Committee Information

Forming the substantive heart of HMUN India 2018, this year's sixteen committees focus on a variety of topics, ranging from state sovereignty and international intervention to the gendered economics of labor. Additionally, many topics are closely related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. These goals are meant to provide a framework for international problem-solving, and thus will be a focus of HMUN India 2018. Below you will find topic summaries and director information. Background Guides will be uploaded in mid-April and may be viewed once you have submitted your conference fees.

Topics & Directors


Click the links below to see topic area summaries, director bios, and introductory letters:

General Assembly

The General Assembly (GA) traditionally contains the five largest committees at HMUN India 2018, and it is the place where each of the 193 member states and 2 observer states of the UN come together to discuss pressing issues that affect many countries across multiple continents. These issues range from disarmament and security to international law, health, and development. Debate in the GA is spirited, as delegates must balance their responsibilities to their respective nations, allies, and the committee as a whole. Delegates emerge from a GA committee with a thorough understanding of the promises and pitfalls of international diplomacy.

Disarmament and International Security Committee

Director: Sunaina Danziger

Topic Area Summary

A Letter from the Director

Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee

Director: Sidney Li

Topic Area Summary

A Letter from the Director

Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Director: Erin Olivieri

Topic Area Summary

A Letter from the Director

Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies

The seven committees in the Economic and Social Council and Regional Bodies at HMUN India 2018 include 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 International Children's Emergency Fund

Director: Kathryn Kuhar

Topic Area Summary

A Letter from the Director

Specialized Agencies

The Specialized Agencies (SA) is home to some of the most creative and imaginative committees of HMUN India 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 peaceful and innovative solutions. The SA committees together span a wide range of topics, time periods, and regions of the globe.

Dear Delegates,

I am thrilled to welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations India 2018 as your director for the first committee of the General Assembly, the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)! My name is Sunaina Danziger and I was born and raised in New York City. I am a rising senior at Harvard College concentrating in History, and likely writing a senior thesis on two U.S.-led covert operations that propelled the World War II-Cold War transition in 1945. I have also completed a secondary in Spanish.

I participated in Model UN all throughout high school, have directed DISEC at HMUN Boston and HMUN China in Beijing (where I most recently served as USG-Committees), and last year, at HMUN India 2017. HMUN India has always been particularly exciting for me—I am half-Indian and have spent a significant amount of time in India, especially in Delhi, over the course of my lifetime. Outside of HMUN India, I write for the Harvard Political Review and Harvard's satirical magazine, Satire V, and conduct research at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. In my spare time I can generally be found running, reading fiction or watching movies, and fantasizing about my future travel plans.

 

My history background certainly drove my interest in our topic area, “Capacity Building and Counterterrorism: The Case of Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Our topic speaks to the viability of the nation state, the role of international bodies in maintaining peace and security, and the security issues engendered by decolonization. The stakes are high and the issues are complex and contentious, but I have every confidence that you are up to the challenge. I encourage you to research well and to think carefully about your individual countries’ policies. To that end, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any point before the conference with any questions and to introduce yourself—I would love to hear from you!

Best,

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

Class year: 2019

Hometown: New York, NY

Concentration: History

Why are you excited for HMUN India? India holds a lot of personal significance for me—I am half-Indian and visit Delhi at least once a year. I could also hardly be more excited to expand my MUN frontiers to Hyderabad and share my love of DISEC with my delegates!

Advice for new delegates: Regardless of your Model UN experience, you have a unique personal background that inevitably influences the direction you take in committee, and how you understand policies of the respective countries you are representing. Never hesitate to share your personal story with the committee!

Capacity Building and Counterterrorism: The Case of Afghanistan and Pakistan

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

Afghanistan and Pakistan are quintessential failing states, and provide a crucial context for applying state-building strategies. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Lashkar-e- Toyeba retain a stronghold over local governance and within national security and intelligence apparatuses. The Durand Line, a porous border dividing Afghanistan and Pakistan, divides between tribal ethnic groups that would otherwise seem to form a collective whole, and now constitute the largely ungoverned Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The Durand Line speaks to a broader question of recent decolonization and its correlation with state failure. Neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan recognizes the Durand line as an official state boundary, and it has thus been used as a transshipment point for weapons and other illicit materials. DISEC will thus endeavor not to tackle issues broadly related to state failure and counterterrorism, but the specific international security issues engendered by fragility in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dear Delegates,

