Meet our directors

General Assembly

The General Assembly (GA) contains the nine largest committees at HMUN 2018, 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: Angie Cui

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Historical General Assembly: Emergency Session on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis, 2009

Director: Kevin Gordon

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Special Committee on Reform of the United Nations

Director: Liz Manero

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies

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

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Director: Kathryn Kuhar

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Director: Allison Law

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Director: Trevor Noon

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific

Director: Luke Minton

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

State Council of the People's Republic of China

Director: Yong Han Poh

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

Dear Delegates,

I am thrilled to welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! This January, I’ll not only have the honor of meeting you all in the Grand Ballroom, but also of returning to HMUN for the sixth time (I know, wow) after four years as a delegate, one as an assistant director, and now as the director the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)!

I was born and raised in New York City, which means I walk and talk a little too quickly for my own good, am an avid self-proclaimed foodie, and have a bit of a superiority complex about NYC being the best place in the world (feel free to challenge me on this, though). I am a sophomore concentrating in Social Studies, Harvard’s interdisciplinary umbrella concentration for all of the social sciences. Being exposed to issues of global security while participating in Model UN is partially what brought me to Social Studies, to DISEC, and to our topic: the weaponization of natural resources. This topic’s applicability is vast and the implications of resource weaponization are far-reaching. I’m also excited about this topic because our case studies empower smaller nations to have firm, defensible and contentious policies, and force larger ones to have more nuanced policy positions that are difficult, and may even be a bit contradictory, to think through.

Outside of HMUN and the Harvard International Relations Council, I perform with the Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company and Expressions Hip Hop Company, work as a tour guide for the Harvard Admissions Office, and spend a lot of time scouring Harvard Square for the best cup of cold brew coffee (I’ve found it, by the way, and please feel free to ask me about it). I am also constantly restocking my snack supply of kettle-corn and Brookside chocolates, and watch a little too much Netflix.

I hope that DISEC will allow delegates — MUN veterans and newbies alike — to push themselves in thinking about this topic. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns, or just to introduce yourself! I cannot wait to meet you all at conference!


Angie Cui
Director, Disarmament and International Security Committee

Class year: 2020

Hometown: New York City, NY

Major: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment: Attending my first HMUN as a delegate during my freshman year of High School.

Why HMUN? I did my fair share of Model UN in High School, and no conference on the circuit compares to HMUN in terms of delegate experience. HMUN's directors care deeply about their topic areas, our executive and administrative staff take so much pride in putting this conference together, delegates who come from all over the world and are passionate in defending and uniting their opinions, and the Boston Sheraton isn't too shabby of a place to spend a weekend. I fell in love with HMUN while participating in it as a delegate for all four years of High School, and continue to be honored and excited to be staffing it as a Harvard student.

Advice for new delegates: Speak thoughtfully and substantively. Be willing to engage and collaborate with other delegates, and to learn from your peers. Don't be intimidated by rules of procedure or any other MUN jargon you may hear. The Grand Ballroom may be big, but the impact of DISEC happens through each speech, working paper and conversation that is presented, and know that the dais is to answer any questions and facilitate this entire process as it happens!

Topic Area: The Weaponization of Natural Resources

Conflicts over natural resources have always existed, but compounded with issues of resource scarcity and climate change, these tensions are now increasingly being used by state and non-state actors as leverage for political influence. There are two main ways to frame tension over resources in the context of international security: the direct or indirect deployment of natural resources as strategic or tactical weapons, and the use of disputes over scarce or unequally distributed resources to escalate existing tensions into potential military conflicts. In both instances, natural resources are a potent force in war because they create social unrest that often leads to political unrest, acting as a threat multiplier and exacerbating existing interstate tensions. The increase in conflicts effected by confrontations regarding natural resources indicates that a new geopolitical landscape in which state actors maybe more inclined to use direct force, or at least threaten the use of force, to gain control over valuable resources. The use of natural resources as foreign policy tools or weapons in conflict blurs legal and political lines, and lies in jurisdiction largely outside of existing international combative legislation.

The weaponization of natural resources is one of ways in which our conception of warfare in the 21st century is evolving, and is also a significant gap in existing international protocol. While resource weaponization is implicitly prohibited by Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts and he Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any Hostile use of Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD), legislation regarding the weaponization of natural resources is neither comprehensive nor explicit. In many ways, resource weaponization is a uniquely modern problem. Contemporary destabilization threats such as global warming and non-state actors have multiplied the danger of what could happen if natural resource conflicts are or continue to be exploited.

In this committee, you will be challenged to conceive new frameworks, legislation and diplomatic strategies that place resource scarcity and conflict at the heart of interstate negotiations. Through examining selected case studies that illustrate the varying degrees to which natural resources can be strategically or tactically deployed in conflict, you will hopefully be able to propose some answers to questions that concern the very nature of modern conflict resolution.

Note: The Disarmament and Security Committee is a single-topic committee.

Dear delegates,

My name is Daniel Rosenblatt, and I am very excited to serve as the Director of the Second Committee of the General Assembly, SOCHUM, at HMUN 2018! I am a freshman at Harvard College from Greenwich, CT, currently living in Canaday Hall. Next year, I will be living in Pforzheimer House (and am very excited about that!). I am still undecided about my concentration, as I like a bunch of different subjects, but am currently leaning toward either Applied Math or History.

Outside the classroom, I am an active member of the Harvard International Relations Council, serving as an editor for The Harvard International Review, along with my work in MUN. I also am a member of the Club Tennis team, a student tour guide for the Admissions Office, and active in organizing events relating to Jewish life on campus. When I am not doing all of that, you can find me hanging in the Harvard Art Museums (or any museum for that matter), watching TV, or, honestly, drinking an iced coffee in Harvard Yard.

