 in particular, I would like to emphasize the educational goals of this conference. I want each of you to come out of this committee with more knowledge about the current situation in Brazil and the implications this has on the rest of Latin America and around the world. Beyond substantive excellence, I hope that, by participating in this committee, you will further develop crucial life skills such as the arts of communication and persuasion, as well as clear writing and public speaking.

As this is a crisis committee involving Brazilian politics, I strongly expect that there will be much scheming and politicking throughout committee sessions. However, I would like to emphasize that this should never trump substantive excellence and respect for other delegates. Furthermore, I believe that active participation and collaboration in committee tends to be the most rewarding experience in Model UN. The topics we will be discussing are very real and impact the day-to-day lives of many Brazilians and citizens around the globe. I aspire to run a committee where we are able to learn more about these problems and propose innovative solutions to attempt to solve or mitigate them, as well as to be in an environment where we are all learning and evolving, while having a lot of fun. In truth, my primary goal is to make HMUN 2018 one of, if not the, best and most fun conferences you have ever attended.

I look forward to meeting you all in January!

Pedro Luís Cunha Farias
Director, The Presidential Cabinet of Brazil, 2018
brazil@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the sixty-fifth session of Harvard Model United Nations. My name is Gavin Moulton, and I will be serving as your Crisis Director in the Presidential Cabinet of Brazil, 2018. Working with your director, Pedro Farias, I have spent the past year planning, strategizing, and researching to make this an incredible experience. Together we’ll delve into the intense world of 21st-century Brazilian politics. Be ready for a wide range of crises that will test your collective ability to effectively govern!

A brief introduction about myself; I’m a current sophomore at Harvard studying the history, architecture, and languages of the northern Mediterranean region. Originally hailing from the sunny southeast coast of Virginia, I grew up both in the U.S. and abroad. At Harvard, I am involved with the International Relations Council, HMUN’s sister college school conference HNMUN, the Francophone Society, and Harvard Student Agencies where I work as a travel writer. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in academia or government service.

During committee, I hope that each of you gains a newfound perspective on the challenges government leaders face through a substantive, realistic, and hands on experience. This is your chance to explore how world leaders overcome, or fail to overcome, major global issues. The challenges we will discuss are pertinent not only to Brazil, but also to the larger global community. Beyond the in-committee experience, take advantage of all HMUN has to offer - make friends, enjoy Boston, and have fun!

The entire staff of HMUN believes strongly in the importance of the educational role that our conference provides. By collaborating with your peers from across the globe on a wide variety of challenges, it is my sincere hope that you all leave conference better prepared to make a positive difference in the world.

Sincerely,

Gavin Moulton
Crisis Director, Presidential Cabinet of Brazil, 2018
brazil@harvardmun.org
Topic A: The 2018 Presidential Elections

President Dilma Rousseff was impeached two years ago, ending the Worker’s Party (PT) control of the presidency after nearly 14 years. Her vice-president, Michael Temer, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) is now president. Temer has announced he will not run for reelection. In previous years, the PMDB would ally itself with either the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) or the PT. However, they have confirmed that in 2018 they will launch their own presidential candidate. With many members of the PSDB also in Temer’s cabinet, the ministers must find a balance between cooperating to ensure Brazil is properly governed, while finding ways to support their parties’ candidates.

To make matters even more complex, the cabinet has a total of nine parties represented, and two other politicians whose parties are not in the current governing coalition have announced their presidential bids. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (better known as Lula), a former two-term president of Brazil will run representing the PT. Despite many investigations against him in the Lava Jato Operation, he has consistently done well in the polls. In addition, Jair Bolsonaro, of the Social Christian Party (PSC), is quickly gaining support with right-leaning voters. The 2018 elections will prove to be one of the most important elections since Brazil’s re-democratization in 1985, as it is an opportunity for many new politicians to rise to the occasion and capitalize on the population’s increasing frustration with the establishment. As this committee spans the year leading up to the election, the presidential cabinet will play an important role in the course of the election cycle. Where will this election take Latin America’s largest economy? Who will inspire and conquer the hearts of the Brazilian population?

Topic B: Governing “The Country of Tomorrow”

While political scheming and compromise are of utmost importance to the upcoming elections, the ministers cannot neglect the fragile state Brazil is in, and you have the responsibility of governing the country until its future is decided later this year. The population still strongly distrusts its government due to rampant corruption by nearly all major parties in the country. In order to regain their confidence, the ministers must find a way to accelerate the nation’s economic growth, while being careful not to interfere too heavily in the economy, provoking another recession. Furthermore, many regions of Brazil have experienced droughts in the recent years and some of them, including the capital city, Brasilia, are undergoing water rationing, increasing public unrest even further.

Brazilians will also look towards three key issues when deciding how to cast their votes and, if the current government wants to have any chance in staying in power, it must provide significant contributions to mitigate these issues. Public health is a major concern, especially after outbreaks of the Zika virus, dengue, and, more recently, Yellow Fever. Public hospitals are almost always full of patients and extremely understaffed. Brazilians have also grown tired of low quality education and limited educational opportunities for their children. The educational system in the country requires significant overhaul in order to produce tangible improvements. As the basis for a better future, education cannot be neglected. Finally, the streets of the country grow ever more dangerous and violent, as criminals riot and escape from prisons due to repeated overcrowding. Governing such a vast and diverse country is no easy feat and only time will tell if you, the cabinet, are up for this challenge.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2020

Concentration:Mathematics and Comparative Literature Joint, with a Secondary in Economics

Hometown: New Delhi, India and Tucson, Arizona

Why HMUN? HMUN is one of the few conferences in the world that exceptionally ties together three themes: Incredibly substantive debate experience, a thorough education in topics of global political importance, and the opportunity to meet incredible people from all around the country and world.

Advice for new delegates: Really, truly, just be yourself. No matter what training you may have received or not received, and how you've been told to act or not act, your confidence in your own demeanor and the beliefs you represent will shine through.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Economics (Government Secondary)

Hometown: Clayton, CA

Why HMUN? HMUN is the Super Bowl of high school Model UN.

Advice for new delegates: Have fun. Come prepared with research and a comprehensive knowledge of the topic.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Jay Gopalan, and it’s my pleasure to serve as Director for the Indian Congress Working Committee for HMUN this February! As far as I’m aware, I’ve never encountered a committee quite like this one before, and I’m excited for us to engage with the different political, economic, and social nuances of this pivotal moment in India’s history.

I’ve spent much of my life moving back and forth between the United States and India. I went to middle school and half of high school in Gurgaon (right next to New Delhi), and graduated from high school in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, I heard the conflicting calls of my parents, teachers, and my own desires pulling me between disparate fields, so I’ve decided to have my cake and eat it too, by double majoring in both Math and Comparative Literature. Besides MUN and academics, I also play the piano and trombone, and I am currently struggling to learn how to beat people at chess.