I'm excited to welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations India 2018. I'm currently a third-year student at Harvard, studying philosophy and economics, with a focus in ethics. A scion of California's Silicon Valley, I grew up just five minutes from Apple, Inc. Since high school, I've developed a strong passion for using MUN as a way to enrich perspectives on the impact of politics and ethics on technological development. Now onto my eight year, I've served on the secretariats of HMUN Boston and HMUN India, and I have directed committees in the United States, China, and Colombia. In my free time, I'm very fond of hiking, and making bonfires at the beach with my friends. Coming from California, I have a soft spot for anything nature.

Having been at Harvard for almost 3 years now, I've undergone a significant evolution in my interests and perspective on international policy. More than ever, I've begun to see the fundamental values we hold as citizens of the world as the most important topics in foreign relations. It is nearly impossible to negotiate, much less work and act together, if we cannot figure out which ideas and ideologies are most common to us. But most importantly, those groundwork concepts extend far beyond the world of the UN (and, of course, MUN). They inform business leaders as they are about to develop new products and enter foreign markets. They gird activists as they reconsider the structural limitations in a community, institution, or country. No topic is more unsolved and more ancient than the question: What is right? And that is the question I'd like to guide us for the coming months.

Redrafting the Universal Declaration on Human Rights may seem like an intimidating, even insurmountable, project. Let neither grandeur nor importance topple you. By asking big questions, and attempting huge answers, we move closer to the truth within us, and between us. I think this conference, with its time and size, is an especially apt place to debate these ideas, and I hope and expect your preparation and collaboration to reflect their gravity.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and I look forward to meeting you in August!

Yours respectfully,

Sidney Li
Director, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
sochum@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Concentration: Social Studies

Why are you excited for HMUN India?I am excited for a chance to return once more to work with all the passionate, invested, and prepared delegates that create such a lively spirit of debate each year in Hyderabad.

Advice for new delegates: You are much better at speaking, debating, and negotiating than you think you are. Believe that (regardless of what you know or think about yourself) and remember that, at the end of the day, Model UN is just a game.

Redrafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was ratified in 1948, with World War II fresh on the minds of diplomats. In many ways, it was the founding document of the United Nations. It covers some of the most fundamental human rights known to human history—liberty, equality, dignity, right to life, slavery—and some with recent reminders or ideological motivations—movement, association, conscience, health, and living needs. It remains one of the most comprehensive human rights doctrines in the world, and it remains a controversial and poorly implemented document. Important questions, hardly considered at its incarnation and now deserving reconsideration, remain: To what extent should fundamental human rights infringe upon national sovereignty? How much room should be made for state-sponsored religion – are states relevant at all? Which rights are unalienable even for criminals? Should “objective” rights be encoded at all, or should states determine what works best, or is most popular, for them? Do animals deserve rights – and is the UN the one to protect them? When is a violation of human rights as bad as a crime against humanity? Are rights protected by states, organizations, individuals, or something else – and to which degree can each party be responsible?This century is a very unique challenge for the UDHR. Greater global connectivity, through the Internet and cell phones, has made it easier to learn and speak of universal, fundamental human rights, if the Arab Spring is any example. The concept of “violence,” which human rights advocates have so passionately militated against, is also changing. Violence no longer need be physical or political – it can be mental, symbolic, appropriative, and verbal. Are these variations as serious as physical or political violence? Finally, the UDHR was never a complete document. It lacks a productive amendment process. It needed a whole, separate convention to just define genocide, and even that’s not a done deal. Can a more perfect solution be forged?

Dear Delegates,

My name is Erin Olivieri, and it is my distinct honor and pleasure to serve as the Director of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee for the second time at Harvard Model United Nations - India 2018. I and the rest of the conference staff wish to extend a warm welcome as you join us in Hyderabad this August.

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 topic of Peacekeeping has serious implications for 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 intervention, legitimacy of oversight, national sovereignty, diplomacy and strategy, geopolitical power dynamics, and both hard and soft power. As your Director, my job is fundamentally to help facilitate the best debate possible on a nuanced, if common, topic. I am, in that mission, committed to fostering the most accessible, substantively excellent, and diplomatic committee that I possibly can in the mission of HMUN-India 2018. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns in the coming months, or if you want to introduce yourself. Otherwise, I cannot wait to see you all in August!