I’ve been involved in model UN for seven years now and cannot begin to describe how valuable my experiences with the activity have been. Model UN, in my opinion, has so many beneficial characteristics: It is an exercise in public speaking that develops skills in communicating ideas with confidence. It is an exercise in empathy, in which students are forced to acknowledge, grapple with, and defend perspectives that may be far from their own. And finally, it is an exercise in global engagement, teaching young people about the ways our world works, and doesn’t work. As you may be able tell, I really believe in the power that model UN has to shape high school students into informed and articulate citizens of the world.

These beneficial aspects of model UN are not, unfortunately, evident in every committee; it is up to the delegates to work to make their experience a positive one. So, I implore you delve into the topic by examining past UN Resolutions, news articles, academic sources, books etc. to understand the topic to the best of your abilities. It will really serve you well when the conference comes around, allowing you to speak comfortably and share your ideas and potential solutions. If you think you will be more at ease, feel free to prepare a speech or two in advance. Or discuss your thoughts on your research with family members of friends. Anything that gets you excited about the topic and thinking about it critically will help you come January.

Unfortunately, the topic of Migration-Related Xenophobia, Racism, and Violence is one that may come up naturally in discussion between now and the conference, as it is one that is so prevalent in the news these days. Its relevance, though, is one of the many reasons I chose the topic. I hope that the committee’s discussions delve more deeply into the causes and solutions of this problem and analyze some of the prejudices or misconceptions that we ourselves may have prior to the conference. I also have chosen this topic because I think that it is one that has tangible, achievable solutions. From the local to international level, a variety of programs and legislative changes can have a meaningful impact on the lives of migrants and refugees. I am excited to see which ones you support as most effective and feasible, and I hope that the committee inspires you to work toward tangible change in your hometowns or through channels such as NGO work or political activism. Finally, I believe that above all, the elimination of xenophobia and racism stems from increased tolerance and understanding – so I hope in discussing this topic together we can learn and work toward eliminating this issue starting from within our own communities.

Following this letter is the background guide that I have prepared for the committee. I hope you read it thoroughly to get a sense of the scope and foundations of this topic. However, I ask that you not stop there; please use the background guide as a jumping-off point for further investigation and research. If you have any questions about what I have written, the topic, or the committee, please shoot me an email. As you can hopefully tell, I am very passionate about this subject matter, so I really do hope you reach out.

I am so excited to see you all in January! Get psyched!


Daniel Roseblatt
Director, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Greenwich, CT

Major: Undeclared

Favorite MUN moment: Singing at the top of my lungs with my teammates on the bus back from conferences in high school.

Why HMUN? HMUN is great honestly because the both the staff and the delegates are so dedicated to running a professional, realistic, and exciting simulation of the UN. Nowhere else do I think is the debate and discussion of topics at such a high level - and that is a testament to the the hours of the work that the dais members and the delegates put into researching their topics thoroughly and contemplating potential solutions. I have always found that committees at HMUN bring about a sense of fulfillment similar to few other conferences. Here, the committee discussion is specific and relevant - and because of that, I think it is truly powerful and inspirational. I hope SOCHUM will maintain this norm!

Advice for new delegates: Be bold! It will always be easier to sit in the back of the room and not speak throughout the conference. It will require less maneuvering and energy to propose boring, agreeable solutions that have failed before. What is great about MUN is that it is four days for you to experiment and learn. So my advice is to push yourself - whether that means giving a speech for the first time, or writing a clause that might be creative or novel. Go for it.

Topic Area: Migration-Related Xenophobia, Racism, and Violence

The topic of Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee at HMUN 2018 is Migration-Related Xenophobia, Racism, and Violence. It is an issue that unfortunately very clearly plagues our global community today, particularly in the wake of the current migrant crisis and rising trends of nationalism. The committee will cover a variety of perspectives on why xenophobia and racism are particularly present in times of high immigration as well as methods to combat this specific iteration of the issue. Specific components of the topic include violence and gender-based violence, economic discrimination, and human rights abuses in detention centers, deportations practice, and security-related activities. More broadly, though, the committee will grapple with the question of how the international community can protect its most vulnerable populations at a time when globalization and multiculturalism are under attack and when countries are fearful of international security threats.

Note: The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN 2018! My name is Nick Stauffer-Mason, and I’ll be directing the Special Political and Decolonization committee (SPECPOL). I am so excited to be directing at HMUN this year—model UN was a big part of my high school experience and remains a big part of my life in college. I want to make HMUN a transformative experience for each and every one of you, and I can’t wait to meet you in January!

A little bit about me. I’m a sophomore at Harvard, and I’m planning to study Social Studies, Government, or Economics. Outside of model UN, I volunteer at a legal aid organization for low-income people. When I’m not studying or pretending to be a country at a conference like HMUN, you can probably find me sleeping, watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram, or sampling Harvard Square’s many eateries. I’m originally from Washington, DC—a city whose political climate is colder than a Boston winter! (In case that last line didn’t tip you off, I’m also a huge fan of really bad jokes. Mainly because I can’t make better jokes, but still.)

In all seriousness, the topic of this committee is profoundly interesting. You and your fellow delegates will be working to lay out an international framework for dealing with national secession around the world. Along the way you’ll be debating issues including national sovereignty, international law and intervention, post-conflict statebuilding, political rights, and many more. At stake is nothing more than the world as we know it.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions—I’m here as a resource for you as you prepare for and participate in the conference. I will be here to support you every step of the way, from the minute you read this and start your research to when you first step into the committee room to when we pass a resolution after four long days of debate and diplomacy.

Best of luck!

Nick Stauffer-Mason
Director, Special, Political and Decolonization Committee

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Washington, DC

Major: Social Studies, Economics, or Government

Favorite MUN moment: My first speech in front of a General Assembly committee was a thrilling and empowering experience and remains one of my favorite Model UN moments to date.