I see this committee serving primarily to follow the tenure of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, watching India flirt with both authoritarianism and socialism as it found its place in the world. As the executive decision-making branch of the Congress Party as it exists in 1966, you will be responsible for working with or against the Prime Minister to best serve your political goals, and best secure India’s future prosperity. Given the long time-frame with several major developments, you will be representing some of the most influential leaders from around the given era.

I think Indira Gandhi’s period of rule forced India to approach some of the same big questions that have plagued other post-colonial nations, from which the nation had previously imagined itself exempt. Even though India has always prided itself on being the world’s largest democracy, how successful have the electoral processes been at real change on the country’s most endemic issues––such as poverty, infrastructure, and social inequality? When does democracy provide compelling enough of a moral impetus to be worth it no matter what? How can we understand some of the darker periods of modern Indian society, immediately following one of the world’s most unique independence struggles?

I hope that we can approach these questions and more in this committee, in a context that is very dear to my heart.

Yours sincerely,

Jay Gopalan
Director, Indian Congress Working Committee, 1966
india@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Olu Oisaghie. I am a sophomore at Harvard studying economics, and I am excited to be your crisis director for the Indian Congress Working Committee this February. I believe that this committee will give you a chance to explore a very exciting period of Indian history, and I hope to help craft a rewarding and educational experience for you through crisis.

At Harvard, I am on the Intercollegiate Model United Nations team, have been a director or assistant director at Harvard’s high school and college Model United Nations conferences the past three years, and have been an elected member of student government since my freshman year of high school. I am particularly interested in issues of democratization, democratic stability, and economic development. Outside of school, my passions include reading novels, writing poetry, keeping up with the news, and working on my mixtape.

Alongside the fabulous Jay Gopalan, your committee director, who will be taking the lead in the committee room, I will be working in the crisis room to help create a dynamic, fast-paced committee where you will be interacting with issues of nation-building, political and economic turmoil, and major foreign policy issues. In this context, you will be working to achieve the objectives of your party, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, of the Indian nation-state, and, of course, of your individual characters.

I look forward to meeting you all at the conference. I wish you the best of luck with your preparation, and I hope your efforts pay off in the committee room.

Sincerely,

Olu Oisaghie
Crisis Director, Indian Congress Working Committee, 1966
india@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Authoritarian Rule in India

Without a doubt, the most controversial period in India’s history is the state of emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, where she took the authority to rule by Presidential decree. Although this has been invoked at two other points, today, the emergency period presided over by Indira Gandhi from 1975-1977 is referred to unequivocally as “The Emergency Era.” This was the first time that an emergency was declared in time of peace, due to Indira Gandhi’s political struggles.

Some of her presidential decrees included jailing protesters and prominent leaders of the opposition party, censoring newspapers, and (controversially) forced sterilizations. In 1977, this resulted in a split of the Congress party between supporters of Indira Gandhi’s mode of government, and her opponents. While the Emergency Era was the most obvious example, the seeds of authoritarianism grew throughout Indira Gandhi’s rule––as she gained more and more support following the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, it became easier for her to build a government around her own personality and family, instead of democratic institutions themselves.

Topic B: Ethnic Tension

The state of India as we know it today only exists as a postcolonial device, based on British convenience. India today contains many different nations and peoples, often distinct in history, language, culture, and religion. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikhs (her own bodyguards), who were unhappy with her treatment of the Sikh minority population at the Golden Temple. Her son, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by a female Tamil suicide bomber at a rally, representing the Tamil Tigers fighting for Tamil independence in Sri Lanka. These are just emblematic of the ethnic tensions that have always faced India, and that the government has always had to accommodate.

As a structurally unitary state, India takes care in maintaining a strong federal government, deferring only limited powers to states. Since 1956, the states in India have been based on purely linguistic lines. This leaves them open to religious and socioeconomic tension, particularly with some of the most underrepresented groups in society, such as Sikhs. In the 70s and 80s were when some of these groups became more and more militant, leaving it up to the government to adequately appease and put down different factions.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Government, undecided secondary

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA

Why HMUN? HMUN is one of the few places where the world really comes together to discuss important international issues and learn about diplomacy and what it takes to keep the world spinning. Take advantage of this! You may have people from all over the world in your committee, or possible future friends and classmates across the hall or in the next hotel room. Meet people! Have fun! Learn about the world!

Advice for new delegates: Speak up! It's always nice to hear a new voice, even if you think you don't have something important to say, Model UN is all about giving speeches. Who knows? An insight you may think is trivial may turn the entire committee around. Don't be afraid of risks either! It's better to be daring and make a mistake (if mistakes are even possible in Model UN) then to hide and worry!

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Government, Citation in Spanish

Hometown: New Era, MI

Advice for new delegates: Don't psych yourself out. You are full of good ideas and we all want to hear them. You're not here to sit in the back corner in silence. Make yourself heard.

Why HMUN? HMUN is a fantastic educational experience filled with incredible people, incredible talent, and incredible fun.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Sam Throm, and I will be serving as the Committee Director for President Lyndon Johnson’s Cabinet and Advisors, 1963. I’m excited to explore this pivotal moment in American history with you all, using the debate and crisis simulation of Model UN to experience the intense diplomacy and decision making that goes on all around us in the real world.

A bit about myself: Originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, I’m a sophomore in Harvard College, concentrating in Government with interest in International Relations and Comparative Politics. I plan to get a secondary concentration in area studies, although I haven’t decided what area of the world to study yet! With my interests, Model UN has been a natural fit for me since high school, and I’d like to take the skills and techniques I learn here to the professional level, either working in the U.S. State Department, Foreign Service, World Food Prize, or the American Olympic Committee. Outside of Model UN, I work on campus in various positions and spend much of my time with the Harvard International Relations Council programs.

For me, Model UN offers an unprecedented opportunity to substantively engage with divisive topics in a fun and exciting way while teaching all participants the values of diplomacy and constructive discourse. While winning awards and creating intricate crisis arcs bring momentary joy, the skills and experience gained from Model UN last a lifetime. Never should chaos and improvisation rise above substantial debate. Committee is a place where ideas are born and discussed in a unique fashion, and cooperation and policy take center stage as we navigate our way through a tumultuous time in American politics. Harvard Model United Nations brings delegates from around the world to debate these topics with you, and I implore you to seek out these differing viewpoints, either from learning about your position, debating a directive, or talking in the halls of the Sheraton with your fellow delegates.