Sincerely,

Erin Olivieri
Director, Special Political and Decolonization Committee
specpol@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Butte, MT

Concentration: Government & Astrophysics

Why are you excited for HMUN India? This conference is an incredible educational and social opportunity, unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Delegates will have the chance to talk about an exceptionally diverse range of topics, all while everyone in the room is learning the values of cooperation, negotiation, and confidence. I can't wait to hear everyone's creative solutions! Also, this summer will be my first time visiting India, so I'm definitely looking forward to learning as much about the culture of the region as I possibly can (from delegates, too!).

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 or one-on-one with other delegates through notes. Absolutely everyone can contribute amazing perspectives to any issue being debated, and that is not a quality dependent upon the number of years you have been doing this. Also, do not hesitate to talk to the dais if you're feeling uncomfortable before or during conference. In the end, we are here to make sure that you get as much out of HMUN India as you can, and that you have a weekend of building memories!

State Sovereignty and International Intervention

In December of 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) produced a report that suggested the establishment of a revolutionary new principle. States were not to interfere with other states’ internal sovereignty, so long as that state was maintaining some control over respect for human rights and human life within its borders. Domestic genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other atrocities would be enough to authorize a state to override another’s claim to national sovereignty, and for half a decade the international community was content to have a theoretical escape hatch to prevent another Rwandan or Bosnian genocide with UN Peacekeepers present but idled. This principle was known as the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and it quickly became canonized as the UN’s standard playbook for justifying international intervention. By 2005 though, R2P was deemed a failure, inconsistently applied by states to bolster geopolitical interests over the protection of human lives. From the War in Darfur to state violence in Syria, the last two decades have been riddled with examples of R2P falling short, yet no international code of conduct has been accepted to either enhance or replace it. Some permutation of intervention standards is perhaps one of the most salient questions governing the legitimacy of international relations as a discipline, warranting discussion from now until the day we see an effective, enforceable replacement.

While the standard for intervention will unquestionably be one focal point of the discussions for this committee, it is not the only contributing factor to International Peacekeeping. Delegates will also be challenged to consider issues including (but not limited to) the prevention of violence prior to intervention, impediments to the enforcement of diplomatic solutions, the role of the international community in conflict resolution, and the mandate of United Nations Peacekeepers. To combat the spread of violence, this committee will also be tasked with identifying and grappling with many of its sources, ranging from the lasting impacts of colonialism on cultural incompatibilities to states as actors of escalation, as well as conflict surrounding resource disparities. “International Peacekeeping” and “World Peace” are fundamentally different goals, but in our discussions of the former, we may just stumble across a framework to achieve the latter.

Dear Delegates,

I’m Dylan Parker, and I’ll be directing the Legal Committee this year at HMUN India. I originally hail from Pittsford, NY, which is basically Canada (we have the second-highest snowfall per year in the US and everyone plays hockey). Academically speaking, I’m a sophomore studying Computer Science and Statistics with a particular interest in the applications of machine learning to medicine and national security.

I’m particularly passionate about our topic, Cybercrime and Cyberwarfare, because of these interests in computer science, statistics, and national security. 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. We will certainly discuss a lot of cool and revolutionary technologies, but my goal is to make the topic accessible to everyone, regardless of your academic background.

Since we will be debating just a single topic, you will be able to really delve into the many sub-issues pertaining to Cybercrime and Cyberwarfare. 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 Others subtopics, however, will require that you understand the fundamental concepts behind the technology that will define 21st century cyber-politics. 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. I cannot put into words how excited I am for HMUN India, and I really look forward to meeting you all!

Best,

Dylan Parker
Director, The Legal Committee
legal@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Rochester, New York

Concentration: Computer Science & Statistics

Favorite MUN moment: "Motion to open debate"

Advice for new delegates: Have fun and study the issues! In my opinion, preparation is more important than experience; if you understand the topic, you're in a good position.

Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Cyberwarfare

On February 19, 2018, the newly-elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, was speaking at the University of Lisbon. During his talk, he was asked about the prospect of war in the 21st century. This was his response:

“I am absolutely convinced that, differently from the great battles of the past, which opened with a barrage of artillery or aerial bombardment, the next war will begin with a massive cyber-attack to destroy military capacity…and paralyze basic infrastructure such as the electric networks.”

It has been estimated that cybercrime costs the global economy $1 trillion per year. Perhaps even more stunning is the fact that much of this cybercrime occurs at the hands of small groups of hackers working independently or on behalf of rogue nations with few resources. It is, therefore, nearly unimaginable how devastating a cyber-attack by Russia, China, or the United States could be to a nation’s infrastructure. In Lisbon, Secretary-General Guterres emphasized his fear of such a catastrophe, noting that international law and nations defense systems are unprepared for and have done little to mitigate the possibility of a major cyber-attack:

“Episodes of cyber-warfare between states already exist. What is worse is that there is no regulatory scheme for that type of warfare, it is not clear how the Geneva Convention or international humanitarian law applies to it.”

Unfortunately, similar warnings about the tremendous threat cyber-warfare poses to global economies, infrastructure, and peace have often fallen on deaf ears. Over the past decade, dozens of attempted treaties and agreements on cyber-security have fallen apart. For instance, the UN Group of Government Experts (GGE) held a series of negotiations from 2004 until late 2017 with the objective of establishing standards for cyber self-defense, curbing the militarization of cyberspace, and proposing sanctions for to deter acts of aggression. However, diplomats abandoned the 13-year-old talks in late August, resolving that insurmountable differences in national policies would make it impossible to reach an agreement. Nations like Russia, China, and Cuba resolved that the Western countries had more to lose from the current chaos in cyberspace. Western nations like the US and UK, on the other hand, were only willing to accept an agreement that imposed harsh sanctions against, unambiguous restrictions on, and the right to retaliate against aggressive acts in cyberspace. Another major roadblock was the matter of accountability, as it is often difficult to prove that hackers responsible for attacks were being directed by a particular government. Together, these difficulties forced diplomats to discard over a decade of negotiation. But as Secretary-General Guterres warned in Lisbon, the danger of a major cyberattack has only grown over the past year. The issues mentioned above will indeed be difficult to overcome, but they are by no means insurmountable. Through diligent study, debate, and negotiation, there is no doubt that the UN Legal Committee can succeed where the GGE failed.

Dear Delegates,

I’m Dylan Parker, and I’ll be directing the Legal Committee this year at HMUN India. I originally hail from Pittsford, NY, which is basically Canada (we have the second-highest snowfall per year in the US and everyone plays hockey). Academically speaking, I’m a sophomore studying Computer Science and Statistics with a particular interest in the applications of machine learning to medicine and national security.

I’m particularly passionate about our topic, Cybercrime and Cyberwarfare, because of these interests in computer science, statistics, and national security. 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. We will certainly discuss a lot of cool and revolutionary technologies, but my goal is to make the topic accessible to everyone, regardless of your academic background.

Since we will be debating just a single topic, you will be able to really delve into the many sub-issues pertaining to Cybercrime and Cyberwarfare. 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 Others subtopics, however, will require that you understand the fundamental concepts behind the technology that will define 21st century cyber-politics. 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. I cannot put into words how excited I am for HMUN India, and I really look forward to meeting you all!

Best,

Dylan Parker
Director, The Legal Committee
legal@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Hillsdale, NJ

Concentration: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment: Meeting new people from around the world at every conference I staff/participate in!

Advice for new delegates: Negotiation is the most important part of Model UN! Never forget to collaborate with your fellow delegates on solutions to the issues. Everyone has important ideas to contribute, and the best solutions are the ones you come up with together as a team!

Countering Migrant Struggling

In 2016, over 3,740 migrant lives were lost in the Mediterranean as migrants attempted to cross borders. Every one person out of 88 who attempted the journey passed away. These numbers and this disregard for human life are unprecedented and unacceptable. Migrant smuggling has plagued our interconnected world for decades, with smugglers acting without respect to migrant human rights while reaping the profits (often for transnational crime organizations) and disregarding state sovereignty.