Why HMUN? I never had the privilege of attending HMUN as a delegate.

Advice for new delegates: Take risks. Whether you're drafting policies, delivering a speech, or developing your negotiation skills, you have a unique opportunity to experiment in supportive, low-stakes environment. Make the most of this chance while you have it—things will be a lot more complicated when you're an ambassador, CEO, or president.

Topic Area: National Secession and Separatist Movements

The year is 2018, and the nation-state is ripping apart at the seams. Even as an increasingly integrated international order erases national borders from above, another, more nebulous force is breaking states apart from within—an increasing drive for national secession.

Recent history is full of examples of groups or regions attempting to secede from their home countries, with varying degrees of success. In 2011, South Sudan seceded from Sudan, becoming the world’s youngest country. Catalonia, the largest province in Spain, voted in 2014 to become an independent state, but has since been blocked by the Spanish government. After what many saw as a thinly veiled invasion by Russia, Ukraine’s eastern regions seceded in 2014, though the U.N. voted to condemn this action and not to recognize the separation.

The legality of secession remains unclear. In the past, the U.N. and its Member States have responded to each individual case in different ways and based on different standards. Now, your task is to lay out an international framework for dealing with national secession, to clarify once and for all how national secession fits into the existing international order and define international community’s role in mediating separatism around the world.

There are many open questions about how a push for regional independence fits into the existing international order. First and foremost, is there a “right to secede?” Does the right to self-determination in the U.N. Charter mean a blanket right to separate from one’s nation? Or is secession only allowable in the presence of certain conditions, like a history of oppression or abuse? Is it even appropriate for the international community to take a stand on what are essentially internal political disputes, which some would argue is a violation of national sovereignty? Even if it is legal, the separation of one nation for another is an incredibly complicated process. What, if anything, should the international community do to streamline the process and keep the peace when one nation becomes two? In light of these many considerations, what should the international community respond to recent and potential cases of secession like South Sudan, Ukraine, Scotland, and Catalonia?

Though these questions and the regions they deal with may seem small, this topic is of global importance. If there is a blanket right to secession, enforced and supported by the U.N., the world’s states could splinter apart; if secession is never recognized under international law, then the current political order is frozen in perpetuity. You, delegates, will chart the way. At stake is nothing more than the world as we know it.

Note: The Special, Political and Decolonization Committee is a single-topic committee.

Hi delegates,

I’m Dylan Parker, and I’ll be directing the World Health Organization (WHO) this year at HMUN. I hail from Pittsford, NY, which is basically Canada (we have the second-highest snowfall per year in the US and everyone plays hockey).

I’m particularly passionate about the WHO because of my interests in medicine, neurobio, and physics (and maybe global health). But more than that, I think that there has been a critical lack of cooperation between scientists who refuse to engage in politics and politicians who do not understand science. Given the defining role of science and technology in 21st century politics, this divide must be bridged. I hope that you all will take on these responsibilities at HMUN this year, crafting solutions that are both scientifically prudent and politically feasible. That said, do not be deterred if science isn’t your bread and butter. I’ll include a quick primer on epidemiology and health policy, so the issues we discuss should be totally tractable no matter your background.

This year we will be debating just a single topic, Refugee Health in the Middle East and Mediterranean; this means you’ll be able to really delve into the many sub-issues pertaining to the health of refugees. We will also be integrating crises into committee, so you will be able to see the results of your actions (or inaction) and intimately interact with the situation on the ground. To succeed in this committee, therefore, you will have to consider every dimension of this issue. For instance, some of your subtopics will compel you to shrewdly negotiate and navigate contentious political issues (e.g. determining whether health workers can cross the Syrian border to care for civilians attempting to escape). Others subtopics, however, will require that you understand the pathology and epidemiology of the diseases affecting refugees (e.g. establishing a protocol to prevent water supply contamination in refugee camps). Approaching global issues from this dual scientific-political perspective is something at which the world’s leaders have largely failed, so I’m excited to see the leadership, insight, and innovation you all bring to committee.

I check my email compulsively and am super passionate about these issues, so please reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or points of confusion as you prepare for committee.

With love,

Dylan Parker
Director, World Health Organization

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Pittsford, NY

Major: Neurobiology and Physics

Favorite MUN moment: Accidentally walking into a school board meeting at my first MUN conference.

Why HMUN? It's an incredible opportunity not just to talk about interesting stuff, but to talk about interesting stuff with interesting people from all around the world. It embodies the diversity of opinion and heritage that model UN is all about.

Advice for new delegates: Do good research. Be good to others. Eat good food. Have fun at HMUN!

Topic Area: Health Concerns Among Refugees in the Middle East and Mediterranean

Background: There are 21.3 million refugees, and nearly a third of them came from Syria and neighboring nations. Despite significant global efforts to assist these displaced peoples and protect their “right to health,” the WHO itself has admitted that “many refugees and migrants often lack access to health services and financial protection for health.” It is your task to change this.

Food, Water, and Disease: Securing ample supplies of food and water has by no means been easy, but the international effort has largely succeeded at providing these bare necessities to refugees. However, as in many crises, other equally dangerous threats have been ignored—particularly the threat of disease. Common communicable diseases that plague refugees both in camps and in host nations are tuberculosis, HIV and viral hepatitis, influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and bacterial infections that are resistant to cheap antibiotics. Just as dangerous are food- and water-borne diseases, which can easily reach epidemic levels. Non-communicable diseases are also an acute concern, as they are exacerbated by poor living conditions. Clearly, there refugees face myriad health hazards, but what are the greatest threats to refugees’ health? How can they be prevented from reaching epidemic levels, or combatted if they do? How do the needs of refugees in camps and in host nations differ? How can the WHO encourage host nations to provide adequate healthcare? Should the WHO focus on prevention or treatment?

