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Meet our directors


General Assembly

The General Assembly (GA) contains the nine largest committees at HMUN 2017, and it is the place where each of the 193 member states of the UN come together to discuss pressing issues that affect many countries across multiple continents. These issues range from disarmament and security to international law, health, and development. Debate in the GA is spirited, as delegates must balance their responsibilities to their respective nations, allies, and the committee as a whole. Delegates emerge from a GA committee with a thorough understanding of the promises and pitfalls of international diplomacy.

Disarmament and International Security Committee

Director: Sunaina Danziger

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee

Director: Anthony Horta

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Director: Ibrahim Elnaggar

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies

The Economic and Social Council at HMUN 2017 includes the medium-sized councils, commissions, and programmes of the UN, which tackle issues of development, human rights, culture, economics, and trade. The Regional Bodies include both UN and non-UN committees that are made up of countries from specific regions, and discuss topics more specifically pertinent to those regions.

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Director: Erin Olivieri

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

Director: Anshi Moreno Jimenez

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Non-Governmental Organizations Programme

Director: Sidney Li

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Specialized Agencies

The Specialized Agencies (SA) is home to the most creative and imaginative committees of HMUN 2017. 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.

Dear Delegates,

I am beyond excited to welcome you to HMUN 2017 as your director for the first committee of the General Assembly, the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)! My name is Sunaina Danziger and I was born and bred in New York City. I am a sophomore concentrating in History with a likely secondary in Spanish literature.

I participated in Model UN all throughout high school, and HMUN was always my favorite conference: I loved interacting and working with students from around the world. Model UN, New York, and my own international identity have allowed me to see myself as part of a global whole. Outside of Model UN and the International Relations Council at Harvard, I write for the Harvard Political Review, and am a member of the club tennis team. In my spare time, I enjoy running along the Charles River, reading good novels, piano, and religiously following politics and sports.

My history background certainly drove my interest in our two topic areas. Both topics speak to an evolving international order, the viability of the nation state, and the role of international bodies in maintaining peace and security. The issues are contentious, the stakes high: I encourage you to research well and think carefully about your individual country policies.

Please do not hesitate at all to reach out to me at any point before the conference with any questions and to introduce yourself to me — I would love to hear from you!

Yours,

Sunaina Danziger
Director, Disarmament and International Security Committee
disec@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: New York City, NY

Major: History

Favorite MUN moment: Participating in HMUN as a delegate three times!

Why HMUN? HMUN is an incredible opportunity to meet and debate with students from across the world. No other conference combines the same substantive excellence, professionalism, and dedication to the delegate experience. Every single member of staff has poured weeks into substantive research and committee preparation and is at least as excited to staff HMUN as you (should be) to participate in it!

Advice for new delegates: Whether you're a seasoned MUN veteran, or have never participated in MUN before, you are capable of making an impact on committee, even as large a committee as DISEC. Research well, think about creative solutions, and make sure your voice is heard by giving speeches and collaborating to write draft resolutions.

Topic A: Military Intervention in Transnational Conflict

Throughout the majority of the twentieth century, foreign intervention was carried out by individual nation states. During the Cold War, the world was divided between American and Soviet spheres of influence and the non-aligned “Third-World”: military intervention centered primarily around each superpower attempting to buttress a potential ally and expand its sphere of influence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States became the sole superpower, and the international community entrusted with redefining the parameters for foreign military intervention. The international community’s failure to respond to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, and a NATO-led intervention in the 1997 Bosnian Civil War, established the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) as a guideline for military intervention when a government has failed to protect its civilians. Yet this human rights-based approach to military intervention largely failed to situate itself as a paradigm for international intervention, as the 2000s were marked by unilateral intervention or, at times, a failure to intervene under circumstances that, according to R2P, necessitated intervention.

The escalation of the Syrian civil war in the aftermath of the Arab Spring brought questions surrounding when and how to intervene to the forefront of the international community. What constitutes a just cause for intervention, and which actors—be they individual nation states, UN bodies, or other multilateral organizations—ought to carry out intervention? Syria, the rise of ISIS, and the European refugee crisis suggest the degree to which twenty-first century warfare is innately transnational, which demands the international community reconsider and restructure its approach to military intervention.

Topic B: Capacity Building in Failing States

“Failing states” is a term designated by the international community to denote states that have not unequivocally failed, but that lack the legitimate institutions needed for proper governance. Failing states broadly represent a threat to international peace and security. In many failing states, terrorist groups overrun “official” governmental institutions: the lack of socio-economic security characteristic of these states also feeds into terrorist recruitment models. The nature of failing states also highlights the relationship between low levels of human development, state legitimacy, and the proliferation of terrorist groups. DISEC will be tasked with determining how, if at all, the international community, through the United Nations or acting unilaterally, ought to involve itself in the state-building processes of other sovereign nation states. Security Sector Reform (SSR), judicial reform, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) for militant groups, and enhanced border security are each mechanisms the UN utilizes for building state capacity.

Afghanistan and Pakistan, both of which are designated “failing states” by the Foreign Policy Magazine and Fund for Peace’s “Failed State Index,” provide a crucial context for applying state-building strategies. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Toyeba retain a stronghold over local governance and within national security and intelligence apparatuses. Debate will also center on the Durand Line, a porous border dividing Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Durand Line speaks to a broader question of recent decolonization and its correlation with state failure. Neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan recognizes the Durand line as an official state boundary, and it has thus been used as a transshipment point for weapons and other illicit materials.

Dear Delegates,

I’m Anthony Horta, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be the director for SOCHUM at the 64th Harvard Model United Nations conference. I was born and raised in Miami, but I left the warm sun to come to Harvard, where I’m a junior studying psychology and film. My main area of academic interest is the study of mental health disorders, specifically looking at how they’re caused and using what we know to outline treatment methods.

I began my experience with Model UN here at Harvard, and have since fell completely in love with. I was an Assistant Director for SOCHUM at HMUN 2016, and I’m currently a director for the business organ at HMUN’s sister collegiate conference. I’m also a member of Harvard’s own competitive Model UN team, ICMUN. I really love public policy and thinking about ways to make the world better, and there really is no better avenue for that than Model UN.

Outside of Model UN, I work as a research assistant in a psychology laboratory on the neuroscience of psychopathologies. I also shoot and edit videos for a student-run production company, in addition to constantly watching movies in my free time. But if I’m not in my lab or filming, you can definitely find me eating buffalo wings somewhere. Or pizza.

I really can’t wait to get to know you all. I’m so excited about the topics this year, and I know that conference is going to be an enriching and enjoyable experience for all of you.

Yours,

Anthony Horta
Director, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
sochum@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2018

Hometown: Miami, FL

Major: Psychology

Favorite MUN moment: My favorite MUN moment has to be a speech I walked in on when I was a staffer for the business organ at HNMUN 2016. I walked into the committee with the purpose of publicizing merchandise, and as soon as I entered, I was greeted with a delegate who is in the busy of giving the most impassioned, articulate speech I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I have no idea what the committee even was nor do I know what he was talking about, but I was absolutely riveted. His passion shined with every word he used, and it was absolutely magical.

Why HMUN? HMUN is the gold standard for high school Model UN conferences. First of all, we pride ourselves tremendously on our substantive excellence. We take great strides to maintain that excellence by introducing innovative topic areas that are both engaging and relevant to real-world issues. Beyond that, HMUN draws people from around the world, creating a very rich diversity: diversity in perspectives, ideas, cultures, thought, and people. As a delegate, and even as a director, this cultural and intellectual diversity really challenges your thinking and expands your mental horizons throughout the conference. So if you want a conference that’s enjoyable, that allows you meet people from around the world, and that challenges you intellectually, HMUN is your answer.

Advice for new delegates: Success is all about preparation. Conference can seem really intimidating, especially when your committee is a big room with 200 other people. But if you’ve prepared extensively (by reading the study guide inside and out, doing outside research, etc.), there’s nothing to be nervous about. So don’t be afraid to speak up, odds are you probably have a great idea that nobody else has thought of. I always encounter delegates who tell me that they were nervous at first, but ended up being extremely happy once they made the effort to speak up. All it takes to have an awesome conference is lots of preparation and a small leap of faith.

Topic A: Mental Health in Crisis Zones

Mental health is one of the most pressing humanitarian issues in the world today, and yet it is rarely discussed and highly misunderstood. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 4 people worldwide will be afflicted by some mental health disorder. Unfortunately, billions of people throughout the world have little to no access to mental health treatment, and those that do seek treatment are often subject to stigma and other averse societal pressures. While mental health disorders have an innumerable number of causes and contributing factors, one major risk factor is having undergone traumatic experiences. These traumatic experiences often occur in crisis zones, such as active conflict zones or areas recently struck by natural disaster. In these crisis zones, people have loved ones who may been seriously hurt, or are themselves forced to live in constant fear for their own lives and safety. As a result, many people in these conflict zones come away with mental health disorders, and are often forced to carry on with their lives without ever addressing them.

Delegates in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee must strive to tackle the issue of mental health in crisis zones. Delegates must firstly resolve the classic lingua franca issue present in psychology, meaning that they must agree upon a working definition of what constitutes a mental health disorder. While there are existing, widely-used classification systems, these systems typically don’t overlap with the specific, cultural beliefs of each country. These conflicts must be reconciled to ensure that delegates are all on the same page when they discuss mental health disorders in the first place. Secondly, delegates must work towards instituting proper infrastructure for dealing with mental health issues in these crisis zones. Delegates must understand resources for aid are not unlimited, and so any resources devoted to mental health must be reallocated from other areas of aid. Finally, delegates must address the larger issue of sovereignty, specifically by debating the extent to which governments are responsible for maintaining the mental health of their citizens, and if larger government bodies or other countries have the right to intervene in a country’s crisis zone if that government fails to adequately address mental health.

Topic B: Human Population Control

Approximately 7.4 billion humans currently inhabit the Earth. With the influx of rapid urbanization and improvements in technology, healthcare, and general living standards, the human population has grown exponentially since the dawn of the 20th century, and continues to skyrocket. The United Nations Population Division estimates that, by the end of 2100, over 11 billion people will be roaming the Earth. This exponential growth in population is extremely problematic, as it’s been associated with a wide variety of issues, including environmental burden, poor living standards (especially in urban areas), and famine. Furthermore, the UN Population Division, along with a large number of various scientists, has estimated that the carrying capacity is only about 10 billion people. Beyond this carrying capacity, there will not be a sufficient number of resources to provide for the entirety of the population. And so, it’s absolutely critical that the issue of overpopulation is addressed before we arrive at sheer humanitarian catastrophe.

Delegates in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee must work to tackle this issue of overpopulation. Delegates must work towards implementing measures to control human population growth, in a manner that’s both effective but that also does not present an infringement upon human rights. Delegates should look at past and current policies of population planning, such as China’s one-child policy, and establish what future policies should account for and address. In creating standards or requirements for various population planning practices, such as contraception, delegates must pay explicit attention towards their country’s specific social and cultural attitudes, such that all delegates can eventually agree upon a set of universal measures to address overpopulation.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Special Political and Decolonization Committee at HMUN 2017. My name is Ibrahim Elnaggar and I am honored to be directing SPECPOL at this year’s Harvard Model United Nations conference. I am excited to get to know you all as you commence your preparation for conference and hope to meet every one of you as the date for the first committee session approaches.

To give you a brief introduction about myself, I grew up in Cairo, Egypt and lived there for 18 years before coming to study here at Harvard University. I am intending to concentrate in Mechanical Engineering or Economics, which have both sparked my intrigue in the topics of Space Colonization and Neocolonialism. Besides academics, I am part of the club rugby team, I am passionate about football (soccer), and I like to mix my cereals in the morning.

I am excited to see how you all collectively tackle this year’s SPECPOL topics and encourage you to contact me frequently with any questions or concerns you have as we approach late January.

Yours,

Ibrahim Elnaggar
Director, Special, Political and Decolonization Committee
specpol@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Favorite MUN moment: Dancing to Jason Derulo's Trumpets at HMUN

Why HMUN? Because you'll never find a staff more passionate about MUN!

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

Topic A: The Colonization of Outer Space

In an era that has witnessed exponential global population growth and a transformation in the technological industry over the past century, the quantity and quality of natural resources on earth are sharply declining. As such, the search for outer space resources is becoming inevitable. With this increasing pressure to exploit the natural gems of the celestial world, the development of countries’ space exploration programs, the emergence of commercial trips to outer space, and the improvement of satellite launch systems have signaled the need for peaceful international cooperation in outer space.

However, without an established global framework that addresses issues of sovereignty and colonization in celestial regions, there is a danger that conflict may impede the future of space exploration. The fact that international lawyers have yet to agree on a legal definition of “outer space” points to the vague and loosely defined regulatory efforts that govern the territories beyond our atmosphere. Therefore, in this session of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, it is the duty of delegates to craft resolutions that tackle issues such as sovereignty, militarization, and the excavation of natural resources in an attempt to construct a medium of peaceful international collaboration.

Topic B: Resurgence of Global Neocolonialism

Kwame Nkrumah, the former president of Ghana, once described Neocolonialism as “the worst form of imperialism.” He argued that it granted nations that practiced it unaccountable power and left suffering developed nations vulnerable to exploitation without redress. In essence, neocolonialism describes the utilization of capitalism, globalization, and political influence by one country to indirectly control another. At its core, the practice holds terrifying similarities to imperialism, however, the tools of colonization slightly differ. Instead of using direct military control or political intervention to colonize another state, economic agreements and financial influence have become modern day armies.

Every nation, however, reserves the right to adopt its own socioeconomic system. Similarly, in many cases, the free market and its gains appear to outweigh the excessive influence that developing countries may be subject to upon making such trade agreements. In order to discuss the international community’s decisions on tackling this emerging problem, the Special Political and Decolonization Committee will be addressing the resurgence of global Neocolonialism in a forum that hopes to generate fruitful, comprehensive solutions.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the World Health Organization at HMUN 2017!

My name is Charles Pei and I am a freshman at Harvard College concentrating in Cellular and Physical Biology. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio (I am a huge Ohio State fan) and had lived there all my life before arriving in Cambridge. In addition to Model UN at Harvard, I have been involved with the Association for U.S.-China Relations and the Chinese Student Association. I also enjoy biking, playing tennis and basketball and destroying my friends in FIFA.

I am very excited to work with all of you this year on making WHO an amazing experience. Last year, I served as an Assistant Director at DISEC and was amazed by the delegates’ passion in debating their topics. I am counting on you as a committee to think, research and work together to find novel solutions to the issues brought before you.

I look forward to meeting you all in January! Please do not hesitate in coming to me with comments, questions or concerns!

Yours,

Charles Pei
Director, World Health Organization
who@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Major: Chemical and Physical Biology

Favorite MUN moment: Traveling to Washington D.C. for MUN was one of the highlights of my high school experience!

Why HMUN? Delegates should come to HMUN because we have students from all over the world staffing our conferences.

Advice for new delegates: Find ways to attain your goals in committee while being genuinely caring and friendly.

Topic Area A: Combating Anti-Microbial Resistance

Microorganisms’ evolution of resistance to antimicrobial drugs is one of the leading threats to public health. Antimicrobials form the core of modern medicine, but their effectiveness in treating infections is decreasing as more and more microorganisms become resistant. While current drugs are losing potency, fewer new antimicrobials are produced every year. Citing high costs and low payoff, many pharmaceutical companies have abandoned or decreased research and development into new antibiotics. With these issues in mind, the World Health Organization must develop a coordinated and rapid response to avoid heading towards an age of untreatable common infections.

Topic Area B: Public Health and Recreational Drug Use

The ethics and economics behind recreational drug use has become an increasingly heated topic of contention. While the majority of countries in the United Nations have some form of legislation prohibiting the use and possession of recreational drugs, some argue that enforcement of these laws promotes violence, leads to unsustainably high rates of incarceration and is too expensive to maintain. Several Western nations have recently seen localities decriminalize or legalize marijuana. At the same time, many opponents of recreational drug use cite the efficacy of drug prohibition in decreasing drug use, the health consequences of using drugs and moral arguments. While some countries have moved towards decriminalization, 32 nations still impose the death penalty for drug-related offenses. Will you vote for or against drug prohibition? How will your plans be carried out? The decision lies in your hands.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN 2017! My name’s Neil Reilly, and I’m directing the ‘Tenth Round of WTO Trade Negotiations, 2017’. I’m originally from not-so-sunny Northern Ireland, and I can’t wait to meet you all in Boston this January!

Growing up in Northern Ireland has informed a lot of what I’m passionate about. Seeing violent political and religious division first hand really emphasised the importance of diplomacy, negotiation, and compromise, even though it may be difficult. These are the reasons that I’m studying History and Government at Harvard, and they’re also the reasons I’m directing the World Trade Organization at HMUN 2017.

What makes this committee so interesting is that all resolutions must be passed unanimously, so compromise and negotiation are as important in committee as being a persuasive speaker and thoughtful policy-writer. This structure will make for an interesting, and challenging committee, not least because you will be dealing with some of the most contentious issues in international trade and economics, surrounding sovereignty, currency manipulation, agricultural subsidies, and more. These are issues that the WTO itself has failed to deal with, and there’s ample opportunity for you as delegates to show real leadership in a field that needs it.

I really want this conference to be an opportunity for new and experienced delegates to push themselves with a new set of skills, and I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any point with any questions or concerns you may have!