The committee topics are as pressing now as they were in 1963; the seeming end of an era and rise of mass protests around crucial domestic policies while the country debated its position in the world. From the Great Society and War on Poverty to the escalation of the Vietnam War and Cold War diplomacy, the committee will have to balance effective solutions to these crucial issues while keeping public opinion and the upcoming election in mind. These issues never fade, and every government faces them in some form or another. Are you up to the challenge? I’m excited to start session this year with all of you!

Sincerely,

Sam Throm
Director, President Johnson's Cabinet, 1963
johnson@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Frankie Hill, and I will be serving as your Crisis Director for Lyndon Johnson’s Cabinet, 1963. I am very excited to be simulating such a formative period in the United States’ modern popular history. Together, we will blaze a new path forward in our quest to make a truly great society.

We chose to focus on LBJ this year for a number of reasons. The parallels that can be drawn between 1963 and today are numerous and thrilling. Turning on the news, it is evident that mass protest, military escalation, and wildly unpopular leadership are all far from outdated. I hope that the topics we discuss at conference this year will prove applicable to your own lives and that the nuance that is introduced will help you to better understand both the present day and your own personal feelings.

MUN, for me, is an opportunity to learn about the world, practice important skills, and work with others. I am thrilled to be facilitating your growth this year at HMUN, and I hope to spend some time talking with each of you at conference.

Sam and I are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to cover a time period that we are passionate about. All of my favorite music is from this time period, so you can imagine the joy this is bringing me. Everyone is welcome here in Johnson’s Cabinet; from Fortunate Sons to those Born in the U.S.A. to the Universal Soldier to those that are just trying to Catch the Wind. Whether you’re Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Blowin’ in the Wind, or you’re just asking “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” For What it’s Worth, I’m hyped to have you here.

Hop aboard the Peace Train and welcome to the sixties!

Frankie Hill
Crisis Director, President Johnson's Cabinet, 1963
johnson@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Domestic Policy Initiatives

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 sent shockwaves across the country; the country’s youngest president ever was brutally murdered in broad daylight, shattering any notions of security and well-being that had existed before. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was quickly sworn in while on a plane, taking command of a shaken public and divided country. Three days later, JFK was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, and President Johnson’s job began in earnest. Spurred by his predecessor’s death, Johnson began pushing the Civil Rights Act, working to extend protections to massive sections of the American public that lacked basic rights through discrimination and prejudice. While lauded by some, the Act is not without controversy and antagonism, and choices made during the process will affect Johnson and the Democratic party for decades to come, and even today faces regular challenges and expansions of who and what the Act protects.

President Johnson also sought to wage a “War on Poverty” through the implementation of what has already became known as Great Society legislation, writing the largest reform since President Roosevelt’s New Deal during World War II. Even more contentious than the Civil Rights Act, the legislation faces outcry from the Republican Party and conservatives, while many who stand to benefit from its measures watch assistance funds dry up in the name of the Cold War. At the same time, the earliest protests for greater protection of African Americans in the American South and other issues such as environmentalism and nuclear non-proliferation began, not to mention the massive anti-war and student protests that gripped the nation in the decade to come. With an upcoming election, public approval weighed heavily on every action.

Topic B: Cold War Diplomacy

President Kennedy may have dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, but the threat of nuclear war and the containment of Communism remained the defining factor of American foreign policy during this time. War in Korea had ended in a stalemate between U.N. and Chinese/Korean forces, but the war in Southeast Asia had just begun. Capitalist South Vietnam was rapidly losing ground to the Communist North Vietnam, and while President Kennedy had sent some men to assist the South, Soviet involvement in the North coupled with ineffective governance in South Vietnam tipped the scales to the North. The Johnson Administration had to choose to either escalate the war and face the later backlash at home or see further expansion of Communism and effective victory for the Soviets. This issue truly defined the era, from protest songs to anti-war marches and draft dodging. The question remains for the committee to decide America’s stance against communism and in protecting its allies and interests abroad.

Beyond Southeast Asia, the Cold War raged on in the upper atmosphere and outer space. Since the successful Soviet launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, the two superpowers had vied for geopolitical and extraterrestrial supremacy. With Freedom 7 having recently taken Alan B. Shepard into space, President Kennedy’s charge of putting an American on the moon before 1970 seemed possible, but not without great effort. Both superpowers had growing orbital capabilities and rocketry technology, and Soviet and American scientists worked tirelessly to gain the upper hand. The amount of resources poured into space exploration seemed frivolous to many, especially with pressing domestic issues. These endeavors also drew ire from anti-nuclear and environmental activists, who saw the rocketry technology advancement as pushing the world past the tipping point and into another global war. Balancing these domestic interests with the realities of the world at large will rest on the committee.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Joint Concentration in Classics and History, Secondary in Economics

Hometown: Melrose, MA

Why HMUN? I was drawn to HMUN because of its incredible learning opportunities - both for delegates and staff. When I participated in MUN in high school, I always felt like I learned the most from interacting with my fellow delegates. Now as a director, I have the chance not only to steer and facilitate that discussion, but also to gain new perspectives from delegates. There is no better place for this than HMUN - as I learned as an AD, the diversity and impressive knowledge of students really sets this conference apart.

Advice for new delegates: Particularly with this committee, I feel that the most important piece of advice for delegates is to focus on the "why" and not the "what" of the events in committee. Focusing on the key themes of our topic I think will really facilitate both research leading up to committee and discussion within it.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Erin Olivieri, and it is my distinct honor and pleasure to serve as the Crisis Director of the Roman Senate in 63 BCE for Harvard Model United Nations 2018. I and the rest of the conference staff wish to extend a warm welcome as you join us in Boston this January.

To tell you a bit about me, I am currently a junior at Harvard College, studying Government with a secondary field in Astrophysics. These two topics are exactly as disparate as they sound, but we are going to be considering some major themes in the former throughout this committee (and the Romans made major contributions to the latter)! In the theme of dichotomies, I was born on Long Island (suburban New York) and moved to Montana (rural, mountainous area) when I was ten years old, two places which are just about as different as Government and Astrophysics are. I cannot wait to get to know a little bit about each of you in the next few months!

This committee is, at its core, grappling with questions of conspiracy, legitimacy of oversight, capital punishment, judicial systems, patronage and violence, and military efficiency. As your Crisis Director, my job is to keep committee moving dynamically, reflecting your will through crisis notes (personal directives) as well as the historical context of the day. I am, in that mission, committed to fostering the most accessible and substantively excellent committee that I possibly can in the mission of HMUN 2018. Please feel free to reach out to me or your director, Joe, if you have any questions or concerns in the coming months, or if you want to introduce yourself. Otherwise, I cannot wait to see you all in January!