Females, Children, and the Immunocompromised: Three groups—females, children, and the immunocompromised—are at particularly high risk for diseases. Children and the immunocompromised are not fully equipped to combat the pathogenic haven that is the refugee camp, so they suffer from the most common diseases with particularly high frequencies. Females, on the other hand, confront a specific set of health challenges: “maternal, newborn and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and violence.” How can the WHO protect these particularly at risk populations? How can stigmas about reproductive health, as well as the violence that often accompanies them, be overcome?

Mental Health: In camps and host nations, mental illness is the forgotten epidemic. Although 71% of refugee children suffer from symptoms of PTSD and 48% have developed some speech impairment after being displaced, mental health is often the last priority. For this reason, refugee camps severely lack psychiatrists. This issue, however, extends beyond camps; for instance, over 50% of Syrian refugees in Germany exhibit some form of mental illness. How can the WHO support the mental health of refugees in camps and host nations? How can it address mental illness stigmas, which might prompt host nations to turn away refugees with serious psychiatric conditions?

Ghost Refugees: There are tens of thousands of refugees stranded just inside the borders of Syria because of tightened borders, increased threats of violence, and other barriers to escape. Trapped in the desert without sufficient access to drinking water, food, and medical care, they desperately require international assistance. However, current WHO policy prohibits humanitarians from entering Syrian territory. Moreover, ghost refugees are technically not refugees, so they do not enjoy the same rights under international law as they would just across the border. Should the WHO extend the rights of refugees to those trapped just inside the Syrian border? If so, what rights? Should humanitarians be permitted to bring aid to ghost refugees? If so, how and with whose permission?

Exogenous Factors: As you begin your research, you should consider the external events and forces that might shape the condition of refugees. For instance, nations reluctant to accepting refugees argue that refugees carry infectious diseases and thus endanger native populations. Is contention valid? Should refugees undergo medical screening before being admitted? How thorough should the screens be? Is detection of an infectious disease justification for denying entry? But refugees are not just at the mercy of politics—they are also at the mercy of the environment. Because many refugee camps are situated in inhospitable environments, they are highly exposed to potential environmental dangers (e.g. sandstorms, heat waves, frosts). How can refugee camps be prepared to confront these challenges? How can the WHO mitigate the consequences of environmental events?

Developing a Framework: The current refugee crisis is not the first of its kind, and it certainly will not be the last. Therefore, it is imperative that you consider the precedents you set in responding to the current situation and that you explicitly develop a protocol to combat future crises. Although this necessity of “Developing a Framework” is included as a separate section here in the brief introduction to our topic, it will be integrated throughout the policy guide. My intention in doing this is to encourage you to consider both immediate responses and long-term policies for each of the subtopics. For each subtopic, ask yourself: What do we need to do now, and how can we prevent this from happening again (or better respond to it if it does)?

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

Dear Delegates,

I am excited to welcome you to the General Assembly and serve as your director during the 2018 HMUN conference! My name is Kevin Gordon, and I will be directing the Historical General Assembly: Emergency Session on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis, 2009.

The length of the committee name is commensurate with the size of the problem we will address in this expansive topic, and I look forward to watching you rewrite a historic series of events which we witnessed in our own lifetimes.

First, a bit about myself. Raised for most of my life in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I still feel my roots are in New England, where I lived for the first six years of my life in the quaint town of Simsbury, Connecticut (both places prepared me well for Boston winters). I am happy to be back in New England for college, and I hope you enjoy your time here in Boston and Cambridge!

Academically, I will be concentrating in History, with a secondary in Economics, which gives a hint at where my interest in the committee topic came from. When not in class, you can find me attending speaker events at the Institute of Politics, studying financial modeling in the Harvard Financial Analyst Club, golfing with Club Golf, debating political philosophy in the John Adams Society, or doing service with the Catholic Students Association. In my free time, I enjoy taking walks on the banks of the Charles River, stargazing, pocket billiards, sailing, and playing Frisbee with friends in Harvard Yard.

My involvement in model UN began just this year, although my interest dates back to my freshman year of high school. I have always been impressed by the charisma and diplomatic tact of the members of my high school’s model UN team, but my commitment to policy debate and congressional debate kept me unavailable. However, that changed in the fall of 2016 when I became assistant director for the World Trade Organization committee at HMUN, where I immediately fell in love with the organization. The focus on teamwork and the balance between diplomatic savvy and substantive knowledge are qualities which attracted me to model UN, and qualities which will yield not just awards in high school, but personal success and effectiveness in whatever career path you choose.

My recent entrance into model UN makes me keenly sensitive to making sure other students who are new to HMUN or model UN in general feel welcome, and I hope that novice and veteran delegates find the experience both enjoyable and rewarding. The topic will sometimes be dense and challenging, but my goal is to make it as digestible as possible. And, after you have processed and understood the history, context, and workings of the global financial crisis, you will leave the conference with a knowledge set most adults do not even have. I hope this committee is a reminder that history is not a relic of the past, but is being shaped all the time. The outcomes are totally dependent on the people making decisions, and in a few short years, some of those decision makers will be you.

Beyond just technical knowledge, I hope you leave the conference feeling like you have improved your diplomatic tact, made close friends from around the world, met people who inspire you to think bigger, and gained a new set of memories which you can keep forever.

As I write this letter on a beautiful May day, I find it hard to believe that almost a year has passed since high school ended, and yet, here we are. Likewise, HMUN will be here before we know it, so in the meantime have a wonderful summer and please feel free to contact me at any time before the conference with questions.

Warm regards,

Kevin Gordon
Director, Historical General Assembly: Global Financial Crisis 2009

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Glenview, IL

Major: History

Favorite MUN moment: A resolution which left no choice but nuclear war and we retreated to bunkers.