Best,

Neil Reilly
Director, World Trade Organization
wto@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Portadown, UK

Major: History and Government

Favorite MUN moment: At Columbia, I used an army of lemurs to place my daughter on the throne of Madagascar. There will be no lemurs in my HMUN committee.

Why HMUN? Where else could you work with high school students from over 40 nations to address the most pressing issues civilization faces today? More than that, you're discussing these topics in a really warm, friendly environment. It's the community that makes HMUN special.

Advice for new delegates: Get involved! It can be scary to speak in committee, especially in front of hundreds of people, but once you've done it those nerves will become excitement, and you'll get so much more out of it. Also use the conference as an opportunity to make friends with people from an incredible array of backgrounds all around the world, there's no better opportunity!

Topic Area: Tenth Round of WTO Trade Negotiations, 2017

The Doha round of WTO trade negotiations in 2001 was the WTO’s attempt to lock in trade liberalization and open up developed markets to the developing world, with potentially enormous welfare gains for the world’s poorest people. However, the project failed. Now, Doha has been scrapped and you must start again. If the WTO were to fail now, it could seal the fate of multilateralism and see a shift towards regionalism, potentially altering the geopolitical future of the world. With political activists in nations across the globe turning rapidly against free trade, can leaders summon the political will to defend it?

You will have to address the controversial topics that delegates at the Doha round failed to address. Agricultural subsidies proved the hardest to address. They have blocked the developing world from large markets; can a compromise be reached on these export subsidies and the labelling of import sensitive and special products? Can the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) be made more flexible to allow the developing world better access to medicines, as well as prevent technology patent wars amongst developed countries? How should the WTO move towards expanding clean energy provision without subsidies being used as an economic weapon?

However, the world has changed since 2001 and new issues must be addressed. With political opinion across the world swinging against free trade, should the WTO offer a stance on reform or abolition of investor-state dispute settlements, which many argue violate sovereignty? To prevent currency manipulation damaging international trade, should policies affecting exchange rates be included in future agreements with a means of regulation and enforcement?

Another important consideration in any round of negotiations is how will the agreement be implemented? How should the WTO balance concerns over strategic and infant industries, especially in the developed world? Can a better system of countervailing duties and dispute settlement be reached? Should the status of a ‘developing nation’ be self-determined, allowing developed countries to manipulate more flexibility in their tariff rates?

These are difficult, salient questions that get to the heart of the international system, and questions you will be proposing answers to.

Note: The World Trade Organization is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Keyuree Satam and I am a junior at Harvard College. Born in India but raised in the United States, I have grown up with an interesting dichotomy of perspectives about different global issues, which led to my interest in learning about how different countries approach universal problems. Having been a delegate in Model UN for four years in high school, I understand the distinct need to discuss issues that are both interesting and relevant. I served as a Director for the World Health Organization for HNMUN 2016 and am thrilled to return in 2017 as Director of the Special Session on Terrorism at HMUN. I am planning on concentrating in Neurobiology with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. At Harvard, I am also a biology tutor, a member of the South Asian Dance Company, a volunteer for Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies, and work in a stem cell biology lab. With my limited free time, I enjoy watching Game of Thrones with my roommates, taking long naps, and going on random excursions to Boston. I am very excited to direct the Special Summit on Terrorism this year and chose topics I hope can facilitate great debate. With the relevant topics of the role of sovereignty in terrorist response and terrorist recruitment from developing nations, I have the greatest confidence that you as a committee will find novel solutions to these problems. For this one weekend, the fate of international security rests in your hands.

Yours,

Keyuree Satam
Director, Special Session on Terrorism
sst@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2018

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Major: Neurobiology

Favorite MUN moment: Delegates dancing to Spanish music at the end of session.

Why HMUN? HMUN is an amazing, well-run conference that brings together high school students from around the world to one location to debate international issues.

Advice for new delegates: Have fun! Don't be afraid to speak! Always feel free to ask me questions!

Topic Area A: Terrorist Recruitment from Developing Nations

Terrorist groups have been shown to prey on and entice individuals to their cause from strife-ridden, governmentally unstable, oppressed, and poor communities - generally found in developing countries. Whether seeking freedom from their present situation with no clear future, getting misguided by religious propaganda to motivate themselves or even seeking financial compensation for their service as hired mercenaries, these recruited individuals can become dangerously active members of terror groups, bringing further strife to their countries. The central question, therefore, is how to reduce and counter-act such recruitment. In what ways can developing nations help these vulnerable citizens with specific national as well as local micro and macro level policies? What aspects of the terrorist groups’ recruitment campaigns can be targeted? And how can the international community assist, financially and logistically? This topic will look into case studies of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, Hezbollah, and Taliban. It will study the nature of their spread, technique to hire and grow their followers, seeking to find solutions for terrorist recruitment in developing nations.

Topic Area B: The Role of Sovereignty in Terrorist Response

The role of sovereignty in any international issue is highly debated in various national and international forums. Some believe that domestic issues should be handled internally by the nation’s government and its allies, while others contend that international forces under the guidance of the United Nations should intervene for the safety of the global community. With regards to terrorism, some extremist groups have originated in single countries and heavily target governments, innocent citizens, and territories of neighboring states. Some nations argue that such local terror cells should be quashed by the impacted countries. Others believe that terrorists pose an obvious global threat and should be dealt with holistically using swift international action. This topic will focus on the origin, growth, and spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), looking at past and present actions, and discussing the best model of intervention moving forward.

Dear Delegates

It is my utmost pleasure to welcome you to the World Conference on Women at Harvard Model United Nations 2017!

My name is Camilla Suarez, and I am from New Albany, Ohio. I am a sophomore at Harvard College, currently considering a concentration in Government or Social Studies. In addition to directing at HMUN 2017, I serve as a Director of Administration for Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) 2017, HMUN’s sister conference for college students, and I served as an Assistant Director for the World Health Organization at HNMUN 2016. Outside of Model UN, I am involved in women’s organizations on campus, including the Women’s Initiative in Leadership at the Institute of Politics. I also enjoy reading, writing, spending time with family and friends, and drinking tea at any time of the day.

As the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, I was raised by two incredible parents who encouraged me to recognize the beauty of global diversity. My participation in Model UN from the sixth grade until the end of twelfth grade did not merely fortify my passion for global diversity but also expanded my awareness of international issues and strengthened my skills of leadership, problem solving, and collaboration. I am forever grateful for the remarkable impact Model UN has had on my life, and I only hope that you are able to enjoy the Model UN experience as extensively as I did. It is truly an honor to direct the World Conference on Women at HMUN 2017, and I look forward to meeting all of you soon!

Camilla Suarez
Director, World Conference on Women
wcw@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: New Albany, Ohio

Major: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment: During my junior year of high school, I was elected as the President of the General Assembly for my Model UN program. There was a ceremony when all of the elected officers were announced, and hearing my name called was honestly one of the greatest feelings.

Why HMUN? Overall, model UN allows you to expand your awareness of the world and to strengthen your sense of leadership. What I find so captivating about HMUN is the positive influence it can have on the lives of 2,000+ high school students. Model UN was such an essential part of my life, and I hope that high school students enjoy the experience as much as I did.

Advice for new delegates: Participate! Even though it can seem intimidating to participate, the very act of participation can undeniably enrich your experience as a delegate. Also, get to know your fellow delegates. I have met wonderful people through model UN, and I still consider many of those people to be my friends to this very day.

Topic Area A: The Legality of the Commercial Sex Industry

It is apparent that there is a considerable degree of controversy regarding the commercial sex industry and whether or not such an industry should be legal in society. The term “sex worker” specifically refers to a person employed by the sex industry who engages in sexual activity in exchange for money, goods, or other services. It is estimated that there are over 40 million sex workers worldwide, including female, male, and transgender people. Nonetheless, the extent to which sex work is legal varies from one region to another. Currently, it is legal and regulated within multiple nations including Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. In other nations, there are laws prohibiting practices of the commercial sex industry; however, the degree to which these laws are enforced differs from one region to another. Considering these circumstances, there exists a lack of consensus regarding the legality of the commercial sex industry and the manner in which policies concerning this industry should be implemented. Furthermore, it is essential for the committee to consider the potential influence of legalizing or illegalizing the commercial sex industry on pressing matters such as issues of sexual health, including sexually transmitted diseases and the availability of contraceptives, and issues of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Topic Area B: The Representation of Women in Government

Throughout the world, there exists a stark contrast in the extent to which women and the extent to which men are represented in the diverse forms of government. According to UN Women, as of August 2015, merely 22 percent of all national parliamentarians were female. Despite the rise from 11.3 percent in 1995, this percentage undeniably indicates a lack of equality in reference to the gender demographics within governmental institutions. Moreover, there appears to be a higher representation of women in the governments of certain regions such as Rwanda, where women account for 63.8 percent of seats in the lower house, than in others, thus manifesting that the degree to which women are represented in government differs from nation to nation. In an effort to elevate the level of participation of women in the political atmosphere, various measures have been proposed. For example, a controversial measure frequently discussed is the usage of quotas -- that is, establishing a minimum percentage or number for the representation of women in government. As such measures are discussed, it is vital for the committee to consider questions as to which measures can efficiently address the underrepresentation of women in politics and as to whether or not these measures are in violation of governmental principles.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Pulkit Agarwal and I’m a sophomore, planning to concentrate in Economics with a secondary in Government. MUN has been one of my favorite extracurricular activities through my time at high school in India, and now during college in the US, for it has provided me with the opportunity to travel the world, and debate pressing issues with people from a variety of backgrounds. Aside from travelling with the MUN team at Harvard, I also write for The Harvard Independent, play Cricket, and work as the Director of Finance for the Harvard US-India Initiative. Anyone wishing to discuss why Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time, or why Roger Federer will always be better than Novak Djokovic, can feel free to contact me at any time! I am really looking forward to HMUN because just 3 years ago, it provided me with a highly rewarding experience: one that has shaped me into a more confident and sincere public speaker and negotiator. I would like to urge all delegates to look forward to this conference, not only as an opportunity to their test skills alongside highly passionate and experienced delegates, but also to learn and collaborate. There are few places in the world where you can negotiate environmental policy with people from different countries, without the burden of public opinion over your head. While you absolutely mustn’t discard your government’s policy, you should look to use this as a chance to be creative whilst being diplomatic!

Pulkit Agarwal
Director, United Nations Environment Assembly
unea@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Bareilly, India

Major: Economics

Favorite MUN moment: Speaking for the first time as a delegate at HMUN 2014

Why HMUN? It has given me my most cherished MUN memories from high school!

Advice for new delegates: Don't feel nervous to come up and speak in committee. It's always a learning experience!

Topic Area A: Geopolitics of Alternative Oil Sources

A lot has changed in the last 3 years, but nothing compares to plummeting oil prices in its impact on global economies and the environment. The shale boom in North America presents us with a unique dilemma – while it is likely to lower budgetary pressures on most of the world’s economies, it is also being criticized as a highly environmentally damaging practice. The UNEA will attempt to resolve and reach a consensus on whether the global community shall welcome this initiative, or follow the path of several Western European countries that have already banned it. In the process, the committee will navigate both environmental concerns regarding a polluted water table, and consider geopolitical changes that might occur if North America and Western Europe seize this opportunity to be free of supplies from oil exporters such as Russia and the OPEC.

Topic Area B: Environmental Consequences of Corruption

While the deeply entrenched problem of corruption has impacted several public institutions across the world, its impact on environmental governance has been more acute than most other spheres. Even so, it has attracted little attention at the UN. International law provisions fail to account for the limitations of multilateral impact assessment mechanisms. This committee will aim to construct a comprehensive framework for tackling corruption in the realm of carbon trade and preservation of biodiversity. Such an agreement must be in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and must therefore work to increase accountability in environmental governance, so as to increase access to natural resources, and reduce population and wildlife displacement. The interests of developing nations from across Africa, East Asia, and Latin America – which bare the major environmental impacts of corruption – will thus collide with those of the US, China and EU – major beneficiaries of natural resources in the developing world.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Melissa Li, and I am honored to serve as your director for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2017! I’m currently a sophomore at the college with an anticipated concentration in Neurobiology and secondary in Global Health & Health Policy. Born in Canada, raised in the US, and now regularly traveling to China, I grew up between 3 countries, cultures, and histories. These experiences nurtured my interest in international relations, especially as to how they relate to medicine and humanitarian work. On campus, I am also involved with the Harvard China Forum, Harvard Association for US-China Relations, and Undergraduate Global Health Forum. In my free time, I enjoy playing music and writing bad poetry.

We will be debating some of today’s most pressing human rights issues in committee, and I hope the immediacy and universal import of these topics will convince you all of how truly impactful HMUN can be. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. I’m very excited to be working with you in this coming year and wish you all the best!

Sincerely,

Melissa Li
Director, United Nations Human Rights Council
unhrc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Buffalo, New York

Major: Neurobiology, Global Health and Health Policy

Favorite MUN moment: Working with an amazing staff for the HMUN 2016 WHO committee as well as (somehow!) getting to know our nearly 200-member student delegation

Why HMUN? HMUN is an amazing conference that connects thousands of bright high school students around the world and engages them in debate about real, pressing issues. The conversations started here can spark new passions and open your eyes to new perspectives, whether as a delegate or a staff member.

Advice for new delegates: Don’t be afraid to speak up! Your voice is just as important as that of a seasoned delegate. Each member state of the UN is equal, from the smallest country to the most powerful. Your personal drive to effect change and learn from your experiences matters more than the number of years you’ve done MUN.

Topic A: Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

One in four people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or mental health disorder during their lifetime. That makes mental illness the world’s fastest growing, invisible epidemic. But in many nations, a combination of social stigma and lack of adequate health resources means that sufferers are grossly mistreated in the name of rehabilitation. This committee will explore case studies on mistreatment of the mentally ill, including prayer camps in West Africa, the practice of shackling patients in Southeast Asia, and more. Delegates should be able to consider the short and long term goals of the UNHRC as it deals with this problem. How can we rectify the current human rights abuses happening in these hotspots while also addressing the stigmas, superstitions, and lack of education that are the underlying causes?

Topic B: Trafficking of Children

Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, harboring and receipt of human bodies for the purpose of exploitation. Children are particularly vulnerable to this crime, with around 1.2 million children trafficked per year. Sold by their families or kidnapped, these children often end up as factory labor, domestic servants, soldiers, or prostitutes. A multitude of factors come into play as we consider this widespread, complex human rights problem. On one hand, the committee must investigate the economics of trafficking—children are often sourced from unstable developing countries and trafficked to work in developed nations. How can we address this extremely unequal supply and demand for bodies? Additionally, what can the committee do to protect children living in dire poverty or war zones? Also, how should we hold developed nations accountable for their involvement in what is often seen as only a third world problem? Delegates will explore the intricacies of child trafficking and create comprehensive solutions that address each point on the trafficking supply chain.

Hello Delegates,

My name is Kylie Hung and I am humbled to serve as your director on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs committee. Along with the entire Harvard staff, I sincerely welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations 2017.

A brief introduction about me: I am currently a Sophomore at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology (stem cells) with a secondary in Economics. I am born and raised in New York City. At Harvard, I am involved in Harvard Women’s Club Basketball, Harvard Association for U.S.-China Relations, Asian American Dance Troupe, Harvard College in Asia Program, and of course, Harvard Model United Nations. My interest in the sciences and economy has stimulated a passion for learning about international drug control. I am beyond excited to further explore the topics together and to actively engage in the committee.

Feel free to reach out to me anytime. Looking forward to meet you all! I am committed to serve the Commission of Narcotic Drugs committee and the mission of HMUN 2017.

Sincerely,

Kylie Hung
Director, Commission on Narcotic Drugs
cnd@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2018

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Major: Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology

Favorite MUN moment: Hearing my acceptance as a director to HMUN 2017

Why HMUN? I love the interaction with high school students. I am committed to helping these high school students learn and grow as an individual.

Advice for new delegates: Be open-minded, be calm, and prepare to learn.

Topic Area A: Combatting International Illicit Trafficking of Drugs

The Commission of Narcotic Drugs is an annual gathering of all United Nation states to discuss the issues surrounding global drug control systems. With the rapid development of new technologies and techniques to disguise illegal trading of drugs, this committee will seek to revisit previous illegal drug trades to find ways to prevent international illicit trafficking. During this committee, delegates will need to push for reforms in the global drug control systems while taking into consideration the different organizations already present in some countries to control the illegal trade across the globe.

Topic Area B: Money Laundering

Money laundering involves the concealment of illegally obtained money through foreign bank transfers and legitimate businesses. The prevention of money laundering can be achieved through studying drug cartels operations, government corruptions, and terrorists’ organization. This committee will need to push for reforms surrounding the detection and disruption of money laundering system in the criminal organizations and government systems. Given the fact that countries have different government systems, it is necessary to tackle money laundering in a way that is not disruptive to government structure. During this committee, delegates will need to provide ways to reveal money laundering on a local and national scale.

Hello Delegates,

My name is Richard Tong and I’m delighted to be your Director for the International Atomic Energy Agency at Harvard Model United Nations 2017. I and the rest of HMUN staff would like to warmly welcome you to the conference, we’re all excited to meet you in 2017!