Sincerely,

Erin Olivieri
Crisis Director, The Roman Senate, 63 BCE
roman@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Joe Valente, and I am honored to serve as the Director of the Roman Senate in 63 BCE for Harvard Model United Nations 2018. I want to welcome you on behalf of the entire committee staff, and I look forward to seeing you all at conference in January.

I am currently a Junior at Harvard College, living in Kirkland House and concentrating jointly in Classics and History, with a secondary field in Economics. As you can probably tell given the topic of this committee, I am passionate about the classics and particularly love the political history of the Roman Republic. Despite his many flaws, Cicero is one of my favorite Latin authors, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with his material in a MUN setting.

I was born and raised just north of Boston and chose to stay nearby for college in part because I love the city. Outside of Model UN, I am the Co-Director of Harvard’s Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, and President of the Harvard Classics Club.

While the elements of conspiracy and political intrigue will certainly keep committee lively, this topic is really about much more than this. The Catilinian Conspiracy raises questions of political legitimacy, administration of justice, capital punishment, government oversight, and political factionalism. These issues may take different forms today, but they are still central to our discussions of government. I can’t wait to see you all discuss these issues in Boston this January. Please feel free to reach out to me or Erin, my Crisis Director, with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Joe Valente
Director, The Roman Senate, 63 BCE
roman@harvardmun.org
Topic Area: The Roman Senate

Governing the Roman Republic in the 1st century BCE was a daunting task for the Senate. Grappling with a rapidly expanding overseas empire in addition to growing domestic troubles proved difficult for a magistracy designed to govern the city of Rome and its immediate surroundings. These administrative issues would continue to compound over the course of the century, and one serious flashpoint was the Catilinian Conspiracy - a defining moment for the Roman Senate. On November 9th, 63 BCE the Senate are set to meet in the Temple of Jupiter Stator with Cicero presenting his case against Catiline and his co-conspirators. The debate will rage on for several months, all while Catiline is amassing forces in Etruria.

While the primary concern of the Senate at this time is corruption and conspiracy within its ranks, a variety of other issues have contributed to the situation, and these call for discussion and reform within the Senate. Issues of Senatorial oversight, applications of the justice system, capital punishment, and class conflict mar the Republic in the 1st century BCE, and 63 BCE is certainly no different. The Senate, therefore, must create a stable, legitimate magistracy and determine the outcome of Catiline’s conspiracy while setting a precedent for the future, while still governing the daily activities of Rome.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Buttle, MT, USA

Favorite MUN moment: I once wrote a speech for Neil Degrasse Tyson!

Advice for new delegates: Just stay calm (easier said than done). Experienced delegates can definitely be intimidating, but remember: they were new to this activity once, too! If you're nervous talking in front of a crowd, feel free to push your ideas in unmoderated caucus, one-on-one with other delegates through notes, or in the crisis room. Absolutely everyone can contribute amazing perspectives to any issue being debated, and that is not a quality dependent upon the number of years you have been doing this. Also, do not hesitate to talk to the dais if you're feeling uncomfortable before or during conference. In the end, we are here to make sure that you get as much out of HMUN as you can, and that you have a weekend of building memories!

Why HMUN? HMUN is the most prestigious, most competitive, and oldest Model UN conference in the world for a reason, and it isn't because we accept only the most experienced delegates. I had the opportunity at HMUN 2017 to serve as the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, where I witnessed first-hand the incredible dedication, passion, and cooperation that HMUN delegates bring to the table, regardless of whether this is their first or fifteenth high school MUN conference. I fell in love with this conference not only for the staff -- always willing to take the time to help delegates in any way they can -- but for the delegates themselves, who improve so many skills from negotiating to public speaking in just a weekend, and always maintain the ability to have fun while they're doing so. Such an abundance of high-quality delegates, students, and frankly people isn't something that I've often been able to find outside of HMUN.

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Government - Secondary in Economics - Citation in Spanish

Hometown: Mansoura, Egypt

Why HMUN? I fell in love with MUN ever since I tried it for the first time as an assistant director for HMUN 2017. It's a great opportunity to discuss and learn a lot about a global issue that you care about while making friends with some of the most incredible people from all around the world. It's one of the few places where you can have a conversation about international political economy followed by an argument about the best Harry Potter movie; Therefore, it's an invaluable experience both on a professional and a personal level, and it is really is a unique community.

Advice for new delegates: Be prepared to be challenged, but don't stress out too much about it. See HMUN as an opportunity to learn and grow as an individual, and as a chance to have a lot of fun!

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Mechanical Engineering, Secondary in Economics

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt

Why HMUN? HMUN is an incredible experience to meet delegates from uniquely diverse backgrounds, intellectual interests, and worldly perspectives. The conference is a lifetime opportunity to engage with fellow peers in a setting that is remarkable and has shaped so many of my most memorable and cherished experiences.

Advice for new delegates: Never be afraid to ask for help.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Adham Bedir, and I’ll be serving as Director of the Cabinet of Egypt, 2013 for HMUN’s sixty-fifth session. Together we will be re-living one of the most critical moments of modern Middle Eastern history, and we’ll be engaging in a deep and enriching learning experience in which we will explore topics ranging from post-revolutionary economic policy to political Islam and how it plays into the world of international relations and foreign policy. However, before delving into the details, let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I’m currently a sophomore at Harvard College, and I come from the small city of Mansoura, Egypt. I’m currently living in Kirkland house, and I’m concentrating in Government with a secondary in Economics and a citation in Spanish. As of right now, I’m quite unsure about what I want to do after college, so I’m still trying to figure things out. Apart from my academic interests, I have a number of seemingly unrelated interests such as international relations, social entrepreneurship, and fitness.

My first experience with Model UN was the sixty-fourth session of HMUN last January, and I fell in love with it ever since. I came to understand the value of MUN as an unmatchable learning experience that allows you to engage deeply with and learn more about a global issue that you care about. MUN is a deeply enriching experience on both professional and personal levels as you will get to develop your skills as a politician and a critical-thinker; all while making friendships that are going to last a lifetime with some of the brightest minds in the world. Having lived in Egypt for my whole life, and having been through all of the events that we will be discussing in the committee, I feel strongly about this committee and I believe that it will be a deeply rewarding experience for all of you.

Being in the shoes of a Cabinet Member of post-revolutionary Egypt is by no means an easy task, so be ready to be challenged. You’ll be challenged to think critically about a myriad of contentious issues and find innovative solutions to address some of the problems that politicians and diplomats deal with on a daily basis. However, rest assured that you’ll have an experience that is extremely rewarding, entertaining, and truly unique to MUN and to the Specialized Agencies. I hope that you are as excited about this committee as I am, and I’m looking forward to working with you all on having an incredible experience in HMUN 2018.