Why HMUN? HMUN is a rare convergence of substantive depth, oratorical excellence, and diplomatic savvy which has taught me much and inspired me greatly.

Advice for new delegates: Debates are won during the weekdays. Preparation is key.

“Peace, stability and prosperity are indivisible,” declared a United National General Assembly resolution from 2009 wrote that Together, they form a tripod in which the absence of one leads to the downfall of the others. Many of the global issues in the world today, specifically the rise of reactionary isolationism, protectionism, and xenophobia, are directly or indirectly related to the collapse of the world economic order known as the Great Recession.

During the time this committee is taking place, the world is in the midst of the beginning of the worst recession since the 1930s. While the initial causes mostly find their roots in the United States, ranging from the subprime mortgage crisis to lack of regulation, the impact was worldwide and catastrophic. International trade dropped off sharply, unemployment skyrocketed, commodity prices fell and economic trouble began to set the stage for the European debt crisis.

In this committee, it will be the job of the gathered countries to react to the financial crisis and mitigate the many deleterious results of the global recession through suggestions for the IMF, WTO, and other relevant UN actors. The most immediate question will concern returning consumer confidence in the international financial institutions which through lack of regulation and avarice induced miscalculation of risk became insolvent. Other pressing issues will include combatting the European sovereign debt crisis which started in 2008 with the collapse of Iceland’s banking system, as well as devising ways to help maintain international trade, combatting currency manipulation, and aiding developing countries suffering from depression of commodity prices. The theme which interweaves throughout all these issues, however, is the maintenance of the international order and cooperation represented by the UN, and combat the division which was catalyzed by the global recession.

With the benefit of hindsight, you can see how decisions made by world leaders and the UN over the last decade have worked, failed, or been improperly implemented. With history as a guide, you will endeavor to implement a plan which combines the successes of history with new innovative ideas to create a better world the one we have today. Your experience from this conference will in turn equip you with the process and tools necessary to think about and approach current and future crises. Good luck!

Note: The Historical General Assembly is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN 2018! My name is Elizabeth Manero, although I expect you all to call me Liz, and I’ll be directing the “Special Committee on Reform of the United Nations.” I’m originally from Northern Virginia, and I can’t wait to meet you all this January in Boston

Growing up near D.C. has meant a life surrounded by politics - government shutdowns, international scandals, and politicians galore have created a love for negotiation and international relations that led me to direct this Special Committee for you this coming January. I’ve got interests ranging from law to economics to your favorite RBG meme. At Harvard, I’m currently studying Social Studies with a planned minor in Applied Math, and I’m (currently) planning on attending law school afterwards.

The founding of the United Nations in 1945 was a monumental achievement that has helped keep countries invested in international politics and global improvement. Since then, its structures and procedures have been amended a few times, but rarely so comprehensively as what this committee will tackle over the course of HMUN’s weekend. What makes this committee so unique is the overwhelming potential for impact that all of you as delegates are going to be faced with. Not only will you all have the opportunity to restructure the future of the UN, but in the process, you will be given a chance to revisit some of the major tenants of international law underpinning global cooperation today.

It’s my hope that this conference will be an opportunity for all delegates, no matter their level of experience, to delve into the greater organization of international structures that shadow the committees model UN normally operates in. That being said, I hope that you’re all as excited as I am!


Liz Manero
Director, Special Committee on Reform of the United Nations

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Hamilton, VA

Major: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment: Simulating the invasion of Afghanistan in a crisis committee.

Why HMUN? It's a wonderful experience to connect with delegates and get to learn about new topics.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to be creative!

Topic Area: Reform of the United Nations

The foundation of the United Nations in 1945 was an exciting shift in global cooperation and international involvement. As an activity, model United Nations is educational in that it aims to show you all the importance of the impact that this body has had in making the world a better place. The UN however, like any organization, is not perfect, and the issues it faces are threatening to severely impair its functioning. A lack of funding for example, cripples projects and sets back millennium goals, while criticisms of unrepresentative structures lead to threats to pull out of international agreements.

The topic of UN reform is a vast umbrella for a number of proposals to improve the functioning of the United Nations and address some of these criticisms. As an international body, the UN has gone through a number of phases of reform in its history, and the politics and realities of the twenty-first century are calling for a new one. As delegates, you will be tasked with addressing the reforms to the UN that have gained the most traction in recent debates, notably reforms to the UNSC, UN Financing, Peacekeeping forces, and protocols of intervention.

These subtopics carry a number of implications not just for UN functioning, but of the very nature of international law itself, and this committee will offer a guiding hand for reshaping the regulations that have been in place for years. The world has changed however, and it’s up to this committee to determine how shifting international orders should be reflected in writing. How should international rules of engagement change? How does the UN define genocide and what are the guidelines for intervention? Should the UN shift to a global tax system? How should peacekeepers be distributed?

The questions that you will be proposing answers to are are difficult, salient questions that get to the heart of the international system, and as such are increasingly important to understand.

Note: The Special Committee on Reform of the United Nations is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN 2018! My name is Edith Herwitz, and I’m directing the Special Session on Globalization. I’m originally from New York City, and I’m so excited to meet all you at HMUN this January!

Before we launch into the specifics of the committee, I just wanted to give a little background information about myself. In addition to being involved in the Model UN team at Harvard, I am an active member of the News Board of the Harvard Crimson, Harvard’s daily newspaper. I also serve as a Research Assistant for a Professor at the Kennedy School. I’m a huge fan of the New Yorker (particularly the Borowitz report) and NPR podcasts—so basically I do the same thing as a grandmother with my (too little) free time.