Just a bit about myself, I’m a sophomore likely concentrating in History with a secondary in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I’ve always liked history, and studying history had led me to appreciate the importance of international politics and cooperation in shaping individual lives. In particular, I’m interested in international history, and the intersections between history, law and policy making. The International Atomic Energy Agency works to regulate a potentially apocalyptic energy source, and its work has been crucial to the regulation of nuclear energy and to the restriction in, and reversal of nuclear proliferation. Despite their best efforts, there still exists 15,350 nuclear warheads in the world. There is much for the IAEA to do, and I can’t wait to see what you and your fellow delegates have planned for HMUN.

Please reach out if you have any questions about Model U.N., or if I can help you in any way. I’m looking forward to meeting you, and to our committee.

Sincerely,

Richard Tong
Director, International Atomic Energy Agency
iaea@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Major: History

Favorite MUN moment: Pretending to be a condescending 13th Century British ambassador to the French delegation.

Why HMUN? The staff includes some of the most dedicated and experienced in the world, and are committed to making your time at conference the most fun and most valuable one possible.

Advice for new delegates: Many of HMUN’s delegates are first time delegates. Don’t be afraid to speak in committee, really seize the opportunity when you can. If anything is confusing, please reach out to staff. We’re here to make sure you have a good time!

Topic Area A: Improving Safety in Nuclear Facilities

In 2007, the largest nuclear plant in the world was shut down because of an earthquake. The plant, Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant, was inspected by the IAEA, which concluded that the plant was not strong enough to withstand the 2007 earthquakes. Four years later, another Japanese power plant, the Fukushima-Daiichi Power Plant, suffered a core melt down.

Nuclear power plants are not the only source of nuclear risk in the world. Poorly managed nuclear weapons facilities also present a risk. America’s nuclear arsenal, for example, still depends on floppy disk technology—and not even the three-and-a-half-inch floppy disk of the 1980s and ’90s—it depends on the older, eight-inch floppy disks that are actually floppy. Nuclear technology around the world is antiquated and prone to error.

In debating this topic area, delegates will update and create guidelines in a broad sweeping directive that creates a comprehensive set of regulations for the uses of nuclear energy and nuclear weaponry worldwide.

Topic Area B: Iran Nuclear Negotiations, 2013-2015

Up until 1979, the Iranian Government was headed by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The Shah’s government was U.S. backed, and pursued the peaceful use of nuclear technology. In fact, the United States provided Iran with nuclear technology, including a 5-megawat nuclear research reactor in 1967.

Following the 1979 revolution, the United States stopped cooperating with Iran, and Iran began to pursue a more aggressive nuclear policy. During the 1980s and ’90s, intelligence reports suggested that Iran was pursuing non-peaceful applications of nuclear research; i.e. nuclear weaponry. In the 2000s, relations between the United States and its allies on one side, and Iran on the other, soured as increasing sanctions alienated Iran. In November 2013, the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, China and Germany arrived at an interim agreement with the newly elected president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. In exchange for freezing Iranian nuclear development, economic sanctions on Iran were lifted.

Delegates will take the 2013 agreement as a starting point and attempt to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran. There is significant room to differ from the agreement actually agreed to in 2015, and countries will be able to explore their own interests in negotiations.

Hello Delegates,

My name is Erin Olivieri, and I cannot convey how honored I am to be serving as the Director of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs for Harvard Model United Nations 2017. 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 (rising) sophomore at Harvard College, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Astrophysics. These two topics are exactly as disparate as they sound, but we are going to be exploring some of the intersections between them throughout this committee. Along other lines, I was born on Long Island and moved to Montana when I was ten years old, so I can completely relate to both suburban and rural lifestyles. I cannot wait to get to know a bit about each of you!

Our topic areas for this committee are, at their core, a blend of the hard sciences and the social sciences, of cooperation and preservation of national interests. As such, I am committed to fostering the most accessible and substantively excellent committee that I possibly can in the mission of HMUN 2017. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns in the coming months, or if you want to introduce yourself. Otherwise, I will see you all in January!

Sincerely,

Erin Olivieri
Director, United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs
unoosa@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Butte, Montana

Major: Government and Astrophysics

Favorite MUN moment: At HMUN 2016, I served as an Assistant Director for the European Union, and I cannot speak highly enough of the delegates involved. One of the most vivid memories I have of that weekend involved a delegate pair (our committee was double-delegation) for whom HMUN was their premier conference. It was clear to the dais that they had done their research, but they were wary about speaking up in unmoderated caucus with so many voices vying for the floor. During committee session on Saturday night, I watched these two delegates, for the first time, express a phenomenal idea that they had to improve cooperation between the feuding blocs that had formed. Shortly after, they approached the dais and thanked us for encouraging them to get more involved, beaming with a newly discovered self-confidence. These are the moments, where delegates learn skills that they can apply in the real world, that have brought me back to MUN.

Why HMUN? As a freshman in college, Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) was my introduction into the world of Model UN. I walked in barely aware of what a moderated caucus was, but I walked out with a level of love and dedication for this conference that I never expected. HMUN is the epitome of everything that an inter-school high school activity should be. These students are willing to take the extra step to become substantively prepared and diplomatically confident, and that is something that every student should have the opportunity to experience.

Advice for new delegates: Pro-tip: Just stay calm. I completely understand that experienced delegates can be very intimidating, but be sure to remember that 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 or one-on-one with other delegates through notes. 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!

Topic Area A: Security and Weaponism

Two years before the United States even landed a man on the moon, in the midst of the Cold War and associated Space Race, the international community came together to craft and implement a set of universal regulations applicable beyond our planet. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty was the result of months of deliberation in the Legal Subcommittee and General Assembly of the United Nations, and the end product was a phenomenal step forward. Yet, the nature of our society is to progress, and global regulation on extraterrestrial affairs has not progressed with it. The standing Outer Space Treaty explicitly prohibits the storage of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in any Earth-bound orbit or on celestial bodies, but new, unanticipated threats have manifested in the decades since the Treaty’s passage. Delegates will be charged with drafting a solution to international security hazards from space in a modernized world, with special attention paid to the capacity of satellites as a weapon in the ongoing battle for cybersecurity.

Topic Area B: The Environment of Space and Debris Cleanup

The final provision of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty dictates that “States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies,” but what exactly constitutes harmful contamination of space? States have been launching satellites and other various spacecraft since Sputnik I in 1957, largely without regard for how to dispose of them after their useful lifespan. During every transit vehicle launch, sections of the craft are systematically discarded in order to conserve fuel and enhance the efficiency of the remaining body. What goes up must come down, but that axiom takes on an entirely different meaning in the context of space debris; everything that every state has sent upward must come down if we wish to preserve our orbits, but they will not do so naturally. Thousands of decommissioned satellites, bits of shrapnel from collisions, and discarded pieces of launch apparatuses are filling our near-Earth orbits, and there has yet to be cohesive global action to rectify the situation. Here, delegates will be challenged to explore solutions to the pollution of space, while coming to recognize the physical, political, and popular limitations that plague the field.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Caroline Zheng, and I am thrilled to be serving as your Director for the African Union committee this year. On behalf of all the HMUN staff, It is my pleasure to welcome you to HMUN 2017.

Some information about me: I am currently a student at Harvard College, and I plan to concentrate in Economics with a secondary in Statistics. Originally, I am from the Boston area but attended high school in Long Island, New York. During high school, I was a very active member of the Model UN team. My interests in Economics (my anticipated concentration) often overlaps with themes of gender/race inequality, education, and sustainability. Participating in Model UN not only helped develop these interests, but gave me valuable opportunities to apply my knowledge. That being said, I am truly passionate about the issues we will be discussing in committee. Issues of gender-based violence and incentivizing childhood education are specifically relevant to the continent of Africa, and leave a lot of room for productive discussion.

From now until the conference, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions regarding the committee or HMUN. I look forward to meeting each one of you, and cannot wait to see what debate will bring!

Warmest regards,

Caroline Zheng
Director, African Union
au@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Syosset, New York

Major: Economics

Favorite MUN moment: During my senior year of high school, I competed in a specialized agency called "The North Korean Crisis". My director came in dressed as Kim Jong-un, and did a dead-on impression. It was hilarious!

Why HMUN? HMUN unites delegates from all over the world, and gives so many people an forum to discuss the most pressing international issues. To see delegates and staff sharing their passions through formal debate and personal discussion is truly a beautiful thing.

Advice for new delegates: Definitely don't be afraid to speak up. Feel the fear that comes with your first speech in front of a committee...and then do it anyways! At the same time, it's very important to listen to other delegates when they're speaking. You will learn a lot, and might make some useful connections.

Topic Area A: Accessing Primary Education

One of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals, outlined in September of 2000, is providing universal primary education. The vast majority of African nations still lag behind in literacy rates, in comparison to the global literacy rate of 84.1%. Although major strides have been taken to improve access to primary education since 2000, progressed has stalled in Africa. In many African countries, there remains the issue of public funding and lack of educational resources for schools. A more multifaceted problem is lack of access. Inaccessibility to primary education disproportionately affects children living in rural areas and female children. In countries with national industries such as agriculture or mining, children may be encouraged to drop out of school and work. Cultural or religious beliefs that do not support female education may also influence families and communities. Delegates of the African Union will be urged to consider region-specific ways to improve primary education attendance, while still keeping difficult socioeconomic limitations in mind.

Topic Area B: Gender-Based Violence

The United Nations defines gender-based violence as, “A term used to describe harmful acts perpetrated against a person based on socially ascribed differences between males and females”. Although gender-based violence can apply to men and boys, the term has been primarily used to highlight the susceptibility of women and girls to systematic abuse and mistreatment. Women living in African countries, particularly those inhabiting rural areas, experience gender-based violence at a rate ten percent higher than the global average. The phenomenon of gender-based violence does not just include physical abuse; it also encompasses forced marriage, marital rape, intimidation at work/educational institutions, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilization, trafficking, among other injustices. A case specific to some African nations is the custom of female genital cutting, a practice that decreases a woman’s ability to feel sexual pleasure. For this topic, delegates will need to thoroughly consider these issues from their countries’ perspectives rather than a default Western-influenced one. Special crisis situations will also challenge delegates to consider the role of government and non-governmental organizations in social welfare.

Hello,

I’m Nivedita Khandkar, and I’m honored to serve as your director for the European Union committee at HMUN this year. Along with all other members of the Harvard Model UN staff, I sincerely hope you have an incredible experience at this conference.

So a little about me: I’m a rising sophomore at Harvard College, currently planning to pursue a degree in Economics or Applied Math/Economics with a secondary in Government. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m very interested in economics, politics, and international relations, and I love combining these topics with science and technology. In addition to HMUN, I’m involved with other programs in the International Relations Council as well as with the Institute of Politics and the Harvard College Consulting Group.

I’m eager to meet you all, and I can’t wait to hear you debate the topics in committee. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me. I hope to make HMUN an enjoyable experience for all of you.

Sincerely,

Nivedita Khandkar
Director, European Union
eu@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Major: Economics

Favorite MUN moment: Seeing the excitement on delegates' faces when they win awards!

Why HMUN? I enjoy HMUN, because I think that it gives high school students an amazing opportunity to debate and engage with real-world issues.

Advice for new delegates: Try your best and don't be afraid to speak!

Topic Area A: Open Borders

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the European Union must take a look at is policies of open borders and free travel within member countries. Many countries have increased border controls, but many members of European Union governing bodies believe that the open borders are central to the wellbeing of the EU. Policymakers must revisit previous agreements and see how existing laws can be modified in order to tackle the increased terrorist threat. Delegates can also look to other solutions that may ensure more success in preventing terrorist threats without tightening border controls. Delegates will analyze the potential benefits of tightening security and will also evaluate the potential costs, from an economic, social, and cultural standpoint.

Topic Area B: Disputes in the Crimean Region

Russian presence in Crimean region was common discussion in 2014, but has since fallen out of the mainstream media. Russia still controls Crimea, and its military has been conducting threatening exercises. This committee will examine how the European Union should, as a unified body, should resolve the disputes in the Crimean region. The European Union has participated along with the US in sanctioning Russia, but it is up for debate whether these policies are effective and should be continued. Russian occupation of the region has also moved into the field of cyber-warfare, and the EU will need to consider ways it can allay fears of Russian cyber attacks. Delegates will be asked to think critically about potential ways the EU can diplomatically handle the situation, and in the process, uphold sovereignty of its member states.

Dear Delegates,

I’m Davis, and I’m super excited to be your director for NATO this year. I’m a Mathematics/Physics concentrator at Harvard. I’m Canadian, though I lived in Hong Kong for a while. I’ve been passionate about world affairs for a long time, and I think it’s incredibly important that people learn at least a little about how the world works. I sincerely hope your time in NATO helps you do so.

For me, the mark of a successful MUN committee is that the delegates are genuinely enjoying themselves. I think that, if that’s happening, all the other benefits will come along. Please keep this in mind as you prepare for the conference! I’m really excited to see you guys in NATO! Feel free to ask me whatever questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Davis Lazowski
Director, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
nato@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Major: Mathematics and Physics

Favorite MUN moment: I was Palestine, in a UNESCO. We were discussing ways to empower culture using the Internet. Using only extremely on-topic speeches, I still managed to make it all about Palestinian statehood.

Why HMUN? MUN is a great invention: it fuses so much fun with so much learning. And HMUN is the peak of MUN.

Advice for new delegates: Speak, scheme, get involved! It will be scary, and you might not do that well your first time around. But it will make everything so much more rewarding!

Topic Area A: Cybersecurity

Countries today have no good plan to deal with hacking. Many government systems have embarrassingly outdated security standards. And state-sponsored hackers run rampant. One massive state-sponsored attack on Estonia effectively shut down the country for two weeks.Experts warn that even our electricity and water supplies are now at risk of hacking. What to do about this? NATO is at the forefront of cybersecurity policy. In this topic, delegates will consider the many interesting policy questions brought upon by cybersecurity. How do we prevent state sponsored attacks? When, if ever, should NATO retaliate against a purely digital attacker? Delegates will be pushed to balance practicality and security, and to find innovative ways to secure NATO’s digital frontiers.

Topic Area B: Crisis in Syria and the surrounding region

An Islamic State gains power in Syria as domestic forces fight a deadly many-way civil war.Both America and Russia claim to want an end to the civil war, but they back different sides. And many parts of Iraq are also under Islamic State control. Refugees stream north, particularly into European NATO member nations. In this topic, delegates will consider the role in which NATO can best help ameliorate this terrible situation. They will be pressed to consider not only NATO’s potential military role, but also ways in which NATO can contribute as a policy-making or humanitarian force.

Hello Delegates,

My name is Kellen Dugan, and I am very happy to welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations 2017. I have the privilege of serving as the Director of the United Nations Development Programme committee this year.

A little about me: I'm a sophomore at the College, I plan to concentrate in Government, and I'm from the beautiful city of Cleveland, Ohio. Aside from being an active and dedicated supporter of Cleveland and all the Cleveland sports teams, I also enjoy playing sports, watching movies, exercising, and participating in Model UN.

I'm very excited to be directing UNDP, which will feature some very controversial and relevant environmental topics thanks to my recent, intense interest in doing everything I can to better this planet we call home. I hope you all have a great HMUN experience, and I'm looking forward to seeing you in committee!

Sincerely,

Kellen Dugan
Director, United Nations Development Programme
undp@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Major: Government

Favorite MUN moment: Getting stuck in an elevator with 25 other delegates for more than four hours in the late hours of the night.

Why HMUN? Because I want to help give delegates as great of a high school model UN experience as I was fortunate enough to have.

Advice for new delegates: Regardless of experience, stand up and talk. It will be a blast and it will be the last "first" time you talk in committee! You won't regret it.

Topic A: Animal Agriculture & the Environment

What takes up 30% of the world’s ice-free surface, is responsible for up to 33% of the world’s fresh water consumption every year, and has contributed more than half of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today? The Animal Agriculture business! If this topic’s title had not explicitly mentioned it a few lines above, Animal Agriculture would probably not have been your first guess as the answer to my question – which is precisely why this topic needs to be talked about and why this year’s UNDP will be tackling this problem head-on! Among other things, within this topic, delegates will be considering the detrimental effects that the animal agriculture business has on the environment and exploring ways of ameliorating these effects while understanding the importance of animal agriculture to the world’s economy and to the world’s food supply.

Topic B: Business & Sustainability

Encompassing a broader scope than Topic A, this topic will focus on how global business affects two integral facets of the environment: water and biodiversity. Business-related ventures, including both agricultural and industrial projects, account for more than 90% of the world’s fresh water consumption, often polluting and contaminating the water that is used. Concurrently, biodiversity, the variety of life on earth that we unknowingly depend on for the health of our global ecosystem, is currently decreasing at 1000% more than the normal rate of biodiversity loss and is so expendable that businesses now pay for their right to disregard how they are affecting biodiversity. In this topic, delegates will explore new ways to help incentivize the preservation of water sustainability and biodiversity within the realm of business.

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Yantzaza, Ecuador

Major: Social Studies, History and Literature

Favorite MUN moment: One of my favorite MUN memories is when I was Assistant Director of CELAC, and we had our last session. I looked around as a Cuba deleagte was speaking and everyone was clapping and engaged in what the delegate was saying. The committee had become so close and was so involved in creating a well written resolution, and I loved to witness the enthusiasm and commitment that HMUN is all about.

Why HMUN? HMUN unites delegates from all over the world, and gives so many people an forum to discuss the most pressing international issues. To see delegates and staff sharing their passions through formal debate and personal discussion is truly a beautiful thing.