Sincerely,

Adham Bedir
Director, Cabinet of Egypt, 2013
egypt@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Hello and welcome to HMUN 2018! My name is Ibrahim Elnaggar and I am honored to be serving as your crisis director for the Cabinet of Egypt 2013 at this year’s Harvard Model United Nations conference. I am already excited to get to know you all as we approach our first committee session in January, and I hope that you are all eager to begin your research journey as you prepare for conference.

Just to tell you all a bit about myself, I grew up in the bustling heart of Cairo, Egypt, where I lived for 18 years before moving to the ‘city’ (feels more like a town to me) of Cambridge to study at Harvard. I am concentrating in Mechanical Engineering with a Secondary in Economics and am hoping to pursue a career in the renewable energy industry in the MENA region. Besides academics, I am a member of the Harvard Rugby Football Club, a panel director for Harvard Arab Weekend, and a member of the Harvard College Consulting Group. I also am very passionate about football (soccer), listen to most genres of music, and will often mix Arabic, English and French in a single sentence.

Model United Nations has also been a huge part of my extracurricular involvement. Back home, I was a member of my school’s MUN club since the 8th grade and fell in love with it the moment I approached my first podium as the delegate of Bahrain. Throughout high school, I was involved with several international conferences in Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and the US, and was an HMUN GA delegate in 2014. At Harvard, I was an Assistant Director for the Legal Committee in HMUN 2016, an Assistant Director for the Kurdish Regional Government Cabinet in HNMUN 2016, and a Director for SPECPOL in HMUN 2017.

Looking back at all these experiences, I can think of a way that every conference has helped shape my academic and social character. Therefore, I hope that each and every one of you finds your own way of connecting with this year’s session. Whether it be by speaking to a large public forum for the first time or meeting a fellow delegate that opens your mind to new perspectives, I hope that your experience in the HMUN 2018 SA leaves you with something unique to remember.

Best,

Ibrahim Elnaggar
Crisis Director, Cabinet of Egypt, 2013
egypt@harvardmun.org
Topic A: The Economy, Domestic Unrest, and Other National Issues

Prior to the Arab Spring, Egypt came to be known as a notoriously corrupt, bureaucratic police state. Although a rich country in both its natural and human resources, the Egyptian people were poor. The government corruption directed all the country’s resources to serve the elites. Therefore, the Egyptian people stormed to the streets on the 25th of January, 2011 and started a revolution with the simple slogan of “bread, freedom, and social justice.” Following the ousting of Mubarak’s regime, Egypt had its first democratic elections in 2012, and Mohamed Morsi, a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, became the first islamist in history to be elected as president of an Arab state.

The economy is on top of the issues that the cabinet will be dealing with, and you, the ministers of Egypt, will have to set the agenda for the necessary steps required to achieve the 100-day goals made by Mr. Morsi during his campaign. You must devise policies to drive industrial and agricultural growth and to revive the perished tourism industry that used to be one of Egypt’s highest sources of income prior to the revolution. Moreover, the cabinet will be faced with pressures from remnants of the old regime, which will be exerting their influence to cripple the economy and cause domestic unrest. Also, the rising inflation rate is yet another grievance for both the government and for the poor citizens alike. Having been oppressed by the regime and especially by the police forces for most of their adult lives, the Egyptian youth are unwavering in their commitment to a future Egypt that is free from government corruption and police oppression. Therefore, the cabinet members will engage in a constant battle against the deeply engraved corruption culture within the already dysfunctional government bodies and will have to take measures to cease police violence and promote human rights in order to assuage these tensions.

Topic B: Foreign Affairs

Egypt is one of the key elements in the stability of the Middle East and has long maintained peace between Israel and the rest of the Arab community ever since the Camp David accords. The first Islamist to be elected as president for an Arab state, Mr. Morsi has changed the perspective of many in the international community, especially the U.S. and Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood has been labeled a terrorist organization by a number of governments across the world, and it was banned from political life during the Mubarak regime. The MB has long held a hostile position towards Israel and is believed to have strong tries with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Moreover, rising tensions between the Sunni and the Shi’a factions are on the horizon even though Iran has declared its willingness to work with Mr. Morsi’s Islamic government.

On another note, Ethiopia has just started the construction of the Renaissance Dam, which is considered to be an existential threat to the very existence of Egypt because it can severely impact the country’s water resources. Ever since Ethiopia first suggested the project during the days of Anwar al-Sadat, Egypt’s reaction has been a mix of diplomatic negotiation and outright threats of military action. Both the African community and the west are split between support and opposition to the Ethiopian project, and the cabinet members will be responsible for deciding on the best mode of action. How will you, the current cabinet, deter Ethiopia from constructing the dam without endangering Egypt’s position in the international community?

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Bioengineering

Hometown: Gaylord, MI

Why HMUN? HMUN is a fantastic way to learn about the world around you, hear creative solutions to the world's most pressing problems, and improve your diplomatic skills while surrounded by amazing people.

Advice for new delegates: If you are ever confused, talk to your director! There are three things that the directors at HMUN love above all else: MUN, HMUN delegates, and their topics! Understanding the topic, the flow of committee, and your role in the committee will make your experience much more fulfilling. Your directors want nothing more than to help you figure these things out. So if you ever have a question (or even if you just want to say hi), go and talk to them!

Class Year: 2019

Concentration: History (secondary in economics)

Hometown: South Orange, NJ

Why HMUN? HMUN is amazing because delegates are all super excited to be there, and get to work together to attempt to solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to use crisis! We are here to help you learn to use it as an effective tool for furthering your goals for committee.

Dear Delegates,

My name is McKenna Roberts and I am thrilled to be serving as the Director of the Defense, Internal Affairs, and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Latvian Parliament 2020. During our time together at conference, I look forward to discussing the wide range of challenges faced by Latvia- from cyber security, to environmental protection, to possible Russian invasions! But, before delving into this fascinating topic, let me introduce myself.

I have lived in many different places, but I consider myself to be from Gaylord, Michigan, a small town with wonderful people, many trees, and not much else! I loved my time there and was a member of my high school basketball, MUN, Mock trial, and archery teams. My favorite high school experience was a medical relief trip I went on to Nicaragua. The trip opened my eyes to the devastating health effects of poverty and has driven me to pursue a career in global health. As such, I am concentrating in Biomedical Engineering with a secondary in Global Health and Health policy. In the future, I hope to become a doctor and work in third world countries to improve healthcare equity.

As a junior concentrating in Biomedical Engineering, I appreciate MUN and the opportunity to delve into problems that I rarely encounter in class. I joined the HMUN staff my freshman year and fell in love with the conference! The topic of this committee is particularly close to my heart, because for my first two years of high school I lived in Riga, Latvia. While there, I witnessed first-hand the challenges faced by the nation; from the struggle provide for a low-income population, to the constant concern about the Kremlin intervening in national issues. I also saw how these regional issues could easily escalate to have a global impact. At conference, I can’t wait to hear your thought on these topics and see how you address the complex issues we discuss!