At Harvard, I’m studying Social Studies which basically serves as a combination of philosophy, history, government, statistics and economics. I really hope that throughout this committee we can take this interdisciplinary approach to discussing this ever growing topic of Globalization. I chose this topic, because it seems to me that globalization has almost been accepted as an inevitable component of the 21st Century international climate; however, I urge delegates to take a moment to consider whether or not this is necessarily the case.

Thus, as you will see throughout the Background Guide, unlike some other Model UN Conferences, there is only one topic we will be discussing: Globalization. However, I have included four specific subtopics to help guide and concretize our discussion of globalization and ensure we account for the environmental, philosophical, economic and international ramifications of this increasing globalization.

I really hope that this committee will provide a fruitful and thought provoking discuss on the role of globalization in our modernizing economy.

Please let me know if you have any questions or otherwise just want to reach out! Again, I’m really excited for January!


Edith Herwitz
Director, Special Summit on Globalization

Class year: 2020

Hometown: New York, NY

Major: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment: When my team had a secret santa exchange.

Why HMUN? Because I get the chance to meet so many delegates with varying experiences.

Advice for new delegates: Although this may be very scary, I would encourage you to speak and participate as much as possible!

Topic Area: Globalization

Practically every front page article featured in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal will include the word: globalization. It seems as if this word has become requisite for any discussion of the relations between nations or even the policies that a given nation should adopt.

As delegates, you will be tasked with viewing globalization from a philosophic, economic, environmental, and international standpoint. One of the first questions that you ought to consider is if globalization is in fact inevitable? Because you are serving as delegates on a Special Session invoked by the General Assembly of the United Nations, you also ought to consider if the issue of globalization is one that the UN should address? Is it within the UN’s mandate or should it be at the discretion of individual nations? Furthermore, does globalization revoke the need for a nation state? Instead of thinking of individual countries would it be more apt to classify certain regions?

Many who protest the increasing amount of globalization point to the sometimes detrimental effect it has on the environment. Some of these questions were addressed in the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, yet delegates are urged to think beyond this. Specifically, how can poorer countries be expected to adhere to strict environmental standards? What should be the role of the UN in mitigating conflicts of globalized pollution (i.e. where the pollution of one country seeps into one of its neighboring countries?)

The issue of globalization is clearly one that involves the dynamics of trade and the development of the global economy. To what extent does globalization further the divide between developed and developing countries? Does the process of globalization condemn countries to an existence of simply being a provider of goods?

Tied into the role of specific countries, is the question of how globalization affects the supply and demand of labor. When there is almost a never ending supply of labor, what incentives do companies have to uphold a certain level? How does the demand for goods fueled by globalization contribute to the exploitation of labor rights? How can the fundamental rights of illegal workers in nations be protected? How can the UN attempt to mitigate Child Labor and indentured labor? Should there be some form of a health and safety standard for companies? If so, how can this be enforced?

These are certainly some of the most salient and divisive questions of the day, and as delegates you will be tasked to propose and collaborate with others to form answers to these incredibly complex questions.

Note: The Special Summit on Globalization is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

On behalf of the Harvard International Relations Council, I warmly welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations 2018! My name is Nicolas Weninger and I will be directing the General Assembly’s Special Summit on Futuristic Technologies. I am originally from London – a short hop across the proverbial pond – and I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting each and every one of you in Boston this January!

Born and raised in London, I had the opportunity to visit the London Science Museum every weekend as a child. The immense aircraft landing gear at the main entrance and the roaring steam engine in the main hall not only peaked my interest in how these fascinating machines worked, but also just how much human endeavour was achieved with them. That is the reason I am studying Engineering Sciences at Harvard and indeed why I am directing this Special Summit of the General Assembly.

I have witnessed the occasionally rowdy British parliament vehemently debate matters of scientific policy, the unbelievable rate of technological development and the disconnect between technical and diplomatic education. One cannot survive without the other, and I want you to bridge this gap here. This committee illuminates this vital connection, and you will need to have the technical knowledge and diplomatic prowess to prevail – an often-overlooked combination of skills.

Most of all, I want you to walk away from this conference feeling like you were challenged in new and engaging ways, developed your diplomatic skills and made friends from across the nation and indeed the globe. I can only hope that you are as excited about this committee as I am!

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

With kindest regards,

Nicolas Weninger
Director, Special Summit on Futuristic Technologies

Class year: 2020

Hometown: London, UK

Major: Engineering Sciences

Favorite MUN moment: Convincing the crisis staff at CMUNNY 2016 to let me drop a nuclear warhead on Seoul, command the south-east asian airspace and unify North and South Korea into the United Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Why HMUN? HMUN is an amazing experience for all involved to become substantively thoroughly engaged in a fascinating topic and meet people from around the globe. I love seeing how delegates debate a topic in the full spirit of diplomacy that the post-war world - and especially now - so heavily relies on and seeing how actual change is possible in a forum such as the UN is truly a heartwarming moment for senior and junior staff alike.

Advice for new delegates: Regardless of whether you are a seasoned MUN delegate or approaching committee for the first time, everyone is able to gain so much out of HMUN on both an academic and social level. Do your research and know the topic, but at the same time, follow in the ideals of the United Nations and embrace the spirit of diplomacy.

Topic Area: Special Summit on Futuristic Technology, 2017

In just a span of a few decades, the world has seen an unparalleled leap in the development of technology and science, never even conceived in human history. The mobile phones of today in your pockets would be able to fly the Apollo missions to the moon and back, while still letting you play Angry Birds; warfare has evolved from rifles and shells on the fronts to covertly attacking national infrastructure and scaring others into submission with the nuclear deterrent, and the manipulation of the very code of life – one’s DNA – is now a distinct possibility. With the seismic shift in technological capabilities, the structures and legislation in place have found themselves unable to resolve the challenges of brave new world that we are living in with the traditions, moral convictions and persuasions of the post-war period.