Advice for new delegates: When I was a part of Model UN in high school I was not the type of person to voluntarily want to public speak, but I had ideas that I wanted to share. Instead of staying in your comfort zone try leaning into it and a little beyond, and you will find that you will grow in ways you never imagined. Know that your ideas and stories are worth sharing, and someone will always want to listen. You have done all the preparation and work to get to this conference, so try sharing ideas and speaking up in committee because everyone's voice is important.

Hello Delegates,

My name is Anshi Moreno Jimenez, and I am honored to be serving as your director for the UNECLA committee. I warmly welcome you to HMUN 2017.

I am currently a sophomore at Harvard College who will concentrate in Social Studies or History & Literature with a focus on Latin America. I was born and raised in Yantzaza, Ecuador for part of my life and then moved to Boston, MA where i have lived since.

While on campus, I am a part of various clubs such as the First Generation Student Union, Latinas Unidas LEAD, the Harvard Women's Soccer Club, and of course HMUN. This past year I was able to return to MUN after being a part of it in high school and have enjoyed getting to know upperclassmen that now have lunch with me and look out for me as well as meeting new students from around the world with incredible ideas for new resolutions. UNECLA is dear to me because we will be talking about topics that affect my home nation and discussing issues from a new perspective that current world leaders are still trying to solve. Our topics will not be easy or traditional. I am so excited to have each of you contribute to this committee and think about issues that affect UNECLA from a variety of perspectives. Welcome once again, and please enjoy your time here!

Best Regards,

Anshi Moreno Jimenez
Director, United Nations Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean
uneclac@harvardmun.org
Topic Area A: Race/Ethnicity Relations in Latin America and the Caribbean

We often think about race/ethnicity in the context of the western world because of the media’s attention on these issues. However, Latin American and the Caribbean today still struggle with what to do about minority groups in their nations. Focused on the Afro-Latin@ and Indigenous group experiences, this topic will ask delegates to think critically about ways to incorporate these groups into society and how to meet their demands while thinking about the current cultural and economic state of their nation. With historical and current cases about race/ethnicity focused on specific nations, we will be asked to question who can be called a minority group, what it means, and the implication so of this on the communities and economic stability of nations. We will also deeply explore the intra and inter economic implications of these issues for these nations.

Topic Area B: Documenting the Undocumented in ECLA Borderlands

The idea of immigration is a top issue in the world with the current Syrian refugee crisis, and the 2014 influx of unaccompanied minors from Latin America into the United States. However, immigration is a topic dealt within Latin American and Caribbean states, yet the media often does not cover how this issue plays out in this area of the world. We will focus on discussing historical ways that different nations in ECLA have dealt with immigration and the economical perspectives that different nations have had. We will also delve into current questions of whether immigration is a human right and how should immigrants be incorporated into societies. We will question cultural assimilation, cultural transculturation, and the internal and external economic costs of immigrations. We will then focus on the violence especially in the borderlands and islands that people immigrating face. This topic will be a small part of a greater cultural and economic discussion on the future of immigration.

Hello everyone,

My name is Anthony Bogachev and I will be your director for the World Bank at Harvard Model United Nations 2017. I am immensely honored to have the opportunity to work with you, and I know that we will have an incredible conference together.

I am currently an undergraduate student at Harvard College and plan on studying Bioengineering or Chemical/Physical Biology. I grew up in Maple Grove, Minnesota, a suburban city with a lot of character that is about 20 minutes away from the Twin Cities. My parents emigrated from Belarus, so for my whole life they have encouraged me to explore news and opinions from around the world. My passion for debating and discussing international issues was furthered when I joined Debate, Speech, and Model United Nations in high school. I have also always been interested helping individuals by understanding and unlocking the powers of scientific reasoning and research. Global health lies at the intersection of these two seemingly different passions, which means that the topics will be both challenging and interesting. Although the issues we discuss will not be easy to approach, we also have the potential to make a huge impact.

I am very excited to meet everybody and finally begin committee together! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,

Anthony Bogachev
Director, World Bank
wb@harvardmun.org
Topic Area A: Tuberculosis

Despite being both curable and preventable, Tuberculosis claimed 1.5 million lives in 2014. Killing a full half of those infected and left untreated, TB must be a priority in disease eradication efforts, especially considering the threat of drug resistant TB and HIV co-infection. With 95% of cases occurring in developing nations with limited resources, much of the debate concerns distributing resources efficiently without infringing upon the sovereignty of affected nations. Due to economic, social, and military challenges in these nations, the detection of TB and delivery of aid is not nearly as efficient as it could be. In addition, even though the average cost of treatment for a patient with drug-susceptible TB is only $100-$500, it is estimated that the cost for a full, global TB response is $8 billion per year. Delegates will be faced with a wide variety of challenges, such as developing more efficient ways to diagnose patients, finding funding for distribution of treatment, and preventing the spread of drug resistant TB.

Topic Area B: Privatization of Healthcare in Developing Nations

Although developed nations often provide aid to developing nations in various forms such as government support and NGO programs, many believe that “if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime”. As long term plans for healthcare distribution in developing countries are developed that go beyond simply providing short term aid, we must resolve the tension between ceding control to the private sector versus to the public sector. Although working with local governments would allow for a more systematic program to be developed nationwide, competition among private entities could potentially drive down the cost for consumers. Perhaps external providers, like NGOs or foreign corporations, could provide better services. At the heart of any solution must be a system of regulation to ensure that corruption and abuse do not limit the maximum amount of help that actually reaches patients in need. Delegates will be required to consider difficult economic, scientific, and ethical aspects of the issue in constructing the optimal solution.

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Maple Grove, Minnesota

Major: Bioengineering, Chemical/Physical Biology

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

Why HMUN? As a participant in Model United Nations in high school, I have personally experienced the transformative potential of attending a conference and discussing difficult topics with strangers from a diverse set of backgrounds. Participating in HMUN has given me the opportunity to both assist and learn from delegates.

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

Dear Delegates,

I'm honored to serve as your Director for the Non-Governmental Organizations Programme this year. I warmly welcome you, and your delegations, to the Harvard Model United Nations conference, 2017.

I'm currently a sophomore at Harvard College, and I anticipate concentrating in Social Studies, with a secondary in Economics and/or a citation in French. I'm from the sunny hinterlands of California's Silicon Valley, where my second language was C. Growing up around such a heavy emphasis on tech, I've developed a concern for the people spun out and cast aside by the relentless march of progress, be it in domestic or international, technological or political. I've done research and published a paper on how education, as a humanitarian and grassroots-level institution, can be wielded to bring the sidelined back into public attention. That's also why I'm so excited to study Social Studies and, importantly, to run this committee, both at the convergence of the two large contravening, though often constructive, forces of societies: the mass and the elite.

I dearly look forward to seeing you in 2017, getting to know you, and hearing your well-thought and creative ideas in committee. Never hesitate to reach out to me for questions, or for small talk. I impatiently await the opportunity to build our discussions and HMUN's longtime, continuing mission.

Cordially,

Sidney Li
Director, Non-Governmental Organizations Programme
ngo@harvardmun.org
Topic Area: Humanitarian Aid for States in Transition

The infamous former Harvard law professor and O. J. Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz once described NGOs as a crucial check and balance on governments. In the neoliberal age, it has become increasingly important for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in coordination with richer first-world governments, to maintain and build social stability in regions with shaky political leadership. With neither the popular clout of any political institution nor the (technically) bottomless resources of foreign aid, NGOs have long since abandoned their larger dreams, particularly those aimed at establishing Western-style democracies. This committee represents a revitalization of the stateless, agile power of the NGOs, but from the perspective of inter-organizational collaboration. With NGO involvement in North Africa and the Middle East proliferating in recent years because of the Arab Spring, destabilizing civil wars, and insurgent groups, the ground is fertile for creating and testing strategies in some of the most dangerous environments they have experienced. At the same time, these organizations face daunting complications. Barriers and paradoxes arise between NGOs in states in transition, with their factional and splintered polities. The long-term interests of localized NGOs must be resolved with the short-term impacts of corporate, international ones. This committee and topic area will be both challenging and invigorating, wresting with a numerous set of sliding scales across religions, cultures, ideologies, and institutional methodologies. But ultimately, for today’s most formidable and organized social mobilizers—be it an organization or even a person—it will stake a robustly visionary path, deep into the future.

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

Class year: 2019

Hometown: San Jose, California

Major: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment: Model UN is a simulation of the UN, so you might think that, with all the research you've done and all the debate you've gotten through, that your policies would actually be enacted, or that at least the future might follow the course of your committee. Of course, it's rare that that ever happens, but if it does, it's eerie and magical. I remember playing Egyptian general Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in an Egyptian Revolution committee back in 2012, by the end of which I had taken over Egypt in a finely orchestrated coup and ousting of the nascent government. Needless to say, less than half a year later, the exact thing happened in real life Egypt. (The next year my mafia committee took over New York. Happily, that wasn't the case.)

Why HMUN? There's nothing greater about Model UN than the opportunity it affords to delve deep into topics in international relations and explore them in a highly social and engaged setting. HMUN, with the energy of the delegates and the focus it has on education, embodies this for me. I'm honored to have this opportunity to participate in Harvard's MUN conferences, which have such a long tradition of quality and diversity, hefted higher by the insightfulness of its delegates.

Advice for new delegates: Model UN is just like any other activity you've participated in—it's a chance to socialize and learn from people who think like you and who want to know more about the same things as you. Let each session of the conference be an experiment, a place to focus and shape your thoughts on an issue you intensely care about. The value of Model UN comes from the fact that it's serially a place to learn, argue, lead, advocate, and act for their own sake. By focusing on how well you can wield those skills in committee, you will make the most of your experience here, and you will leave HMUN feeling shaped and confident.

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Social Studies

Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA

Favorite MUN moment: Directing Security Council at HMUN 2016 (where I am excited to return this year)

Why HMUN? HMUN is without a doubt the most substantively excellent and well staffed conference on the high school circuit. It provides an opportunity to interact with delegates and staff members from around the US and the world at large within a context that emphasizes collaborative learning.

Advice for new delegates: Speak out. Don't be afraid if you don't know the buzzwords. Experience is only gained through active engagement, so throw yourself into the fray even if it's uncomfortable. The skills you'll develop throughout the course of conference are extremely widely applicable, so don't let them slip through your hands.

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-fourth session. Together we’ll be exploring key issues of global security in the modern world, leveraging the case-study based model offered by Model UN into a mutually engaging learning experience. Before getting into all of that, however, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.

I’m a junior at Harvard College hailing from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts—a quiet little commuter town about 40 miles west of Boston. My interests are eclectic to a somewhat problematic extent, so I’m concentrating in Social Studies—an integrative social sciences discipline—with a secondary in Computer Science. While I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with my degree once it has been printed on cardstock and framed, I’ve recently found myself gravitating towards policy research and public service oriented law. Hopefully a suitable subfield will come along and sweep me off my feet between now and graduation.

Outside of academics, I’m an avid debater, a certified tree hugger, and an active member of Harvard’s International Relations Council (IRC). The IRC is an umbrella organization tasked with coordinating MUN conferences, supporting a competitive MUN team, and managing a number of other IR-centric tasks. My extracurricular interests in high school were more varied—I wrote for student publications, ran a film society, and founded a tutoring program. With luck—and at the expense of my already impoverished sleep schedule–I’ll have the opportunity to resuscitate all of these passions in the years to come.

On a more philosophical note, I’d like to make it clear that I’m very committed to the idea of MUN as a learning tool above all else. While winning awards and merging blocs might be momentarily exhilarating, the lasting impacts of a committee stem from the manner in which it influences your development as an intellectual being. Politicking and Machiavellian scheming might have a place in committee, but they should never come at the expense of substance. The UNSC offers a venue for cooperation and policy creation that is unique amongst the Specialized Agencies, and we would do best not to squander it.

The value and importance of MUN as a learning tool is highlighted by the topics of this year’s UNSC: the evolving civil war in Yemen and the present situation of the Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Each topic offers a valuable window into the conditions which give rise to regional conflict, challenging us to form creative solutions through research and analysis. Considering that political strife doesn’t seem to be fading from the international scene, an understanding of its causes and manifestations is and will continue to be vital to global citizenship in the 21st century. I look forward to working with each one of you in pursuit of this worthy objective.

Yours,

John Bowers
Director, Security Council
sc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Security Council! My name is Balim Barutcu and I am a sophomore at Harvard College, potentially studying History & Literature – that is yet to be determined.

More importantly, however, I have the pleasure of being the Crisis Director for the Security Council at HMUN 2017. I have been involved in Model UN since my freshman year of high school, and now enjoy being a member of our competitive traveling Model UN team. In terms of staffing experience, I am happy to on the staffs of HMUN, HNMUN and WorldMUN.

Being Turkish, I have always been very interested in regional politics – whether that entails Europe, the Middle East, or something else in between the two. The intersection of these regional dynamics with human rights, specifically ethnic minorities, and failing regimes is what I am most passionate about, so, needles to say, I am utterly excited about the topics we will be looking at. I look very much forward to seeing how the Council will attempt to confront armed conflict and radical political movements, while responding to the international challenges presented by the ever-dynamic Middle East.

Aside from my involvement in the International Relations Council, I spend my time reading and writing, attempting to dance, and taking long walks along the beautiful Charles River.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to with any questions or concerns you may have.

See you soon!

Yours,

Balim Barutcu
Crisis Director, Security Council
sc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2019

Concentration: History and Literature

Hometown: Singapore

Favorite MUN moment: Working as an assistant director for the Security Council at HMUN 2016.

Why HMUN? After having had such rewarding experiences with Model UN as a delegate myself, I want to share the experience of high quality MUN outside of Harvard.

Advice for new delegates: Listening to others in the room is more important than you think.

Topic A: The Kurds

The Kurds are an ethnic group of over 30 million distributed across eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, western Iran, and northern Syria. Over the past decades, numerous clashes between Kurdish populations and the states which they inhabit have generated controversy with regards to their sovereign political rights and claims to statehood. Many Kurds have vocally advocated for the creation of an independent Kurdish state (often referred to as Kurdistan). While many international commentators and Kurdish activists vigorously assert that the population is the largest stateless ethnic group and is therefore deserving of sovereign recognition, others—particularly the governments of Turkey, Iran, and other states containing large Kurdish minorities—reject this proposition as destabilizing and erroneous. Many of these criticisms center on the claim that the Kurds exist not as a homogenous, monolithic unit but rather as a collection of smaller groups artificially conflated for the sake of political leverage. In Turkey the Kurdish PKK militancy has, since 1984, engaged in open combat with the Turkish government. Originally a Marxist-Leninist nationalist movement, the group has stated an independent Kurdish state as its aim (though its exact demands have shifted substantially over time). Each side in the conflict has denounced the other for atrocities, and tensions remain extremely high despite a nominal ceasefire in 2015. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by NATO and the European Union, though the United Nations has not classified it as such.

In Iraq, the Kurds exercise a greater degree of self-administration within the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. It was designated in 1970 after years of extremely bloody conflict between Kurdish nationalists and Iraqi forces. Its history has been marked by recurring conflict with Iraq’s government, notably including the regime of Saddam Hussein. The Al-Anfal genocide (“Kurdish Genocide”) of 1986-1989 involved the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilian targets: an estimated 150,000 to 350,000 Kurdish civilians died in the slaughter. This atrocity and others like it have been used as justification for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state capable of defending itself militarily. While the above summary does little more than to scratch the surface of the Kurds’ situation, it makes evident the intense web of geopolitical and ideological interests involved. When contextualized within the present middle eastern security environment, this web becomes all the more poignant.

The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters of Iraqi Kurdistan have proved themselves to be arguably the most effective and reliable (relatively) US-friendly ground force present in the evolving conflict with ISIS. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, it has provided significant manpower in the fight against the self-proclaimed caliphate. Following the retreat of the US trained and funded Iraqi army in 2014, Peshmerga forces formed the core of resistance against ISIS. While the Iraqi army has been partially retrained and rearmed, the Peshmerga remain a cornerstone of the anti-ISIS effort. However, due to the controversial nature of the Kurds generally and the armed Peshmerga in particular, their role in the conflict has been highly hotly disputed. US equipment and aid to Peshmerga forces must be filtered through the Iraqi government; many still fight with obsolete Russian weaponry whilst their Iraqi army counterparts have access to state-of-the-art American weaponry. Tensions between the two forces have run high, and suspicion of Kurdish fighters runs high amongst neighboring nations with Kurdish minorities. Thus, an issue of balance between immediate interests and geopolitical stability and cooperation emerges. Elements within Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and other Middle-Eastern countries see Kurdish military power as a threat to their sovereignty and territorial rights, but that same power might serve as an incredibly effective means of combating ISIS. I am extremely interested in the Kurds as they pose an intricate web of complicated and conflicting notions of national and human rights, making them a perfect fit for the committee.

Topic B: The Yemeni Civil War

The Yemeni Civil War offers a similarly fraught geopolitical paradigm. Since its outbreak in March of 2015, the war has raged between Yemeni forces representing the recognized government of President Hadi and revolutionary forces largely constituted by Houthi fighters and revolutionary elements of the Yemeni security forces. The country is locked in a state of brutal warfare, as both sides jockey for control of the capital Sana’a. Following the revolutionary forces’ (direct by the Supreme Revolutionary Committee) overthrow of the Hadi government, an international coalition of forces headed by Saudi Arabia has initiated aerial operations. The Saudi air force has executed a vast number of airstrikes against revolutionary fighters, many of which have inflicted severe civilian casualties. The UN estimates that as of March 2016 upwards of 6,300 people had died in the conflict, which continues with unabated ferocity.