Sincerely,

McKenna Roberts
Director, Latvian Parliament 2020
latvia@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Hello and welcome to Harvard National Model United Nations 2018! My name is Will Strang, and I will be serving as the crisis director for the Defense, Internal Affairs, and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Latvian Parliament 2020, a committee which I am sure will be exciting and thought-provoking.

I am currently a junior at Harvard studying history with a potential secondary in economics. Although I am originally from New Jersey, I grew up around the world in Moscow, Jakarta, Manila, and currently Malta (although I went to boarding school in the Boston area for high school). I started doing MUN during my freshman year of college, and I have previously served as both a director and assistant director at HMUN and HNMUN over the past two years while also competing on Harvard’s intercollegiate MUN team. In my free time, I love playing ultimate Frisbee and pickup basketball and watching (and re-watching) The Office.

As a nation that straddles the peripheries of Western and Russian spheres of influence, Latvia is uniquely poised to pursue a variety of strategies in confronting domestic and international issues while it strikes out towards an uncertain future. This committee presents an amazing opportunity for delegates to utilize both committee directives and crisis to attempt to address the unique problems confronting Latvia in the 21st century. More broadly, HMUN is an amazing opportunity to both expand your substantive knowledge and improve your skills of diplomacy, as you will have the opportunity to cooperate with other delegates while tackling relevant real-world issues. I am extremely excited to see your creative ideas play out in committee!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to seeing you in January!

Sincerely,

Will Strang
Crisis Director, Defense, Internal Affairs, and Corruption Committee of the Latvian Parliament, 2020
latvia@harvardmun.org

Since the beginning of the 1900’s Latvians have struggled to gain and retain their independence. In 1920, Latvian’s declared independence from Soviet Russia for the first time and created a small country of less than two million people situated between present day Russia and the Baltic Sea. Unfortunately, after World War II the nation was incorporated into the Soviet Union against the wishes of the Latvian people. This occupation lasted until 1991, when Latvia declared independence once again.

Although, Latvia is now a sovereign nation, its small size makes it challenging for the nation to act autonomously, without worrying about the response of its allies and neighbors. As Latvia moves into the future, there are many issues it must consider to maintain the ability to act in the best interest of its citizens and not in the best interests of its allies. The Defense, Internal Affairs, and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Latvian Parliament prepares policy on a number of issues faced by the nation including National Security, the military mobilization, police mobilization, border guard law, immigration law, and corruption prevention. With this wide area of jurisdiction, the committee can address both internal and international issues that affect Latvia’s ability to act independently.

Challenges that this Committee will need to consider include Latvia’s border, energy, economic, and cyber security. Of paramount concern to this committee is Latvian border security. Approximately 30% of the Latvian population is ethnically Russian. After the recent Russian invasion of Crimea, a portion of the Ukraine with a large ethnic Russian population, protection of the Latvian border should be a major consideration of this committee. Energy security is also an important issue in Latvia. Latvia’s primary energy source is natural gas controlled by Russian gas countries. This dependency must be evaluated by the government to ensure that it cannot be used as leverage by outside powers. In addition, this committee should consider the economic implications of any decisions to decrease the nation’s reliance on foreign investments. Finally, cyber security is an emerging threat that this committee should consider. During discussions on these topics, this committee must remember that the position of other regional and international powers, such as Russia, NATO, and the US, will influence the Latvia’s response.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Human Developmental & Regenerative Biology; Government

Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Why HMUN? HMUN is a unique opportunity to engage in dealing with real situations at a young age. I know that it is a simulation and in our case, a futuristic one at that. But it's the skills that you will hone and the friends that you will meet that truly will make HMUN one of the best experiences of your life! Leaders are not born leaders. It is opportunities like HMUN that will make you rise to the occasion and lead a committee through a crisis based in the year 2024 or a the real situation of drug trafficking we face today in 2018.

Advice for new delegates: Having been in your shoes I know how excited and perhaps nervous, you must be feeling. The best advice I can give you is to be passionate. Be passionate about the topic, about your country and about the change you'd want to catalyze. If you walk in to the room having done extensive research and full of passion, I'm sure you will succeed. Never hesitate to contact me before, during or after committee if you have any doubts or simply want to say hi! I'm confident you will do a great job as we deal with one of the many potential futures of Latin America!

Class year: 2019

Concentration: History, with a secondary in Government

Hometown: Martinsburg, WV

Why HMUN? HMUN is an opportunity to learn leadership skills, negotiation, public speaking, and history through hands-on experiences. You can learn more from MUN than you ever will from reading a textbook.

Advice for new delegates: First, pick a committee you're unfamiliar with. You learn the most from taking on the roles you know the least about. Second, it can be nervous to speak the first time in committee, so speak at least once on the first day. Once you cross that barrier, you'll never stop.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MCMFA), 2024! Summoned by a member state of the Organization of American States (OAS), a Meeting of Consultation is the primary Organ of the OAS that copes with urgent matters. Held in the future, this MCMFA will cope with the increased influence of drug cartels in Latin America and will have to deal with countries on the brink of transitioning into narco-states and the challenges poised by faulty drug policy. Yet, before we dive into these urgent matters in 2024, let me tell you a bit about me in 2018.

My name is Lucas Cocco Delgado, and I’m honored to be serving as your Director during the sixty-fifth session of HMUN. I’m a junior at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology. I’m from Havana, Cuba, where I lived for 18 years before moving to snowy Boston. Aside from debate and Latin American politics, I’m interested in pursuing a career in medicine and biomedical research. On campus, I’m heavily involved with the Harvard Association Cultivating Inter-American (HACIA) Democracy, a conference much like this one that takes place in a different Latin American city every March. I’m also an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with our student-run CrimsonEMS.

Much like you, I was involved in simulations in high school and I personally understand that you might feel nervous and/or excited to participate in a committee. As a high school delegate I attended HACIA Democracy XX in Panama City, and those three days changed my life. It was the Harvard undergraduates I met there that first told me to consider applying here. The confidence and preparation you will develop will equip you to go far in life – no matter where you end up for university.

I personally believe that the point of Model UN conferences should be a transformative and educational experience before being a competition. MCMFA will be a unique chance to engage in issues rooted in our current reality. This committee will develop your creativity and research skills while allowing you to think on your feet. Incorporating aspects of both continual crisis cabinets and Ad Hoc committees, you will be challenged to reach quick solutions in a constantly evolving crisis situation. In order to be successful as a committee, MCMFA delegates will need to reach innovative solutions, adapt quickly and reach viable compromises with fellow delegates.