This Special Summit aims to resolve these current tensions and foresee the future complications that will with certainty arise from the relentless march of development. You will do what the international community failed to do with nuclear weapons during their development – set a precedent and framework for when the technology inevitably develops beyond our wildest imaginations and presents unavoidable issues within our lifetimes. What powers does the international community even possess to regulate such issues domestically, and subsequently, how is this reconciled with current international convention? While sounding like science fiction, these considerations will prevent a global scramble at the eleventh hour. Much like the Cuban missile crisis unexpectedly arose from the conception of nuclear warfare, the world is prone to being plunged into uncertainty by these developments yet again.

With the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and the resulting changing paradigms of employment, manufacturing, supply chain management and even current philosophy on the nature of consciousness, how can we prepare for a world after these drastic shifts? How do the changing power demands resulting from a shift to carbon neutral energy generation affect the geopolitical balance of the world? How will new biotechnology such as CRISPR change the conversation around bio-warfare, and is there now need for a second Geneva-Convention-like document? Even with the very nature of war itself, how will we respond to new forms of engagement and the moral dilemmas that arise from automated killing?

The world is rapidly changing and we risk falling behind. Only by thinking through present seemingly futuristic developments may we be able to have the foresight to prepare against possible threats to global peace. These are challenging questions, both technologically and philosophically, but history has the tendency to repeat itself, so let us not fail to learn from our past.

Note: The Special Summit on Futuristic Technology is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

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

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

Best Regards,

Kemi Akenzua
Director, United Nations Human Rights Council

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

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

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

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

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

Topic Area A: LGBT Rights

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

Topic Area B: The Palestinian Refugee Crisis

The UN officially defines Palestinian refugees as people “whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” Despite this historical definition, there is still immense growth in the number today. In 1950, there were 750,000 Palestine refugees—today, there are over 5 million. In mid-2016, Amnesty International named the current crisis in Palestine one of the top ten human rights offenses. In the words of Amnesty International, “Unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and thousands of Palestinians detained who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention.” There are many countries involved, and thus, many perspectives on this issue. Although Palestinian refugees have lived in countries like Jordan and Lebanon for years, if not decades, but still do not receive the rights and treatment of ordinary citizens. This question of equity is a crucial one when it comes to the rights of refugees from around the world, and is always answered differently. In Europe, many countries donate money to aid the crisis, over $900 from the European Union, but most have not taken a steadfast, transparent position yet. Lastly, though Israel and its allies uphold a fragile peace with Palestine, conflicts within the region continue to leave refugees with few resources and uncertain futures.

Dear Delegates,

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

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


Kathryn Kuhar
Director, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Ft. Bragg, NC

Major: History

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

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

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

Topic Area A: Preventing Infectious Diseases in Syrian Refugee Communitites

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

Topic Area B: Protecting Human Rights: Syrian Refugee Women

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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

Best Wishes,

Allison Law
Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Natick, MA

Major: Integrative Biology

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

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

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

Topic Area A: Access to Opioids

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

Topic Area B: Pharmaceutical Drug Development and Distribution

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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


Trevor Noon
Director, United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Newfane, NY

Major: Statistics (Secondary in Astrophysics)

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

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

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

Topic Area: Renegotiation of the Outer Space Treaty

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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

Best Regards,

Rosan Bishwakarma
Director, European Union

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Pill, Austria

Major: Economics

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

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

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

Topic Area A: Assimilation, Integration and Immigration

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

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

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

Dear Delegates

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

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

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


Eugenio Donati
Director, International Monetary Fund

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Povoletto, Italy

Major: Economics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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


Manav Khandelwal
Director, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Major: Statistics and Computer Science

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

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

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

Topic Area: Confronting Terror - ISIS

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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


Esteban Flores
Director, Organization of American States

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Edinburg, TX

Major: Physics and Philosophy Joint

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

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

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

Topic Area: A Western Hemisphere Free Trade Deal

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

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

Class year: 2020

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Major: Math and Music

Favorite MUN moment: Gaveling at NYUMUNC.

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

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

Hello Delegates,

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

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


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

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

Topic Area B: Human Rights in Central Asia

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

Hello everyone,

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

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

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

Best Wishes,

Yong Han Poh
Director, State Council of the People's Republic of China
Topic Area: Welfare Reform in China

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

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

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Singapore

Major: East Asian Studies and Anthropology

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

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

In committee this weekend, we will be discussing some pressing conversations that are necessary to have when innovating solutions for education equity, but also topics that some may see as heavily stigmatized. I hope to hear innovative and disruptive ideas and productive discourse, and hope to see some collaboration pushed forward amongst delegates. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have any questions. Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations 2017, I hope you have an amazing time -- best of luck!


Nadya Okamoto
Director, Non-Governmental Organizations Programme
Topic Area: Education Inequity - Gender Equality and Education in Areas of Conflict

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

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

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Portland, OR

Major: Government (tentatively)

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

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

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

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Economics/Visual and Environmental Studies

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Why HMUN? I was a delegate in the HMUN SC my senior year of high-school, and it was unequivocally the best committee I have ever been in. This past year, I was an AD in the committee, and I'm so lucky to be involved with HMUN SC for the third year in a row! I'm clearly a big fan of the committee, and I think all delegates should be too - the high-level of debate and the dynamic crises will make for an engaging, fun, and didactic experience.

Advice for new delegates: HMUN is a great opportunity for new delegates to learn about current affairs, and to hone their public speaking, writing, and negotiation skills. My advice is to to make sure, foremost, that committee is enjoyable and that you are having fun - while learning, of course! HMUN is an opportunity for you to learn from your peers and from the staff - but there's no way to get better besides practising, so don't be afraid to speak (after the first time, it becomes so much less intimidating!) and to come up with the most elaborate crisis arcs!