As the conflict has developed, additional actors have entered the fray. Iran and Hezbollah have been accused of funneling military equipment to the revolutionary fighters: this support would be unsurprising given the brutal rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Also, both Iran and the Houthi fighters support Shia Islamic practices. Furthermore, terrorist groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have begun to carry out attacks and even seize territory in Yemen. The United States has also entered the conflict alongside the Saudi coalition forces, though it targets ISIS and AQAP exclusively. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and the US have arisen as a result of Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate airstrike protocols, though the US continues to provide intelligence and logistical support for the pro-Hadi campaign.

This messy amalgamation of domestic and international actors and interests makes intervention in the Yemeni civil war an excellent example of the balancing act that forms the core of this committee. Firstly, it intertwines the activities of the revolutionary and government forces with the interests of regional rivals such as Saudi Arabia and Iran in what might be conceived as a religiously and politically charged proxy war. Secondly, the diversity of forces fighting on the ground—terrorist groups, revolutionaries, international coalitions, and government forces—blur the conflict’s motives. For example, the US is involved largely to target ISIS and AQAP, but its longstanding strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia associates it to some degree with the collateral damage caused by Saudi bombings. Blackwater mercenaries have also been employed by coalition forces, bringing in a complex private sector element. Thus, the motives of a given actor are in fact shaped not only by their individual motives but also by their existing alignments with and commitments to other actors. My previous security council committee also involved discussion of proxy wars and Iranian-Saudi Arabian tensions, so I have a base of existing knowledge to work from.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Economics

Hometown: Montgomery, NJ

Favorite MUN moment: Winning best delegate at the NYU Model United Nations Conference.

Why HMUN? Having staffed crisis committees at both HMUN and HNMUN, and having traveled to college conferences, I want to spark lively debate in a crisis committee for high school delegates.

Advice for new delegates: It's cliche, but have fun. If you're not having fun with international relations, then you won't have fun with MUN. When it comes down to it, you're spending 4 days away from home learning to become the new future leaders in the international world. Think about the profound impact that HMUN will have on you, and then try to think about how you can have an impact on HMUN: through working in the committee and crisis rooms and by becoming your best self.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Andrew Jiang and I am honored to welcome you all to the Historical Security Council in 1986. I am currently a sophomore concentrating in Economics with a possible secondary in Government. I am a regular member of Harvard’s travelling Model United Nations team and this is my second year working in both HMUN and our college conference HNMUN. At HMUN last year, I worked as an Assistant Director in the Historical Security Council, 1977. Daniel Montoya, your crisis director, actually directed this committee last year and shares my strong interest in the Security Council’s ability to resolve global conflicts. We look forward in seeing the changes that this committee is able to implement to better the situation in Latin America, and I hope to share my passion for historical global issues and the Latin America region with all of you at HMUN 2017.

The topics for this committee include two of the most significant regional conflicts in Latin America during 1986. As representatives of the UN Security Council, you will all hopefully gain a better understanding of the international issues that have manifest themselves into this region. With a mixture of communism, guerilla warfare, and humanitarian crises, this highly controversial area of Latin America requires the cooperation of the Security Council to prevent further tragedy in Salvadoran Civil War and the Colombian Conflict. With the power to shape the history of these two countries and Latin American politics as a whole, the Historical Security Council must face complex international political issues that will affect generations to come. For better or for worse, you and others in this committee will react to emerging crises in both El Salvador and Colombia that will determine the fate of Latin America.

I am very excited to experience the lively debate that will ensue over the course of the four days at conference. If you have any questions or concerns about this committee, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to meeting all of you at HMUN 2017 and welcoming you to this amazing committee!

Yours,

Andrew Jiang
Director, Historical Security Council
hsc@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Salvadoran Civil War

The struggle between emerging socialist parties and the El Salvadoran government lasted through the 1970’s, which ultimately led to the establishment of military death squads to combat the rebels. In 1979, in response to the military overthrow of the government, the guerilla communist groups formed the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). By 1986, the battle between the military forces and the guerilla groups has left tens of thousands of citizens dead. The “Draining the Sea” tactic, similar to the “scorched earth” strategy, executed by the Salvadoran army has lead to a wide array of human rights violations and systematic terror tactics against innocent civilians. The strong-arm Salvadoran government has ignored any social or economic changes that labor groups or the opposing organizations demand.

Despite attempts by both sides to establish peace talks to bring about an end to the Civil War, large players in the international community have helped fuel the conflict. Fearful of the spread of communism and anarchy past El Salvador and into neighboring nations of the Americas has led to increased Western support of the government, despite the inconceivable number of human rights violations. The faction of communist nations that further supported the FMLN and other guerilla leaders has only served to increase the stakes of the mass conflict that razed large portions of the El Salvadoran land. As a nation dealing with rapid socioeconomic and political damages as well as a full-fledged, internationally-charged civil war, El Salvador must rely on the decisive action of the Security Council to solve the humanitarian crises and warfare within its borders.

Topic B: Colombian Conflict

In 1964, the armed conflict in Colombia was rooted in the poor geopolitical status of the country. As a result, early guerilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) were formed under communist ideals, and continuously fought with the government for power. While the FARC would eventually form a less extreme political Patriotic Union Party (UP) in 1985, excessive violence from the left-wing M-19 guerrilla group, the emergence of powerful drug cartels, and unilateral action from paramilitary groups marked the years leading up to the heights of the conflict. The government’s reaction of organized military death squads only proved to exacerbate the fight.

In addition to the countless domestic crises that surrounded this time period, this conflict served as a proxy war for the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. As a result, the international community must be tasked with the effort of preventing the numerous human rights violations and to deescalate the crisis fueled by Cold War politics. Due the Security Council’s mandate to keep peace and security within the international community, significant action must be taken in order to solve the crisis in Colombia. With many nations having ulterior interests in the Colombian government and its opposing forces, the conflict in this country has the potential of expanding to a much more international-wide conflict with possible nuclear and other global consequences.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Daniel Montoya and I am extremely excited to welcome you to the Historical United Nations Security Council, 1986. I am a junior concentrating in Government with a secondary concentration in economics with a language citation in French. I am the Head Delegate of Harvard’s Intercollegiate Model UN team and this will be my third year staffing both HMUN and HNMUN, our college conference. At HMUN 2016 I served as the director of this very same committee, so it is nice to see the differences between the two years. At HNMUN, I served as a director of Administration. I am so happy to see my director, Andrew Jiang, who was my Assistant Director, take on the role for this upcoming year. We look forward to discussing a usually ignored area of the world and challenge some of the greatest issues in Latin America during this decade. I hope to share my passion for diplomacy in Latin America with all of you at HMUN 2017, and I am super excited to be seeing you very soon.

To give you some background about me, I was born in the shining city of Miami, Florida to Colombian immigrants. I was raised in Colombia until I was five and have returned every summer since. My passion for Latin American politics and history stems from these early years, followed by years of immersion in the intricacies of other Latin American political developments and institutions. I now find myself engulfed in the region; it now represents my focus field of study and it is a region that merits more serious discussion at the international level. I hope that my passion for this region, particularly the Colombian conflict and the Salvadoran Civil War ,reaches the hearts and minds of the delegates participating in HSC in HMUN 2017.

As representatives of various nations in the highest of diplomatic councils, I expect you will receive a more detailed and holistic understanding of the situations in these two nations and the appropriate international response that was severely lacking during this time period. These conflicts go beyond the surface, emerging the complexities of guerilla warfare and Cold War politics, to engross a humanitarian toll and threaten the regional stability. It was these events of the 1980’s that truly representative the extent of international engagement in the region that continues until today. The dynamic pace of this committee is meant to test the delegates’ capability to balance various issues, entertain new issues, and challenge pre-conceived ideals. From the left, from the right, bullets in the sky, and troops on the ground, this committee is meant to be incredibly fun, and substantively engaging. You face a rather daunting but exciting task of ensuring the peace of a region and become leaders in the global fight against instability. For four days in late January you will be in charge of the past, and consequently, the future of Latin America.

I am very excited to meet all of you and see how you react to the crises I throw at you. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about the HSC 1986 please do not hesitate to contact me or Andrew. I am looking forward to welcoming you to HMUN 2017 and this amazing committee!

Sincerely,

Daniel Montoya
Crisis Director, Historical Security Council
hsc@harvardmun.org

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL

Favorite MUN moment: Leading the Harvard team for the first time as a head delegate to the best large delegation award at the NYU Model United Nations Conference.

Advice for new delegates: Have Fun. This conference, no matter how substantive, no matter how competitive, is meant to be a fun experience. If you stop and realizing that you are not enjoying yourself, then shake it up, really embrace the fun of Model UN.

Why HMUN? In the room you are the star. You get the best of both worlds, you can chill and take it slow and then rock out the committee. Mix the substance and the fun all together and you know that you will get the both of both MUN worlds.

Class year: 2017

Concentration: History

Hometown: Coronado, California

Favorite MUN moment: Using the food budget as German Minister of Agriculture to provoke England and France into starting World War I forty years early.

Why HMUN? HMUN fosters a unique connection between different delegates, and between the delegates and the staff. The experience of working hard and debating complex issues, with the backdrop of the Boston Winter, helps create a strong group relationship, and makes every committee experience unique and memorable.

Advice for new delegates: Read everything you can about your topic, and dive right into committee as soon as you get to conference! Always look for opportunities to raise your placard to contribute to the discussion.

Class year:2017

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Favorite MUN moment: Competing at NYU's conference where I was in the Kurdistan committee as the head of the Peshmerga. I was standing in line at Starbucks and a defense contractor thought I was in NYC for an defense conference and representing the Peshmerga.

Advice for new delegates: Try to give a speech early on in committee- once your first speech is over, you'll feel a lot less nervous. Be active in crisis - even if you aren't sure what to do in crisis or your actions have been shut down, always keep trying new things. Most importantly, talk to me if you ever are unsure about committee or don't know what to do. Crisis committees can be very confusing in the beginning and I'm always happy to talk with you in the hallway or between sessions to make sure you're getting the most out of it.

Why HMUN? This will be my fourth year staffing HMUN and my third year running a crisis committee. I love HMUN because it's exactly the kind of conference I would have loved attending when I was in high school. It's such a great opportunity to discuss some of the most fascinating times in history or the greatest challenges facing the world today. I especially love crisis committees because they allow the staff to really interact with delegates and constantly change things up, simulating the chaos of these topics for delegates. As someone focused on international relations, I also enjoy getting to talk with delegates about their interest in Model UN and these topics.

Dear Delegates,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Cabinet and Senior Advisers of President Richard Nixon, 1970. I will be serving as your co-director, and am looking forward to simulating the dramatic and dangerous events of the United States in the early 1970s.

We will be simulating one of the most turbulent and uncertain eras in American history. In the early 1970s, the United States found itself mired in an unpopular foreign war, economic decline, and skepticism from key allies. It was forced by the constraints of circumstance to adapt American diplomacy and domestic policy to the pressures of the international and domestic context. You will be faced with determining how to conclude the war in Vietnam, how to refashion American diplomacy towards the Soviet Union and communist China, how to manage the fallout from anti-war protests and race riots, and, perhaps most importantly for your own prospects, winning reelection in 1972. We are expecting delegates to creatively think about solutions for the various problems faced by the United States, and the Nixon Administration, and to use their personal portfolio powers to advance both American, and Nixonian, interests.

I am currently a rising senior studying history and government, with a particular interest in how differing understandings of national and international history impact contemporary foreign policymaking. I am most interested by diplomatic history and like to look at the role of diplomacy in international affairs. I am very involved in Model UN at Harvard, also staffing our high school conference, HMUN, competing on ICMUN, our traveling team, and serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Relations Council, the umbrella organization that includes Model UN at Harvard. Apart from my involvement in Model UN, I am an avid amateur squash player, and am a member of the club squash team. I also write for the Harvard Political Review and work for the Kennedy School of Government undertaking research primarily focused on contemporary Middle Eastern Security.

I am really looking forward to this committee, and to seeing the creative crisis solutions you all attempt as the struggles of the Cold War and domestic upheaval shake the country. I can’t wait to meeting you in January!

Yours,

Wright Smith
Director, The Cabinet and Senior Advisors of President Nixon, 1970
nixon@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Anastasia Moran and it is my pleasure to welcome you to Nixon’s Cabinet, 1970. I am a senior concentrating in Government and I’m very involved in Model UN at Harvard. I compete as part of Harvard’s intercollegiate Model UN team and this is my fourth year staffing both HMUN and HNMUN, our college conference. Last year at HNMUN, Harvard’s college conference, I served as Under-Secretary-General of the Specialized Agencies. Last year at HMUN, I crisis directed the Iraq committee in the Iran-Iraq War joint crisis committee. This is the third year in a row that Wright Smith and I have run a crisis committee together at HMUN.

In this committee, we will be looking at a darker time in American history when the U.S. government was struggling to gain domestic support while dealing with unpopular conflicts abroad. We will be critically examining the decisions made at this time while also hoping to show why some of the most unpopular decisions were made. While exposing you to a wide range of domestic and international crises, we will also test you with the political realities of the time.

As an SA committee, we will move at a fast pace, reacting to emerging crises in the Vietnam War, economic decline, tensions with the Soviet Union, mass protests at home and the loss of political support. For four days this February you will have the power to shape America’s history and determine the legacy of President Nixon.

I am very excited to meet all of you and see how you react to the crises we throw at you. If you have any questions or concerns about the committee please do not hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to welcoming you to HMUN 2017!

Yours,

Anastasia Moran
Crisis Director, The Cabinet and Senior Advisors of President Nixon, 1970
nixon@harvardmun.org

In Nixon’s Cabinet, 1970 we will delve into a darker time in American politics that is crucial to understanding contemporary American foreign and domestic affairs. In the field of foreign policy, we will focus on the challenges of declining American power. This decline in influence is primarily a result of the war in Vietnam. President Nixon has begun the drawdown of troops, but is looking for actions to ensure that the United States still gains “peace with honor.” Along with the Vietnam War, the committee will have to pursue diplomatic solutions to the conflict, as well as seek a broader rapprochement with both the Soviet Union and communist China. The Administration will also have to respond to crises arising throughout the world, from South Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

The committee will also discuss domestic issues, focusing on a wide variety of events that tested the Nixon administration and limited its ability to exert influence abroad. The cabinet and advisors will have to deal with economic decline, rising unemployment, protests against the draft and the war in Vietnam, as well as worsening race relations. As the government struggles to address these issues, it will face growing protests, violence in the streets, and the possibility of Nixon losing crucial political support. The committee must also try to quell domestic unrest while also preparing for Nixon’s re-election campaign. There is a very real possibility that Nixon may lose the 1972 election, and so the cabinet and advisers must consider all methods, even unscrupulous ones, to win. Every member of the committee’s job and future prospects depend on Nixon winning re-election.

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration:Undeclared

Hometown: Yangon, Myanmar

Favorite MUN moment: Banging the gavel to end my high school’s conference

Why HMUN? Not a lot of people know or care about South East Asia. I want to increase conversation and awareness of SEA by exposing high school students to that region.

Advice for new delegates: Come fully prepared to the conference. Read the background guide, update papers, and character bios, and do a whole lot of your own research. For a committee as small as the SA, it is possible to know about every member's stance on the issue. If this is your first time speaking to an audience, write out the first few speeches. Don't wait until end of the session to speak. By that time, people might not take you seriously anymore.

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Favorite MUN moment: Joining the Specialized Agencies for HMUN 2017!

Why HMUN? I wanted to get involved with MUN in a substantive way, and HMUN is the best avenue for introducing myself to the format whilst still dealing with issues that are difficult to grasp, such as those that face modern day Myanmar.

Advice for new delegates: As long as delegates do the background readings and prepare adequately, they will be able to participate well and understand how each turn of events affects the delegates' positions.

Class year: 2017

Concentration: Social Studies

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Favorite MUN moment: When my co-Head Delegate of ICMUN, Rohan, and I won best delegate in the United Nations Security Council at our last conference as head dels.

Why HMUN? HMUN has an amazing educational philosophy that I very much align with. The committees we host are not only fun and innovative experiences, but they are also highly substantive educational simulations that help delegates understand more about the nuances of international and national politics. Just by reading analyses of political issues, we cannot understand the complex relationships at play and the subtleties of negotiation without actually simulating the governments or bodies that must grapple with those issues. That's why I love Model UN, and that's why I appreciate HMUN so much.

Advice for new delegates: Introduce yourself to as many of your fellow delegates as possible. HMUN attracts the brightest people of your generation and is a fantastic opportunity for you to have the most interesting conversations you'll ever have in your life. Paying attention in committee and getting to know other delegates will help you to improve your skills as a delegate through learning by example. Most importantly, have fun!