Yours,

Lucas H. Cocco Delgado
Director, Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS, 2024
mcmfa@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Tyler Jenkins and I will be serving as your crisis director for the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MCMFA) of the OAS committee during HMUN’s sixty-fifth session. In our committee, we will be exploring the overarching ideas of policymaking, implementation, sovereignty, and crisis management. Model United Nations offers a unique opportunity for delegates to build real world skills in a hands-on experience. While we design and manage the committee, you and the delegates will steer us through the highs and lows that come with working in the Specialized Agencies.

A little bit about myself: I grew up and went to high school in a town called Martinsburg, West Virginia. I am now a Junior at Harvard College living in Quincy House. In college, I am concentrating in History with a secondary in Government. Currently, I am serving as the head of the Harvard Political Union in the Institute of Politics, alongside being an active member of the Harvard International Relations Council. Both organizations promote a key principle that I try to advocate for on campus: free political discourse and the idea of open debate.

As a member of Harvard’s competitive Model UN team, I have been in your shoes. I know it is possible to lose sight of what makes Model UN a valuable experience. Amid all the scheming to further agendas, the persuasive tactics to convince other delegates to vote for directives, and especially the competition for awards, we can miss all that we learn from our time in committee. Talk to the people in committee outside of session; learn from the stories and experiences we all bring with us. At HMUN, we have an opportunity to hear from people in all walks of life across the world. I value that more than any award I could hand out at the end.

This committee may be taking place in the future, but I want to stress that it will be heavily grounded in reality. We will be addressing issues of drug-trafficking, corruption, and violence that are entirely relevant today. However, we hope to see you cooperate with all your fellow delegates to come up with unique and innovative solutions to help combat this problem throughout the member-states of the OAS. Think about the limits of current policy and actions, and use that to put an effective strategy in place during our time in committee. Our goal is for each one of you to leave committee with a wider perspective on the current state of cooperation and drug-trafficking affairs in North and South America. At its core, MUN is a learning experience that is applicable at school and in the world. I cannot wait to work with each of you in this committee.

Yours,

Tyler Jenkins
Crisis Director, Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS, 2024
mcmfa@harvardmun.org
Topic Area: MCMFA 2024

The year is 2024 and you, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of key American nations, have been called together to deal with the rising power of drug cartels and the resulting instability throughout the region. In the past few years, one particular cartel has gained international influence and has joined forces with multiple criminal organizations. Unifying cartel power in the region has given Cristobal Mascareña, the supposed head of this entity, the material and political resources to be considered more powerful than the government of his country. While you deal with the imminent national and international threats posed by cartel violence, economic destabilization, drug use, and cross-border trafficking, you will also have to watch amongst your own for corruption scandals and inter-governmental conflict. As Foreign Affairs Ministers, you will have to balance the interests of your own country with the needs of the collective body. It will be your role as committee to decide where to invest resources and how to shape the obsolete policies that govern the drug landscape in the continent. Ministers will have to use directives to address upcoming issues as the situation unfolds, and the Meeting of Consultation will culminate with a short resolution that should equip the region to deal with these events or prevent them from happening in the future.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: History

Hometown: Sidney, NSW, Australia

Why HMUN? Model U.N. isn't just an ordinary extra-curricular activity; it matters because it deals with real world issues through the same processes that real decision makers use. Model U.N. is about greater internationalist ideals, ideals which appear increasingly under threat today. Of course, committees get sidetracked and don't always solve the crises presented to them, but the very fact that such HMUN exists means that students new to international relations will be exposed to ideas of international cooperation, and veterans of Model U.N. will be able to hone their skills in one of the largest and best run high school Model U.N. conferences in the world.

Advice for new delegates: Speaking in committee can be a daunting prospect, particularly because it is impromptu, but the best way to overcome this is through practice. Focus on constantly improving—you don't have to use up all your time or speak in complete, flowing sentences at first, but keep working towards this goal. Please ask me, Soheil your Crisis Director, or any of our Assistant directors if you have any questions. We all remember starting out with Model U.N. and are glad to offer you advice!

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Computer Science, possibly with a secondary in neuroscience

Hometown: Mashhad, Khorasan-e-razavi, Iran

Why HMUN? Harvard Model UN is special because it draws delegates from all across the world and the United States and forces them to work together with people they would have never met otherwise. Delegates can learn as much from their diverse peers in the committee as they can from the interesting and well thought-out committees that comprise HMUN.

Advice for new delegates: Try to not let the excitement of the competition cloud your vision of what really matters. HMUN is, at heart, an educational opportunity for us and you to learn more about the world in which we live.

Dear delegates,

Hello and welcome to the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam! I very much look forward to meeting you at conference, and working through issues that are central to understanding our world. It is no exaggeration to say that decolonisation has fundamentally transformed international relations, nor is it an exaggeration to say that the Vietnam War’s legacy continues to hold great sway over the foreign policies of countries around the world today.

In this war, the story of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam is not one that is commonly taught, especially not in schools in the United States. In telling its story, and in giving you agency in making the difficult decisions faced by a post-colonial government caught up in the midst of a conflict between the world’s two superpowers.

The story of Vietnam in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s is very much the story of Cold War era decolonisation in miniature. It began with high ideals—the repudiation of French control and the institution of a unified Vietnamese government. These aims, however, quickly fell victim to electoral corruption and a refusal for the interim leaderships in the north and south of the country to compromise. While some might find the division of Vietnam along the 17th parallel and subsequent Vietnam war dispiriting, there is, at the very least, much to be learned from decolonisation era and Vietnam War. While it is too late for us to apply this historical understanding to prevent the Vietnam War, there are conflicts today which would benefit from a full understanding of Vietnam. Civil War, and foreign intervention in Civil Wars, remains as relevant today as it was during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

Now, for a bit about myself. I grew up in Sydney, Australia and developed a love for history early in primary school. Not the sort of history you learn in class; after all, Australia had barely existed for 200 years. I had no idea at the time that I would concentrate in history at Harvard, but as it transpired, history—particularly the history of international relations and the 20th century—became my passion. In my two years at Harvard, I have been involved in Model United Nations, written for the Political Review, debated on the parliamentary team and taken courses on International Law and the United Nations. Outside history and international relations, I also have an interest in biology and musical theatre and sing and act for The Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players.

I can’t wait to meet you in 2018! If you simply can’t wait too, please email me with any questions you might have about the conference!

Yours,

Richard Tong
Director, Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam, 1955
vietnam@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Soheil Sadabadi, and I’ll be serving as the Crisis Director of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam. During this conference, we will come together to look at historical events that have affected and continue to affect the modern world. But before we delve into the topic, I would like to tell you about myself.