Dear Delegates,

My name is Elliott Birman, and I’ll be serving as the Director of the United Nations Security Council committee for HMUN’s sixty-fifth session. Together we’ll be exploring key issues of global conflict and political instability, using Model UN’s case-study based method to immerse ourselves in a dynamic, memorable experience. But before we get into all of that, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself.

I’m a sophomore at Harvard College hailing from Toronto, Canada –the birthplace of fellow contemporaries Drake and Jim Carrey. I have an eclectic variety of interests, that can often cause me problems—for example, I have yet to decide on my concentration, but I am leaning towards majoring in Economics, with a secondary in Visual & Environmental Studies (Film Production). Some of my interests include behavioral economics, making and watching movies, Russian Literature, and playing and watching sports. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, and exploring new places and new foods.

This is my third year being involved with the Security Council, and I could not be more excited. Having done Model UN throughout high-school, I know how fun, yet stressful, the experience can be. I want to remind delegates that above all else, MUN is that it is a learning experience; power of diplomacy as a tool in committee is one that is often overlooked. Of course, crises arcs and plots can at times be Machiavellian, but politicking should never come at the expense of substance and at the expense of the holistic mission of the UNSC to resolve international conflict.

The value of MUN is highlighted in this year’s MUN topics, which revolve around layered and complex issues – regional conflicts compounded by ethnic, geopolitical, and humanitarian disputes. As members of the UNSC, you will be required to collaborate and negotiate –most likely you will disagree—but the UNSC offers an opportunity and for each and every one of you to grapple intensely with the topics, and implement real policy suggestions. I look forward to working with you as you work to resolve some of the most pressing security threats in the modern world.


Elliott Birman
Director, Security Council

Dear Delegates,

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

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

Looking forward to HMUN 2018!


Spencer Ma
Crisis Director, Security Council

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Economics

Hometown: Irvine, California

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

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

Topic A: South Sudanese Crisis

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

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

Topic B: Venezuelan Crisis

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

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

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Social Studies with a citation in Chinese

Hometown: Lexington, MA

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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

Yours truly,

Isabel Bernhard
Director, Historical Security Council, 1987
Topic A: Polish Democratization

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

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

Topic B: Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan

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

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

Warm regards,

Andrew Jiang
Crisis Director, Historical Security Council, 1987

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Statistics, secondary in Economics

Hometown: Montgomery, NJ

Favorite MUN moment:

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

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

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Computer Science (Secondary: Government)

Hometown: Brasilia, DF, Brazil

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

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

Class year:2020

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

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

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

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

Dear Ministers,

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to meeting you all in January!

Pedro Luís Cunha Farias
Director, The Presidential Cabinet of Brazil, 2018

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Gavin Moulton
Crisis Director, Presidential Cabinet of Brazil, 2018
Topic A: The 2018 Presidential Elections

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

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

Topic B: Governing “The Country of Tomorrow”

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

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

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

Class year: 2020

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

Hometown: New Delhi, India and Tucson, Arizona

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Economics (Government Secondary)

Hometown: Clayton, CA

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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

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

Yours sincerely,

Jay Gopalan
Director, Indian Congress Working Committee, 1966

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Olu Oisaghie
Crisis Director, Indian Congress Working Committee, 1966
Topic A: Authoritarian Rule in India

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

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

Topic B: Ethnic Tension

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

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

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

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Government, undecided secondary

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Government, Citation in Spanish

Hometown: New Era, MI

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Sam Throm
Director, President Johnson's Cabinet, 1963

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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

Hop aboard the Peace Train and welcome to the sixties!

Frankie Hill
Crisis Director, President Johnson's Cabinet, 1963
Topic A: Domestic Policy Initiatives

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

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

Topic B: Cold War Diplomacy

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

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

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

Class year: 2019

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

Hometown: Melrose, MA

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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


Erin Olivieri
Crisis Director, The Roman Senate, 63 BCE

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Joe Valente
Director, The Roman Senate, 63 BCE
Topic Area: The Roman Senate

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

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Government

Hometown: Buttle, MT, USA

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

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

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

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Government - Secondary in Economics - Citation in Spanish

Hometown: Mansoura, Egypt

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Mechanical Engineering, Secondary in Economics

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Adham Bedir
Director, Cabinet of Egypt, 2013

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Topic B: Foreign Affairs

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

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Bioengineering

Hometown: Gaylord, MI

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

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

Class Year: 2019

Concentration: History (secondary in economics)

Hometown: South Orange, NJ

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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


McKenna Roberts
Director, Latvian Parliament 2020

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Will Strang
Crisis Director, Defense, Internal Affairs, and Corruption Committee of the Latvian Parliament, 2020

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

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

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: Human Developmental & Regenerative Biology; Government

Hometown: Havana, Cuba

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

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

Class year: 2019

Concentration: History, with a secondary in Government

Hometown: Martinsburg, WV

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


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

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Tyler Jenkins
Crisis Director, Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS, 2024
Topic Area: MCMFA 2024

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

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

Coming soon!

Class year: 2019

Concentration: History

Hometown: Sidney, NSW, Australia

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

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

Class year: 2020

Concentration: Computer Science, possibly with a secondary in neuroscience

Hometown: Mashhad, Khorasan-e-razavi, Iran

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

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

Dear delegates,

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

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

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

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

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


Richard Tong
Director, Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam, 1955

Dear Delegates,

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

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

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

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


Soheil Sadabadi
Crisis Director, Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam, 1955
Topic Area A: State Building

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

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

Topic Area B: Waging the Vietnam War

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

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

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

Class year: 2018

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

Hometown:Framingham, MA

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

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

Dear Delegates,

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

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


Mia Charifson
Director, Press Corps

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

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

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