Dear Delegates,

My name is Charlene Hong, and I am a senior at Harvard College, studying Social Studies and writing a thesis on political agency of Korean university students. I hail originally from Nashville, Tennessee. Although I am not a huge fan of country music, I still love my sweet tea and Southern cooking. I am deeply involved with the Harvard International Relations Council, staffing Harvard’s Model UN conferences in Boston, China, and Latin America, and competing at other college Model UN conferences as a former head delegate for the traveling team, ICMUN. Outside of Model UN, I am involved with the diverse Asian student community at Harvard and work on the board of an entirely student-run non-profit that aims to expand educational opportunities for girls in developing countries.

I am beyond excited to welcome delegates to the Constituent Assembly Myanmar, and to help create a dynamic, fun, and educational crisis experience. This committee offers delegates the chance to engage with myriad challenges, from transitioning to a democratic government to forming a multiethnic coalition to balancing foreign relations with trade and diplomatic partners. I can’t wait to get started with committee and to welcome you all to HMUN 2017!

Sincerely,

Charlene Hong
Senior Crisis Director, Constituent Assembly of Myanmar
cam@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Tout Tun Lin and it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the Constituent Assembly of Myanmar. I am a sophomore at the College potentially concentrating in Social Studies or Anthropology. On campus, I am mostly involved in programs under the International Relations Councils; I am staffing Harvard National Model United Nations, our MUN conference for college students, as well as HMUN China, our sister conference in Beijing. I am so excited to meet you guys and to witness how you will shape the future of a federalist Myanmar.

To give a brief background about my interests in Myanmar politics, I was born and raised in Myanmar and only recently moved to the States to attend college. When my parents were my age, a military coup d’état occurred, and the newly decolonized nation, once thought of as the “jewel of Asia”, isolated itself from the rest of the world. Until recently, discussing Myanmar politics in Myanmar could land you in jail for more than 10 years Naturally, this made me more curious about the oppressive political culture that exists in Myanmar. The Constituent Assembly will take place in present time (and, as luck would have it, when the Hluttaw convenes); it will be most rewarding to compare and contrast the similarities and differences of the directives passed by our committee and the directives passed by the Myanmar Parliament.

As members of the Constituent Assembly, we will draft a federal constitution to unify the seven states and seven divisions under Myanmar. We will discuss ethnic reconciliation and equal representation of minorities in Hluttaw, negotiate resource and revenue sharing, land rights, and division of power among states. We will also create autonomous regions and demilitarize armed rebel groups. As we debate and write directives, our crisis directors will be hard at work creating scenarios based on the consequences of your proposed mandates. You will have to respond to the crises in a timely fashion or risk destroying the fragile peace between the central government and the armed ethnic groups. This committee will be extremely fast-paced, challenging, and thoroughly enjoyable. At the end of our conference, I hope you will have learned the intricacies of ethnic politics, the reality of negotiations, and the structure of the political scene in South East Asia.

I cannot wait to meet you guys in the fall; we are going to have an amazing time together at conference.

Yours,

Tout Tun Lin
Director, Constituent Assembly of Myanmar
cam@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Jasmine Chia, and I am excited to welcome you to the Constituent Assembly of Myanmar 2016 at HMUN 2017.

I am a rising junior studying government and religion with a secondary in economics. I’m a Thai/Singaporean who grew up in Bangkok, and am in love with political philosophy. I’m interested in the way that Buddhism legitimates political order in Southeast Asia, and have been conducting thesis research in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

In Myanmar, there is such an incredible profusion of things. In Yangon, white cars flash in the sunlight and there is an arid trace of construction everywhere – gray dusted tires, scaffolding and bulldozers, eroded sidewalks and brick walls half painted with concrete. There is a profusion of ethnic diversity, of socio-economic diversity and of political questions. Myanmar is at an incredibly charged, decisive moment in its history: there are growing tensions between nationalist groups, an ongoing civil war (the longest civil war in the world) and the de jure transfer of power from the military to the National League of Democracy.

Everything done in Myanmar now shapes its future for the next five, if not fifty, years. These decisions, your decisions, are the ones that decide how the federal state takes shape – how questions of life and death, peace, political legitimacy and democracy are answered. How do you create a democratic state when 25% of the parliament is made up of the military and local commanders still determine policy implementation on the ground? How do you bring ethnic groups together with those they have been fighting for 68 years? There will be many difficulties, and I am committed to making sure you are consistently challenged, but also that you find your experience rewarding.

Let’s change history.

Yours,

Jasmine Chia
Crisis Director, Constituent Assembly of Myanmar
cam@harvardmun.org

When Myanmar gained independence in 1948, ethnic nationalities demanded a federal union be enshrined in the new constitution in accordance with the promises of General Aung San and the Panglong Agreement. However, a genuine federal state was never achieved, even under the first civilian government – instead, they maintained the extractive institutions of their former oppressors. Ethnic nationalities were dissatisfied, to say the least. The Karen were the first ethnic group that revolted, and at least 20 other ethnic armed organizations launched separate insurgencies. However, the military efficiently suppressed these secessionist movements with incredible violence.

After more than 50 year of military oppression, Myanmar held its first free election in March of 2016. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, and her party, the National League for Democracy, won by a landslide and now controls more than 60% of the parliament. As Myanmar goes through its democratic transition, the nation must reconcile with numerous ethnic groups it has oppressed for decades. In addition, it must uphold the original agreement of establishing a federal constitution that equally protects all ethnic groups under the law.

After more than 50 year of military oppression, Myanmar held its first free election in March of 2016. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, and her party, the National League for Democracy, won by a landslide and now controls more than 60% of the parliament. As Myanmar goes through its democratic transition, the nation must reconcile with numerous ethnic groups it has oppressed for decades. In addition, it must uphold the original agreement of establishing a federal constitution that equally protects all ethnic groups under the law.

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Social Studies

Hometown: Cedar Crest, NM

Favorite MUN moment: Working my way up to becoming the ruler of my committee as a delegate on the college circuit.

Why HMUN? HMUN provides an opportunity for thousands of high schoolers from around the world to come together and engage in substantive debate about world issues. As a director, this presents me with a culturally diverse space to teach about diplomacy and the challenges of international negotiation. In addition, I am excited to work with such a dedicated and exciting staff and meet my committee members this coming January!

Advice for new delegates: Sometimes it can feel like everyone is focusing on this thing called parliamentary procedure, but this is not what is at the center of Model UN. Rather, you should focus on the topic areas up for discussion as well as coming up with solutions for the problems your committee is facing. If you make little mistakes in jargon no one will care; what really matters is that you are having fun, meeting new people, and working to move discussion forward.

Class year: 2017

Concentration: Economics

Hometown: Ennis, TX

Favorite MUN moment: At CMUNNY (Columbia's university conference), I won best delegate in a comic book superheroes committee as Mr. Fantastic.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to ask for advice! If you don't know how to write or structure a crisis note or directive, feel free to ask me or Eliza or one of the delegates around you. Even though it's a competition, the most important thing is that you learn, improve, and feel comfortable in your own skin, all of which we are more than happy to help you with.

Why HMUN? I never had the chance to participate in Model UN in high school, and I really feel that I've missed out on a lot of learning experiences and potential friends. I do HMUN because I want every delegate to experience the same sense of accomplishment and joy that I have at every Model UN conference I go to.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Eliza Ennis, and it is my greatest pleasure to welcome you to the Council of People’s Commissars, Russia 1917. I am a sophomore with a passion for international relations and early twentieth-century history. While I am still undeclared, I am planning to study either Social Studies or Government with a secondary concentration or focus field in Global Health and Health Policy. I am also pursuing a citation in Arabic. This will be my second year staffing both Harvard Model United Nations and Harvard National Model United Nations, our college conference. This past year at HMUN, I assistant directed for the JCC: The Cabinet of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1981. I am also an active member of the Harvard Intercollegiate Model UN team.

Outside of Model UN, I am an outdoor enthusiast, particularly when it comes to rivers and mountains. I enjoy rafting, kayaking, biking, and backpacking, and I will never say no to sleeping under the stars. Though Cambridge is a bit different from my hometown of Cedar Crest, New Mexico, I continue to spend time outdoors, whether that be running along the Charles river or studying in Harvard yard.

My interest in the time period from 1914-1945 stems from my belief that this was one of the most pivotal time periods for shaping international relations and well as countries’ domestic policies today. Russia’s evolution during this time period, as well as the ramifications of these changes, is critical to a broader understanding of global sentiments and positions today. I only discovered my interest in Russia in my senior year of high school, but the timing of that discovery was ideal, as Russia’s annexation of Crimea became international headlines that same year. This propelled my passion for this time period into a curiosity about Russia and how the events of 1917 and the proceeding years shaped the present day.

As a group of advisors known as commissars, you will be meeting shortly after Vladimir Lenin becomes chairman of Russia to decide the fate of this divided country. Facing civil war, massive casualties from WWI, and the task of building a government from Marx’s vision of communism, you will have to balance foreign affairs, calming domestic unrest, rebuilding the economy, and so much more. In just four days, you will have to decide the future of Russia and thus shape the future of global affairs. This great task has fallen upon you, and I look forward to seeing how you debate, discuss, and ultimately settle on diplomatic solutions. In addition, I am excited to see how you react to the crises we through your way.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to seeing you this January at HMUN 2017!

Yours,

Eliza Ennis
Director, Council of the People's Commissars, Russia 1917
cpc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

It is my pleasure to welcome you into the Council of People’s Commissars, 1917, at the sixty-fourth session of Harvard Model United Nations. My name is Benjamin Betik, and I will be serving as your Crisis Director for what is sure to be an exceptionally dynamic and exciting committee at the conference.

A bit about me: I am a senior at Harvard College pursuing a degree in Economics with a secondary field in government and a language citation in Chinese. At last year’s HMUN, I crisis directed for the Reagan’s CIA committee. I have previously directed contemporary UNSC committees at HMUN’s collegiate sister conference last year and at the 2016 Global Classrooms International middle school conference (GCIMUN), and I will be directing a Historical Security Council committee at HNMUN 2017. Beyond my staffing experience, I have also competed in several crisis committees as a delegate for the Harvard traveling team, winning awards in three of my four committees. When I’m not too busy with schoolwork and Model UN, I spend my time organizing debates for the Harvard Political Union, teaching Chinese immigrants about the US naturalization test, and watching lots and lots of Netflix. I am also a black belt in Taekwondo, and I firmly believe that there is nothing better than a well-made burrito.

I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with Eliza, who is a fantastic director and friend, as we explore the intrigue and decision-making that took place in Russia under Lenin. We are both committed to making this committee one of the best at HMUN 2017. Please feel free to reach out to Jonah or me with any questions, and I look forward to seeing you in January!

Yours,

Ben Betik
Crisis Director, Council of the People's Commissars, Russia 1917
cpc@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Domestic Unrest and Other National Issues

In February of 1917, revolutionaries toppled the tsarist autocracy, leading to a fractured state and a provisional government. This government was faced with handling a fractured nation, but instead of focusing their attention at home, they kept fighting their enemies abroad, wasting resources and leading to massive casualties in WWI. Eight months later, the socialist Bolsheviks had had enough and they took over the country in the October Revolution, using militant workers called the Red Guards to fight against the anti-socialist “Whites.” Though the Reds seem to be keeping control of the new government, the whites continue to gain support and forces around the country, often attacking socialist strongholds or allying with foreign powers.

Beyond internal dissent and rival factions, the economy dominates the domestic issues of the nation. The Russian government must decide where to focus their efforts, whether on industrialization or agricultural growth. Unfortunately, there is not the time nor infrastructure to do both, so the Bolsheviks must decide which is more advantage for them and their people’s future. Furthermore, hyper-inflation is threatening the country, which could present a huge issue to poorer citizens.

Topic B: Foreign Affairs

At the peak of Russian involvement and casualty loss in WWI, the allies continue to push Russia to lead a strong second front, but seemed to continually ignore the growing pressure within Russia to pull out of the war. If Russia does leave the alliance, however, they will face countless sanctioning measures from all of their former allies.

In addition to this potential action and its ramifications, Russia has to deal with the revolutions and new governments of many border states who are claiming self-determination. Russia is torn, as the revolutions most certainly follow in the spirit of Marx, but the revolutions themselves are poorly planned and may not lead to an adherence of the same strain of communism that the Bolsheviks aim to rule by in Russia. The government must decide to quell the revolutions or to allow some autonomy to these regions.

Topic C: Implementing and Exporting Communism

As a new government, the Council must focus on how to incorporate communism into its new laws and ideals as a committee, but also how to export this revolution elsewhere. In the vision of Marx, implementing communism entails detailing how far to go with collectivization and banning of private property in the Russian homeland, while also promoting proletariat overthrow and communist expansion abroad.

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

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Government

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Favorite MUN moment: Assistant directing for two fun Latin American crisis committees at last year’s HMUN and HNMUN conferences.

Why HMUN? I had a great experience working with the Spanish-speaking committee at the last HMUN, and thought that it would be great to run a similar committee, especially considering how enthusiastic the high school delegates were.

Advice for new delegates: Don't give up, even if you get tired and run out of ideas. Power through the weekend and have fun!

Dear Delegates,

Mi nombre es Andrés Manuel López-Garrido y soy el director del Gabinete del Gobernador de Puerto Rico. Nací en Boston, MA pero llevo viviendo en San Juan, Puerto Rico desde los tres años. Soy estudiante de segundo año y estoy estudiando Gobierno y Ciencias Ambientales.

Me interesa mucho la política y la historia Latinoamericana, particularmente la de Puerto Rico, y además tengo una verdadera pasión por las relaciones internacionales y la política. Este interés me llevó a participar en mi equipo de Modelo de Naciones Unidas en Puerto Rico y ahora me ha llevado a participar en el equipo de Harvard, ICMUN (del cual soy el capitán). He participado en varios comités que han abarcado temas desde el desarrollo de la energía renovable, la guerra civil española y hasta reuniones de la compañía Disney.

Creo que el debate es un tremenda manera de aprender sobre asuntos que son de relevancia a cualquier ciudadano global y una mejor manera de hacer amigos que duran toda la vida. Estoy increíblemente entusiasmado y honrado de tener la oportunidad de correr este comité por dos razones. Primeramente, como ya deben saber, me interesa muchísimo la política puertorriqueña. Además, extraño presenciar debate en español. Aunque me encanta participar en el equipo de Naciones Unidas aquí en Harvard, tengo que admitir que el debate en inglés es un poco seco para mi gusto. Estoy seguro de que van a traer al comité ideas innovadoras y una pasión inspiradora.

Les deseo muchísimo éxito estudiando, y espero ansiosamente verlos a todos y a todas en enero. No duden en contactarme de tener cualquier pregunta. ¡Nos vemos pronto!

Atentamente,

Andres Lopez-Garrido
Crisis Director, Cabinet of the Governor of Puerto Rico
puerto@harvardmun.org

Queridos Delegados,

Mi nombre es Daniel Rodriguez Sanabria, aunque me pueden llamar Danny, y seré su director para el comité contemporáneo sobre el Gabinete del Gobernador de Puerto Rico en HMUN 2017. Soy un estudiante de tercer año en Harvard College estudiando Gobierno con un enfoque en Economía Política y Desarrollo. También estoy haciendo un estudio secundario en Música. Andrés López, nuestro Crisis Director, y yo, estamos sumamente contentos y entusiasmados de tener esta oportunidad, y queremos asegurar que ustedes todos tengan una experiencia educativa y divertida durante nuestra conferencia.

Siendo de Puerto Rico, Andrés y yo tenemos un gran interés en la situación política, económica y social de la Isla. Hemos seguido atentamente el desarrollo de la crisis fiscal que actualmente afecta a Puerto Rico. En este momento, la Isla debe 69 mil millones de dólares a diferentes firmas norteamericanas y a miles de ciudadanos privados, pero el gobierno ha declarado múltiples veces que se la ha acabado el dinero. Bajo la situación política peculiar entre Puerto Rico y los Estados Unidos, los municipios y las agencias gubernamentales de la Isla no tienen la opción de declarar la bancarrota, como pueden las de los estados. El gobierno ha respondido a la situación con recortes de pensiones y aumentos al Impuesto a las Ventas y Uso (IVU), que a su nivel actual de 11.5% es el más alto en los E.E.U.U. Sin embargo, estos actos de austeridad han hecho poco para remediar la crisis, y los E.E.U.U. ahora están contemplando establecer una Junta de Control Fiscal. Los poderes exactos de esta junta todavía no han sido determinados, pero la intención será que esta tenga la responsabilidad de aprobar el presupuesto de la Isla, y la capacidad de hacer nombramientos y supervisar el funcionamiento de varias organizaciones gubernamentales.

Además de esto, y quizás en conjunto, el debate sobre el estatus político ideal de la Isla sigue siendo el tema principal de la política local. Los partidos principales están divididos basado en el estatus que prefieren (estadidad, mantener el estado libre asociado, o independencia). El Partido Nuevo Progresista, el cual favorece la estadidad, ha prometido que si ganan la elección de gobernador, pedirán un referendo oficial en el año 2017. Durante el fin de semana, su comité tendrá que trabajar en conjunto para resolver estos problemas. Explicaremos estos y otros temas en más detalle dentro de este guía.

Finalmente, Andrés y yo estamos bien emocionados de estar corriendo un comité completamente en español. Pensamos que va a facilitar la discusión sobre estos temas, y servirá como una buena experiencia educativa para todos ustedes y para nosotros. Si tienen cualquier pregunta, mándenme un email, y nos veremos en HMUN 2017!

Buena suerte!