I’m a Freshman at Harvard College hailing from Mashhad, Iran—a bustling metropolis in eastern Iran that is considered holy by Shi’a Muslims. I have diverse interests that range from history to Russian literature, but my main interest lies in understanding human cognition and replicating it in learning machines, and as such, I am concentrating in Computer Science with a possible secondary in Neuroscience. I am conflicted between pursuing research or entering the industry after I graduate, though I hope to one day establish my own Computer Science company. In my free time, I enjoy reading, strategy video games, playing an exotic instrument that probably have never heard of and writing for Harvard International Review. 

I would like to note that I strongly believe in the importance of Model UN as a symbiosis of competition and learning, as I believe that the excitement of manipulating blocs and navigating dynamics contributes to and does not detract from the learning side of MUN. The goal of excelling in the competition is a powerful driving force for the educational aspect of model UN, and while to some might think that much of what happens in the committee room is Machiavellian in nature, I believe that competition, so long as it is within the bounds of reason and realism, allows us to learn more about both ourselves and the purpose of the committee.

Our committee will focus on Vietnam in the years immediately following the First Indochina War, and we will discuss issues of building institutions in a country devastated by decades of war and colonialism under the shadow of war with its southern neighbor before shifting to the tragedy of the Vietnam war. The unique nature of these topics and era studied will no doubt prove very beneficial to the value of MUN as a learning tool. Furthermore, understanding the underpinnings of the issues faced by an important part of the world and gaining familiarity with a ruling system that ruled over a vast portion of the human population for decades will undoubtedly make this committee an interesting and education one for all delegates. I look forward to meeting and cooperating with each and every one of you to discuss these issues and all other ones that may arise out of our committee.

Best,

Soheil Sadabadi
Crisis Director, Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam, 1955
vietnam@harvardmun.org
Topic Area A: State Building

Vietnam might have freed itself from colonial rule with end of the first Indochina War in 1954, but it desperately needed institutions to fill the voids left by the French colonial administrators. Prior to 1955, Vietnam had experienced a century of increasing foreign rule and war. The last dynasty to rule Vietnam, the Nguyen Dynasty, was installed with the aid of the French Military in 1802, and slowly saw its political independence diminish as France increasingly encroached into Indochina. Vietnam formally became a French protectorate in 1885.

When France was quickly defeated at the start of the Second World War, the Nazi puppet Vichy French Government handed control of Vietnam to Germany’s ally; Japan. When Japan was defeated at the war’s close, France attempted to reassert its control over Vietnam, but local resistance led to the First Indochina War, which lasted almost an entire decade, and resulted in a Vietnamese victory. It is here that you pick up the reigns. Vietnamese institutions—both political and civil—must be created to support the newly independent Vietnamese state.

Topic Area B: Waging the Vietnam War

The 1954 partition of Vietnam was always meant to be temporary, but there seems to be corruption in the upcoming elections designed to bring the country’s two halves together. In this context—a country divided into a Communist north and non-communist south in the midst of an ideological Cold War—means that war and the involvement of the world’s two greatest powers are all but inevitable.

This committee will start right before the elections and continue through the second half of the 1970s. Waging war will not simply involve the organization of strategy for the North Vietnamese army in a Vietnamese setting. Relations with non-official militaries, especially the Viet Kong in the early stages of the war, will play a large part in the committee’s discussion, as will relations with the foreign powers who come to Vietnam’s aid.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Human Evolutionary Biology, MBB track, Global Health and Health Policy Secondary, Spanish Citation

Hometown:Framingham, MA

Why HMUN? Seeing high schoolers engage in world topics, debate and public speaking.

Advice for new delegates: Be confident! Facts are your weapons, science is your friend and I, along with all of staff, are here for you!

Dear Delegates,

Hi! My name is Mia Charifson, and I am going to be the director for Press Corps in HMUN 2018. I am a senior at Harvard studying Human Evolutionary Biology on the Mind, Brain, Behavior track with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy with a citation in Spanish (I know it’s a mouthful). I joined MUN at Harvard my sophomore year but also participated in high school -- although I never came to HMUN. I am very passionate about the intersection between science and policy, which is why MUN very much appeals to me. I think debate and being able to use your words to make a convincing argument are some of the most important tools when working on all types of policy. Aside from being passionate about what I study, I am very passionate about gender equality and sexual violence prevention work. I volunteer for a peer counseling group on campus to provide support and information to other students. I also teach yoga and love to run and workout. I have a super soft spot for dogs and being outdoors.

I am very excited about this committee for a number of reasons. To me language and writing are some of the most important parts of policy making. Ultimately policy is made for the people and without a way to interpret the complex MUN jargon, that you all will become well acquainted with, the people who the policy is most intimately connected with may not even know its significance, reasoning or impact. Journalism sits at this important intersection and offers a chance to bridge the gap between the formal MUN world and that of reality. I am very much looking forward to all the ways that you as delegates take on this role. I am here to help guide and support you all as we explore these topics and create amazing news pieces and hopefully, make friends along the way. I cannot wait to see the different perspectives and mindsets you all bring to Press Corps at HMUN 2018 and share this experience with the rest of conference!

Sincerely,

Mia Charifson
Director, Press Corps
pc@harvardmun.org

Welcome to Press Corps for HMUN 2018! Press Corps is within the Specialized Agencies organ but provides a very different opportunity from all other committees offered at conference. Press Corps delegates will each be assigned a news organization from around the world and work throughout the conference to publish articles surrounding the debate of other committees. These articles can take the form of op-eds, interviews, exposés and a myriad of other journalistic styles. Delegates will get to engage in formal debate surrounding topics related to journal ethics and standards and also get to move outside the committee to try to apply these discussions to pieces based on observations collected by sitting in on other committees. In this way, Press Corps offers a chance to experience many types of committees as well as for each delegate to produce individual products to be featured on the HMUN 2018 news stream.

Because of the non-traditional format of this committee, delegates will be working very closely one on one with the director and assistant directors and receiving a lot of individualized feedback. Delegates will be asked to critically think about who speaks for whom in journalism, what impact these words have, and how censorship in the media is experienced worldwide, while also being asked to apply these concepts to their own writing. Creativity is highly encouraged and there will be a lot of personal freedom for the delegates to mold their pieces and their MUN experience to be the one best suited for them. Inside of the committee room, Press Corps will be an opportunity to participate in interesting debate and gain constructive criticism on their works. Outside of the committee room, Press Corps will offer the chance to get hands on experience practicing journalism, learning about other committees and organs, meeting more delegates than one would in just one committee room. Finally, we hope our delegates leave this conference not only with a better understanding of journalism and the world, but with a new lense on press, the media and how this can and does relate to international politics every day.

Note: Assignments to this committee are by special application only.