Danny Rodriguez
Director, Cabinet of the Governor of Puerto Rico
puerto@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Debt Crisis

For the last decade, Puerto Rico has found itself in recession. For even longer, the government has been plagued with mismanagement, political favoritism, and toxic borrowing practices that, in combination with crumbling infrastructure and an exceedingly complicated relationship with the United States of America, has led to an insurmountable debt crisis. As it stands, the island has only been able to pay off three billion of its seventy-two billion dollar debt, which is held mostly by foreign investors, and the future does not look bright, as the island is excluded from Chapter Nine of the US Bankruptcy Code, which allows municipalities and government entities to declare bankruptcy and restructure their debts in court. Furthermore, American investment firms have vowed to challenge any debt restructuring efforts, claiming to be protecting the interests of their clients, many retirees who planned to finance their retirement through investment in, among other things, Puerto Rican municipal bonds. The American government is now considering establishing a Fiscal Control Board, which would oversee and approve the island’s budget, as well as have the power to supervise and make appointments to various government agencies. It will be interesting to see if this is established, and if so, how it will affect the debt crisis and life on the island.

Topic B: Political Status

The second formal agenda item relates to a topic that is the main driving force in Puerto Rican politics. In 1948, Puerto Ricans elected their governor for the first time, and by 1952, this governor had worked with US Legislature to draft and approve a Constitution for the island. Since then, the legitimacy of this document has been questioned and defended, and the argument over the ideal political status for the island has boiled over, to the point that political parties now align based on the status that they support: statehood, independence, and the status quo. Smaller, non-status based parties have begun to emerge recently, but have garnered very little support. Therefore, it would make sense to address the issue of status. Particularly, we would address it in the form of a referendum by the people. One party in particular, the New Progressive Party, which supports statehood, has vowed to carry out an official, federally sponsored referendum in 2017 if they win the governorship. Since elections are to be held in November, we don’t know yet what party will be in power during the conference, but based on the results, delegates will have to promote the status that their party feels is ideal for the island.

Note: Este comité se llevará a cabo en español (This committee will be conducted in Spanish).

Note: Este comité necesita una solicitud especial (Assignments to this committee are by special application only).

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Government and Environmental Science & Public Policy

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Favorite MUN moment: Leading the Harvard delegation to the best delegation award at the NYU Model United Nations conference.

Advice for new delegates: Find a balance between doing things in committee and interacting with the crisis room, but don't let either of them get in the way of the other.

Why HMUN? I loved HMUN last year. Spanish-speaking delegates rock.

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Mathematics & Computer Science

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Favorite MUN moment: Getting killed off in committee, but coming back to get revenge against the delegate responsible.

Why HMUN? It's the best conference when it comes to education. College students tend to have their minds made up. The opportunity to work with highly motivated high school students is a good one.

Advice for new delegates: Relax, be substantive and prepared, don't fixate on awards.

Class year: 2017

Concentration: Economics

Hometown: Gauynabo, Puerto Rico

Favorite MUN moment: Winning best delegate at the end of my High School MUN career.

Why HMUN? HMUN serves as the most advanced platform through which delegates can explore international relations in a safe environment where everyone is pushed to contribute to the best of their abilities. I am excited to be a part of that process!

Advice for new delegates: Work hard and learn the background guide and associated history. A solid understanding of the background is key to success!

Dear Delegates,

My name is Kyle Sargent, and I’m very excited to welcome you to the Greek Ministerial Council. As a rising sophomore at Harvard, I’m currently studying Mathematics and Computer Science. Outside of the classroom, I am highly involved in the International Relations Council, an extracurricular umbrella organization that encompasses Harvard’s traveling Model UN team along with HMUN and HMUN China, in which I am also involved. At HMUN 2016, you’ll be a part of the Contemporary Greek Ministerial Council, a group of Greece’s most powerful bureaucrats responsible for overseeing its most influential ministries. Currently, Greece is plagued by economic troubles and a massive influx of refugees. The country will look to you for answers.

I’ll begin by explaining how this committee came about. When I arrived at Harvard in the fall of 2015, I originally intended to study economics. In high school I was very passionate about the field, and wrote several papers about fiscal and monetary policy for state- and national-level competitions. Many of these papers concerned central banking and the Eurozone, with emphasis on the role of particular countries like Germany or Ireland. As I dug deeper into the budgets and balance sheets of faltering Western democracies and their central banks, I realized the stories told by the numbers therein were incomplete. In fact, as I came to realize, the economic plight of a country like Greece has deeply political elements. The European Union has a vested interest in Greece’s fiscal health, and this force often finds itself in opposition to popular sentiment in Greece against austerity and contractionary fiscal policy. My belief is that Model UN lends itself well to this issue, because any viable solution to it will require both technical expertise and political savvy.

The Greek refugee crisis is another ongoing issue that will require your attention at conference. Unlike the protracted economic downturn, the refugee crisis has a much more immediate and emotionally visceral character. But the problems related to refugees that you’ll face in this committee, like those international leaders face every day, will not have clear-cut, morally unambiguous solutions. Often, proposals to house and care for refugees will earn the ire of your constituents. Integrating them into society and finding them employment could prove expensive or politically unpopular. Accepting too few refugees may anger your overburdened European allies, and accepting too many may allow them to leak through your borders westward. Arriving at acceptable solutions to this issue will require a delicately tuned moral compass and much allowance for practical considerations.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how you tackle these issues, as they are by no means unique to Greece. If you have any questions please contact me via my committee email and I will address them to the best of my ability.

Yours,

Kyle Sargent
Director, Greek Ministerial Council
gmc@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Yoav Shaked and I am a senior at Harvard College pursuing a concentration in economics and a secondary in computer science. If you haven’t heard it already, let me be the first to welcome you to the HMUN 2017 Specialized Agencies! I am absolutely thrilled to be your crisis director for this committee.

Some interesting facts about myself: I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I love sushi, and my favorite place in the world is the Mediterranean coast of Tel Aviv, Israel.

To me, the greatest part of Model UN is the bonding process that occurs both between delegates and between staff, especially at HMUN. Delegates and staff alike start off as strangers but leave as friends, bonded by this special academic and interpersonal experience rooted in international relations. It is my contention that the only way for a committee to create these memorable, long-lasting bonds is for it to be substantively extraordinary while inherently intense – pushing delegates to work together to manage complex issues. In this dynamic atmosphere, connections are made and friendships that will last a lifetime are born. Committees that provide for this kind of experience go from being great to being unforgettable.

A Greek Ministerial Council crisis committee is the perfect setting to achieve these objectives as you will be required to work together as you grapple with two inherently difficult and complex crisis: the first, an economic crisis of unprecedented scope and the second, a refugee crisis with challenging ethical dilemmas. As you engage these issues, I hope that you will quickly realize that they are not unique to Greece; they are but a microcosm of the challenges faced by the European Union as a whole.

As your crisis director, I promise that I will present you all with compelling, challenging crises that will stimulate you both on an intellectual and emotional level as you experienced the fast paced environment of a crisis committee in the HMUN SA. You will have the experience of a lifetime as your decisions affect your government’s position at home as well as its standing abroad. By the time you leave conference, I am confident that you will have a much more nuanced perspective after grappling with these issues first-hand. For me, it is in fact essential that this occurs as these issues are at the center of a debate that will likely define both Greece and the European Union in the 21st century.

With that, I would just like to reiterate how utterly excited I am for this incredible committee. If there is anything I can do to improve your experience, do not hesitate to reach out to me either through the Assistant directors or through other members of the staff!

I sincerely look forward to working with each of you.

Sincerely,

Yoav Shaked
Crisis Director, Greek Ministerial Council
gmc@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Economic Crisis

At the heels of the global recession, Greece fell into an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions, from which it has yet to recover fully. As Greece entered the Euro, it was allowed to acquire an enormous amount of debt at relatively low interest rates, allowing shortsighted governments to pursue unsustainable government policies and projects. The true nature of Greece’s abysmal fiscal situation was not revealed until after the 2009 recession, when it became evident that Greek government officials had deliberately concealed the state of their financial affairs.

Once it became abundantly clear that the Greeks had mismanaged their finances, the European Union had to step in to help Greece pay back its debts and salvage the Euro. A series of bailouts spearheaded by Germany ensured that Greece would repay its debts, but not without a cost. Greece was forced to get its finances in order via draconian austerity measures, which angered a populace that had become reliant on easy money and profligate government expenditure. Riding on the wave of popular discontent, several extremist parties on the right and left (Golden Dawn, Syriza) grew in size and came to the fore of Greek politics.

The current Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza, ran on a platform of bringing austerity to an end, but was unable to deliver once elected, and was forced to negotiate with Germany. Weak economic recovery continues to stir popular discontent.

Topic B: Migration of Refugees

As Greece has struggled to get its economic act together, refugees have piled on its shores in record amounts with the intention of slipping through its porous borders and entering the European Union. As Greece struggles to cope with the influx, it has earned the ire of its northern neighbors, who have closed their borders in response, putting the Schengen area enshrined by the principle of free movement at risk.

While the economic crisis is serious, the refugee crisis has far deeper ethical ramifications as Greeks and Europeans alike are being forced to ask themselves what it truly means to be a citizen of the European Union. In proposing and enacting solutions to the refugee crisis, delegates will be forced to strike a delicate balance between maintaining the Greek national identity without losing their humanity in the process.

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Social Studies

Hometown: Cape Elizabeth, ME

Favorite MUN moment: Getting shot by an assassin while playing the role of Ronald Reagan.

Why HMUN?As a delegate from Cape Elizabeth High School during my junior and senior years, I was exposed to the rewarding experience of the research process and the speaking skills that one developed during the process in preparing for a MUN conference. In my opinion, HMUN offers me a great chance to take on an active role in influencing the lives of younger delegates and providing them with a platform to prepare for sophisticated debate and intellectual engagement.

Advice for new delegates: Come prepared and ready to tackle concrete issues that will test your knowledge of how international economic and political systems operate. Proper research prior to conference will allow you to speak as an expert to the issues that will come up during committee. Most importantly, be prepared to have fun. Speak up as much as possible. Not everything you say has to be ingenious and groundbreaking, but speaking and engaging with your fellow delegates right off the bat will provide you with momentum for the rest of the conference.

Class Year: 2018

Concentration: History and Literature

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Favorite MUN moment: Hearing delegates in my HMUN 2016 committee make speeches that showed that they understood the dynamics and history of 1980s Iraq.

Why HMUN? HMUN runs committees that capture the best parts of Model UN. Committees address topics--both on the macro-scale of their general topic and the micro-scale of individual crises--that are important historically and currently, that reflect realistic events and trends, and that are engaging. We take this side of MUN seriously in addition to everything else that makes MUN important: teaching diplomacy and compromise, introducing delegates to people of different backgrounds and with different opinions, and getting people interested in International Relations.

Advice for new delegates: Try to have fun! If you're having fun in committee, you'll be invested in it and that's what will make the experience most rewarding at the end of conference.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Daniel Menz. It is a great honor to welcome you to Angela Merkel’s Cabinet! I am from the beautiful town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and I am a sophomore concentrating in Social Studies with a possible secondary focus in Germanic Languages and Literature. I recently joined Harvard’s Intercollegiate Model UN team, which travels to conferences ranging from Berkeley to Chicago. Having competed at multiple Ivy League conferences as a delegate from Cape Elizabeth High School during my Junior and Senior years, I look forward to continue travelling as a delegate at the collegiate level and, most importantly, directing this committee. At HMUN 2016, I served as an Assistant Director for “Reagan’s CIA.” Additionally, I served as an Assistant Director for “Cuban Council of Ministers” at HNMUN 2016. With my past experience in Model UN confined to the Western Hemisphere, I look forward to taking my talents across the Atlantic by directing this cabinet of Angela Merkel’s highest ranking ministers.

I took a strong interest to Germany beginning my Freshman fall semester. I enrolled in a seminar taught by the head of Harvard’s German Department called “German Literature and Philosophy.” Although Kant is never a fun read, the inspiring literature we examined, as well as its embodiment of culture, history, and politics, inspired me to learn more about contemporary Germany. Consequently, I enrolled in a language course during my Freshman Spring semester and recently travelled to Germany this past summer, spending eight weeks in Freiburg through a Harvard Summer School program led by Professor Sven Beckert. In Freiburg, I gained insight into many of the issues that will be discussed in this committee: I studied Germany’s role in responding to the major political and economic crises facing the continent, interacted with the local refugee population and learned more about the nature of the crisis from local officials, explored Germany’s history and its preservation of historical memory, and enhanced my language skills. Above all else, Germany’s emergence as a regional and international power has captured my interest in running this German-specific committee in a Model UN setting.

As ministers and officials of Angela Merkel’s present-day cabinet, you will be granted immense powers to steer the policies of Germany in whichever direction you so choose. Your actions will have far-reaching consequences, and the crises that we throw your way will surely make a difficult situation all the more challenging for you to navigate. In the context of its bloody and wounded history, Germany has become perhaps the most interesting country in the European Union, emerging as the largest economy and one of the most politically-influential nations in Europe. Germany’s complicated legacy and its current status on the global stage are polarizing forces that will surely impact the country as it continues to develop sound policies with regard to the Eurozone Crisis, the European refugee crisis, and domestic security. For four days in January, it will be your turn to take the reins of this great country and guide it to a better tomorrow.

I am extremely excited to meet you all, challenge you with this unique crisis committee, and see you work towards concrete plans to mitigate and resolve the issues discussed at conference. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns about the committee or if you would like to chat about Harvard! Welcome to HMUN 2017, and welcome to Angela Merkel’s Cabinet!

Yours,

Daniel Menz
Director, Angela Merkel's Cabinet
merkel@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

Hello, and welcome to the 63rd session of Harvard Model United Nations! My name is Anne Warnke, and I will be serving as the crisis director of Merkel’s Cabinet, 2017 alongside the director Daniel Menz.

From Brooklyn, New York, I am a junior at Harvard College concentrating in History and Literature with a focus in America. I am particularly interested in the relationship between culture, politics, and law in the United States during the 20th century. Outside of school, I teach dance to Cambridge middle-school students through a Harvard organization named CityStep and am involved in various international relations programs on campus. I am a member of Harvard’s traveling MUN team, serve as Under-Secretary General for the Specialized Agencies for HNMUN, and will be directing a committee at HMUN China 2017. In my ever-shrinking free time, I like to run, walk around New York City (especially Brooklyn), and watch really terrible movies.

I am so excited to be working on Merkel’s Cabinet, 2017 at HMUN! Before Germany today are a host of problems that, unfortunately, are shaping up to be the pressing issues of our generation. The country faces the undefined threat of terrorism; a wave of refugees fleeing conflicts many countries away, and the moral and economic implications of their arrival; the potential disintegration of the European Union; and domestic policy issues ranging from the use of nuclear energy to tax policy as a means for social justice. These topics are not contained to any one policy area, and the decisions the cabinet makes on one issue will affect others, in both the domestic and international sphere. On top of all this, Germany is still dealing with the complex legacy of the Third Reich, World War II, and the division of the country during the Cold War. I look forward to seeing how you, as members of the German cabinet, navigate the complicated layers of Germany’s current situation, and I will be sure to give you realistic and probing crises to push you along the way.

I think Germany is a truly fascinating country and cannot wait to talk with you about it. Therefore, if you have any questions or comments about Germany, this committee at HMUN, Model United Nations, or anything at all, please do not hesitate to reach out! Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you in January!

Yours,

Anne Warnke
Crisis Director, Angela Merkel's Cabinet
merkel@harvardmun.org
Topic A: Economics at Home and Abroad

The Eurozone Debt Crisis has continued to cripple European economies, with Germany leading the policy response by pushing pro-austerity policies. The Cabinet of Germany remains divided on this issue, however, leaving the door open to a change of course. The future of the European Union is at stake, and debate on how to preserve unity continues, whether that means upholding, diminishing, or eliminating austerity measures, assisting struggling nations with loans and debt forgiveness, centralizing European banking, and promoting Eurobonds. Additionally, opposing parties have continued to fight over fiscal policy and economic legislation, including tax policy, the minimum wage, and welfare in recent years.

With the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations ongoing until the end of the decade, members from both parties will have the opportunity to influence the outcome of Germany’s involvement in this potentially historic deal. However, backlash from Social Democrats has made Germany’s involvement in the deal unclear. The possibility of the Social Democratic heeding to the desires of their constituency by refusing to go along with the Merkel-backed trade agreement has enormous implications, and the the alternative decision by the Cabinet to proceed forward with its support of the trade agreement could create the potential for internal unrest among the German populace.

Amid the continuing discussion about how to combat and mitigate the impacts of climate change, Germany has once again proven to be a leader. Nevertheless, the competitiveness of solar and wind against cheaper sources, including coal, as well as the sometimes ambiguous impact of incentives for renewable energy use, must be addressed. Germany’s impending transition away from nuclear energy, seen in the nation’s potential closure of nuclear power plants, will be a point of discussion.

Topic B: Refugees and Security

Since 2015, Germany has accepted over 1.1 million refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other nations. The legal status of these refugees is in question: granting permanent residency, naturalization, citizenship, or a shifting of the refugee burden to other nations are at the forefront of this debate. The ability of Germany to support the wave of refugees entering the country will be tested by its ability to provide sufficient social services, including food and clean water, housing, and economic opportunities. Additionally, security concerns in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have caused caused right-wing politicians to claim that infiltration by terrorists has been exacerbated by the refugees’ presence. The question at stake is this: how will delegates deal with the rise of domestic terrorism in the EU through the lens of the refugee question? Xenophobia and cultural attacks continue to happen, and a proper response is required in order to quell the growing discontent among the electorate.

To make matters worse, the spread of radical extremism across the globe has important implications for the security of Germany and its neighbors. Germany’s proximity to these attacks, and its aforementioned refugee population have added fuel to the anti-refugee, anti-Muslim conservatives. The mass sexual assaults in Cologne have also caused concerns pertaining to this issue. Regardless of the refugee crisis, security remains a high-priority issue. Intelligence acquisition and sharing will serve as the most contentious points of debate. Proponents of increased surveillance and sympathizers of privacy rights have clashed, and intelligence cooperation in the future will make or break the security of the EU.

Additionally, Fighting ISIL will include debate over Germany’s presence in the Middle East. Germany recently authorized limited military force against ISIL in December of 2015, so the effectiveness of this campaign and decisions regarding future involvement in airstrikes and other military strategies to be employed against this threat are to be decided.

Finally, German relations with Russia continue to be tested. With a significant proportion of German businesses located in Russia pressuring the EU to lift sanctions against Russia, which were enforced in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Germany’s pro-sanctions stance will remain controversial.

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

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

Favorite MUN moment: Opening Ceremonies of VMUN 2014

Why HMUN? I think that high school conferences are especially important for their tremendous education value and HMUN takes this responsibility very seriously.

Advice for new delegates: There is no position or country that is too insignificant to make a difference. Speak out to make your voice heard but never show your hand completely! Be subversive.

Class year: 2018

Concentration: Social Studies

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

Favorite MUN moment: When I was told by another delegate after a committee that I "would make a good warlord."

Why HMUN? Model UN played a very formative part in my high school experience, and I continue to use the skills and knowledge I developed at MUN conferences to this very day. I think HMUN provides its delegates with the opportunity to ascertain the same skills and knowledge that I did at the high school conferences I attended--and more. Consequently, I am so excited to be a part of the team that facilitates this intellectual development for the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and international relations enthusiasts.

Advice for new delegates: Be confident, and be confident by knowing that you are as prepared as you can be.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Steven Hao and I am a junior at Harvard currently pursuing a degree in Government with a secondary in Economics. Although I now consider the city of Boston a second home, I hail originally from north of the border—Vancouver, British Columbia to be precise—where I first cultivated my love for debate and international relations. In fact, during my senior year of high school, I had the extraordinary privilege of running a Model UN conference attended by over 1000 students with my esteemed crisis director and fellow Vancouverite, Brett.

Aside from MUN, I am an editor with The Crimson, primarily writing often abrasive but (sometimes) witty movie reviews. Last summer, in what may prove to be the apex of my career in film criticism, I was able to represent the newspaper at the annual Cannes Film Festival—truly an opportunity of a lifetime and one that I would gladly share stories about. I am also involved with a startup online publication called “Once Daily” and the board of the Harvard Canadian Club.

In directing the SCAP crisis committee at HMUN 2017, I hope to provide a fresh and stimulating delegate experience centered on a monumental and arguably unprecedented period in international affairs. You will have the chance to insert yourself into the allied reconstruction of Japan and embark on a thrilling and challenging simulation of diplomacy, state-building and subversion. Amidst the ashes of World War II’s devastating Pacific theater and on the eve of an even more Cold War, you and your fellow delegates wield the fate of an entire nation in your hands.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions before the conference—I look forward to sharing this ride with all of you.

Yours,

Steven Hao
Director, Japan, 1945: Supreme Command of Allied Powers
scap@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Brett Dowling, and I am incredibly excited to serve as your crisis director for this committee. I am a junior concentrating in Social Studies, and my academic work focuses primarily on political and social theory. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, my interest in Model UN began when I was a freshman in high school. Ever since, I have attended over 20 conferences as a delegate, a staff member, and a secretariat member. I am currently a member of Harvard’s intercollegiate Model UN team, and have enjoyed attending conferences across the United States. This is my second year working with HMUN—last year I was part of the crisis team for the Tunisian revolutionary Cabinet—and I am also working as an Assistant Director at Harvard’s college-level conference, HNMUN, this year.

The SCAP 1945 committee will be an experience unique to HMUN 2017. As a historical continuous crisis committee, SCAP 1945 will test both your historical knowledge as well as your strategic cunning. It will involve a full immersion in East Asian affairs and nation-building—two fields about which I am very passionate, and about which I hope you are passionate too. My own interest in East Asian affairs and Japan in particular stems from my personal background. My mom’s side of the family is Japanese and so I have heard many stories from “aunts” and “uncles” about everyday life both during the war and throughout post-war reconstruction. These stories really stuck with me, inspiring me to pursue courses in Japanese politics, international history, and comparative politics while at college. Leading up to and at conference, I hope to be able to share my knowledge with all of you, and learn about your unique perspectives on these matters as well.

As members of the Japanese reconstruction government, I hope you will gain a better appreciation of the immense challenges—not only physical but also social and political—that faced Japan following World War II, a better understanding of the complexities of nation-building in post-conflict arenas, and a better grasp of the anti-Communist tensions that plagued international relations, especially in the Asian theatre, following World War II. You indeed face a very daunting array of responsibilities, ranging from re-establishing legitimacy to kick-starting economic reconstruction. But you are also faced with the great opportunity of hindsight to rehash and improve on both the successes and failures of SCAP. Finally, despite the fact that this committee is historically situated, I hope that you always remember that many of the matters that SCAP confronted so many years ago may be more relevant today than ever before.

Prepare yourselves for crises that will be challenging, unexpected, educational, and, with a bit of luck, a decent amount of fun! Best of luck with your background research, and please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or require further research. I look forward to meeting you all at conference.

Yours,

Brett Dowling
Crisis Director, Japan, 1945: Supreme Command of Allied Powers
scap@harvardmun.org
Topic Area A: Domestic Reconstruction

World War II has flattened many economic centers in Japan, and has significantly compromised the social and political fabric of the nation across the board. The end of the imperial Japanese regime has led to a search for a new Japanese identity. Political legitimacy has been called into question, as SCAP decides what role the bureaucracy, top-level governmental officials, and the emperor played in war-time atrocities. Crime is on the rise as black markets thrive, domestic infrastructure is in shambles, and simple institutions such as postal delivery and taxation yearn for reconstruction. These problems, amongst many others, are what members of SCAP must confront in 1945 Japan.

Restoring a sense of normalcy will be balanced with SCAP’s desire to modernize the Japanese economic and political spheres. Additionally, as a foreign imposed entity, SCAP must be concerned with establishing political legitimacy amongst the Japanese people, whether it be via economic, charismatic, or authoritarian channels. Strong leadership in the thoughtful reconstruction of institutions will again need to balance benefiting Japanese people with benefiting nationalistic interests.

Topic Area B: International Geopolitics

While postwar Japan was confronted by a multitude of domestic concerns it also faced the prospect of re-building in the shadow of the Cold War. As World War II drew to an end, first in Europe and then in the Pacific, the tenuous wartime alliance which had existed between the democratic Western powers and the communist Soviet Union became dangerously unsustainable. The two blocs, divided by fundamental ideological differences, were cognizant of the threats that each posed to one another’s hegemonic ambitions.

In Europe, these tensions played out viscerally with the splitting of the continent into Soviet and Western spheres of influence, creating the so-called “iron curtain” that Winston Churchill famously referred to in his “Sinews of Peace” address. Japan was spared a similar fate, but the presence of clashing democratic and communist sentiments within the country in addition to the strategic location of the Japanese mainland meant that it would continue to be a focal point of Cold War geopolitical struggles. As the administrators of occupied Japan, SCAP must negotiate Japan’s place in the international order and the degree to which it will play a role in the fight between democracy and communism.

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Economics

Hometown: Brentwood, CA

Favorite MUN moment: Moderating the Iraq side of the Iran-Iraq JCC at HMUN.

Why HMUN? I really look forward to having the opportunity to work with high school students, many of whom will be in the same position I was when I was younger.

Advice for new delegates: Research. Research. Research. Even if you are participating in a crisis committee that you feel will require relatively little advance preparation, knowing more will make you more confident, and your directives, speeches, etc. in committee will be more impressive if they are more substantive.

Class year: 2017

Concentration: Government and Neurobiology

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

Favorite MUN moment: Crossing the Wagha border to participate as a delegate at HMUN India.

Why HMUN? The way MUN is portrayed at HMUN sets the precedent for how schools do MUN and hence it is a great opportunity to give back.

Advice for new delegates: Enjoy your time - don't stress - its going to be a brilliant weekend.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Olu Oisaghie, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China, 1966. I am a sophomore concentrating in Economics with a secondary concentration in Government. I also compete as a delegate on Harvard’s Intercollegiate Model UN team and this is my second year staffing HMUN as well as HNMUN, Harvard’s college Model United Nations conference. At HMUN last year, I was an assistant director for an Iran-Iraq joint crisis committee. My crisis director, Mahnoor Khan and I, hope to explore a vital era in China’s history with all of you.

I developed an interest in 20th century Chinese history during my senior year of high school, when I competed in a Chinese Civil War joint crisis committee as a member of the Chinese Communist Party. As a result of the research and preparation I did for this committee, I became fascinated by the story of modern China’s development, as well as the rise of the Communist Party, and the implications of these events on international relations in the 21st century. I chose this particular committee and this time period because I believe that the Cultural Revolution of the late 60s and early 70s was an incredibly important phase in China’s development, and its implications need to be studied and understood as they affect the modern state.

As members of the CCP’s Central Politburo, you will tackle issues such as industrialization and urban development, political instability, economic policy challenges, and the changing nature of China’s relationship with the United States and the Soviet Union. You will also deal with the purges, power struggles, factionalism and intrigue which ran rife in the China’s Communist Party at the time. You will have the opportunity to take the blank canvas of a nascent nation, recently emerged from the disastrous Great Leap Forward, and to mold it in whatever way you see fit. I hope that through participating in this committee, you will learn about nation-building, effective leadership and governance, and the nature of political power and its exercise. And don’t forget, as Chairman Mao once famously said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

I look forward to meeting you all in January. Feel free to contact me beforehand if you have any questions. Otherwise, good luck!

Yours,

Olu Oisaghie
Director, Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China, 1966
politburo@harvardmun.org

Dear Delegates,

My name is Mahnoor Khan and I am a senior at Harvard from Lahore, Pakistan, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Neurobiology. I grew up moving around the Middle East and East Africa and at one point had been to seven schools in nine years in five different countries. I am particularly interested in social cognition and am currently working on research related to desensitization in violent conflicts and its effect on people's moral decision making.

My interest in Model UN began when I attended my first conference in middle school. Eight years and four continents later, this will be the one of the last conferences I attend before I graduate. I have been an active participant in the Harvard conferences since her freshman year and have directed, crisis directed or moderated for both HMUN and its sister conference HNMUN, and also was the Under-Secretary General for Crisis Committees at World Model United Nations last year. Outside of Model UN, I keep up with my interest in international relations as one of the Editors-in-Chiefs of the Harvard International Review and in my free time I enjoy finding new places to eat, watching old movies and sometimes doing absolutely nothing. 

I am incredibly excited to be crisis directing for Olu and am looking forward to meeting all the delegates in January!

Yours,

Mahnoor Khan
Crisis Director, Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China, 1966
politburo@harvardmun.org
Topic Area A: Factionalism and Political Turmoil

Humiliated by the colossal failure of the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong and his supporters have been sidelined from the party’s leadership. The moderate faction of the party, represented by figures such as Deng Xiaoping and Liu Bocheng, has effectively ruled the nation for the past four years. Mao’s faction will not be dismissed so easily, however, and he and his allies have begun taking steps to reassert their authority over the Chinese government. A restless public, and an increasingly militant pro-Mao youth faction, known ominously as the “Red Guard,” threaten to shore up Mao’s power at the expense of the current regime, and purges and humiliation of officials who openly criticize him are becoming increasingly common.

The Politburo must decide how to respond to the various forces causing civil unrest and reshaping China’s political landscape. Whether its members choose to confront Mao and halt his rise to power, or join him and ride to glory on his coattails, their decisions will shape the future of China for decades.

Topic Area B: : Social, Cultural and Economic Reform

Tension exists within the Politburo between the radical faction under Mao, which sees old traditions, religious practices, and history as a threat to the advance of Communism, and the more moderate faction, which emphasizes incremental changes and seeks to work within existing traditions and norms. In addition, there is heated debate over economic policy. With “bourgeois” academics coming under increased scrutiny, and with an ongoing assault on the university system, policy expertise is scarce, and there is a bitter debate within the Communist Party between those who favor greater state control over industry and those who favor increased privatization and market liberalization. Issues of education, access to healthcare, industrialization and trade also feature prominently before the Communist Party, and members of the Politburo will be tasked with addressing them.

Topic C: Military and Foreign Policy

The relationship between China and the Soviet Union grows increasingly hostile, as the former views the latter as a traitor to the cause of communism, and the Soviet Union’s imperial ambitions begin to threaten China’s influence in Southeast Asia. At the same time, the relationship between China and the United States is cooling somewhat, and the military, in part due to domestic political maneuvering and in part due to the looming threat of conflict with the Soviet Union, has gained a greater degree of influence over civilian affairs. In addition, residual World War II hostilities between China and Japan are flaring up once again. The Communist Party must deal with this wide range of foreign policy conundrums while at the same time answering the question of what role the military should play in directing public policy and influencing civilian life.

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Government

Hometown: New Era, MI

Favorite MUN moment: Man Eating Asiatic Snow Porcupines!

Why HMUN? HMUN is a tremendous opportunity for education. It teaches us about the world, about diplomacy, and about human interaction. It gives me both a reason and a means to better myself and I've seen it provide similar things for other people. It builds camaraderie and establishes relationships between people all over the world. Also, it's just plain fun. Some of my best college experiences so far have taken place at HMUN. I wouldn't give it up for all the gavels in the world.

Advice for new delegates: Don't worry. Don't worry about looking silly. Don't worry about doing something embarrassing. Don't worry that your ideas might not be good enough. Your voice is important and it needs to be heard. That's the purpose of committee. HMUN is designed to work with you and whatever you come up with. So talk. Write a crisis note or two. Participate. I want to see you be the very best you can be.

Dear Delegates,

Hello and welcome to HMUN Press Corps 2017! My name is Frankie Hill; I am a sophomore at Harvard College, studying Government. I was born and raised in Western Michigan and am incredibly proud to be running the finest Press Corps in all of Model UN. When I’m not working on improving this committee, I spend time travelling with Harvard’s Model UN team: ICMUN. I also write articles on occasion and follow foreign and domestic politics. I hope to bring my love of journalism to committee with me this year and I’m excited to see what passions and skills you have to offer.

Press Corps is an incredibly important part of the HMUN experience; this reflects the press’ real life importance in international relations. As far back as 1787, English reporters were described as “The Fourth Estate.” Today the media is globally referred to as “the fourth branch of government.” Many see reporters as watchdogs, providing their own sort of checks and balances for administrations. Others see news companies as advocates, informing the public about important issues. Others, still, see the media as maniacal and manipulative, slowly changing the political climate to meet their own diabolical ends. One of the primary goals of Press Corps this year will be for you to decide for yourself exactly what the media is.

In order to accomplish this goal, I encourage you to write articles that are as real as you can get them. Embrace your role as a reporter, stay in character, and write great stories. Remember that in every committee, people are making world changing decisions; it is your job to ensure that those decisions are not made in silence.

Obviously this responsibility can be strenuous; in order to help you blow off some steam and write more lighthearted pieces, we have created a separate blog-style page on our website called “Unmoderated Caucus.” This will be available to you as soon as you arrive at conference and will provide you with a space to write “out-of-character” articles. In the past, these have been about the more social side of HMUN, including the delegate dance, food recommendations, and even a best dressed list. Unmoderated Caucus is open to whatever creative news pieces you have to offer. That being said, most of your Press Corps experience will center on the substantive side of conference, including our own crisis breaks. I’ve been in contact with directors from the other committees this year and I can assure you that there will be a lot of excellent news to cover. Once you find a balance between quantity and quality in your articles, you will become an indispensable part of HMUN 2017.

Sincerely,

Frankie Hill
Director, Press Corps
pc@harvardmun.org

The Press covers a range of topics from economics to wars to history, to pop stars. For this reason, I will focus less on individual policy issue or events and more on the questions and struggles that journalists need to address.

To Be or Not To Be – One of the primary issues that reporters must contend with is the question of whether or not to publish a contentious story. When dealing with issues of national security, the line is often clear. When dealing with dangerous individuals, bribery, hostage situations, or questions of moral ambiguity, the line can become fuzzy.

Corruption – A number of delegates will be representing state newspapers, meaning that they will theoretically be in the pocket of their home governments. Other delegates will work for private organizations, most of which tend to prioritize making a profit. The Press Corps will reckon the pros and cons of each of these systems, probing questions about what the ideal relationship between media and government ought to be.

Media Bias – A number of politicians from every nation on earth, on every point of the political spectrum have all made the claim that the media is out to get them. It’s a popular speaking point for political outsiders. Delegates will have to face these claims head on, and determine their level of merit. How should a media company respond to such claims? Is there any point at which media companies can achieve total objectivity, free from bias, or are the subjective perspectives of media companies inevitable?

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