Migrant smuggling has increased in the world in the past decade, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. With this increase have come further violations of human rights and massive increases in spending money for transnational crime networks. Smugglers operate illegally, often as a part of these networks, and reap the benefits that then funnel back into other units of transnational crime.The increase in smuggling also presents challenges for the nation-state, as national borders are disregarded and state sovereignty is ignored.

The International Organization for Migration has been called upon to create safer processes for migrants seeking a better life, identify and prosecute smugglers, and reassure nations that their borders are being respected. How will you balance all three of these concerns? How will you respect the rights of fleeing migrants searching for a better life while respected state sovereignty? What new processes will you create?

Dear Delegates,

Hello, and welcome to the International Organization for Migration! My name is Allison Toledo and I am thrilled to be your Director. Over the course of the HMUN weekend, you will be acting as member states of the IOM. You will be discussing migrant smuggling, an incredibly complex topic that involves the migrants themselves, the state, and transnational criminal networks. Considering the last decade of unrest and dramatic migration, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, it is an incredibly significant time for the IOM to address migrant smuggling in order to ensure that the process an be made safer, fairer, and less criminally connected.

For a little bit about myself, I am a junior at Harvard College concentrating in Social Studies. In high school in New Jersey, I was the Head Delegate for two years of my school’s small Model UN team, where I developed a passion for discussing international affairs that has carried over into my college career. At Harvard, I was most recently the Under-Secretary-General of Business for Harvard Model United Nations, a Crisis Director at Harvard National Model United Nations, a Deputy Director for our competitive Model UN team, the Co-Director for the Harvard Program for International Education, a Director at HMUN China, and a Director at HNMUN-LA. Aside from Model UN, I also advise freshmen and am a member of an a cappella group on campus, the Harvard Lowkeys.

Migrant smuggling does not merely affect the migrants crossing their borders. While full of incredibly dangerous practice that threaten the human rights of migrants, migrant smuggling also challenges national sovereignty and provides a boost to transnational criminal networks. Committee will move quickly, and I hope to present you with interesting challenges in the form of small crises based on the discussion. Model UN is an incredible forum for debate on pressing international issues, and I have faith that this committee will take on these challenges with confidence and innovation.

I look forward to meeting each of you and exploring these critical issues together! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email.

Best,

Allison Toledo
Director, International Organization for Migration
IOM@hmunindia.org

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations India 2018! I am beyond excited to meet you all in August, and look forward to four days of dynamic and engaging debate. I am a junior at Harvard originally from New York City, which means I am an avid self-proclaimed foodie and have a bit of a superiority complex about NYC being the best city in the world (feel free to challenge me on this, though). I am pursuing a joint concentration in Government and East Asian Studies with a secondary in Economics and a language citation in Chinese. I am particularly interested in evolving civil and political norms in China, Sino-US relations, and developmental economics.

These interests brought me to the International Relations Council (IRC) at Harvard, where I staff HMUN, HNMUN and HMUN China, and travel as a member of our competitive model UN team. Outside of the IRC, I perform with the Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company and Expressions Hip Hop Company, am a campus tour guide for the Harvard Admissions Office, and write for the Harvard International Review. I also spend a lot of time drinking cold brew coffee, hanging out in the Harvard Art Museums and watching competitive cooking shows.

Our topic, the rights of linguistic minorities, has diverse case studies and far-reaching consequences. We live in an age of increasing xenophobia and globalization, and in a world that is simultaneously shrinking and growing in its cultural and linguistic diversity. I saw this seemingly contradictory phenomenon first-hand while studying abroad in Beijing, China last summer. There, governments were simultaneously emphasizing the need for Chinese students to study foreign languages, while attempting to standardize Mandarin Chinese by suppressing the use of minority dialects. India itself is a country with rich linguistic diversity, but faces a similar trade-off between the standardization of official languages and the preservation of dialects. Similarly, almost every modern state has its own set of linguistic minorities, and their own stance on whether or how to protect those languages and populations. While language is a human right affirmed by the international community, it is not always prioritized and certainly not always protected.

I hope that UNHRC will allow delegates — MUN veterans and newbies alike — to push themselves in thinking about this topic. This will be my first trip to India, so I’m looking to you all for recommendations on food, travel, Instagram locations, and everything in between! In turn, I hope this weekend allows each of you to grow in some way, whether it’s through gaining more confidence in public speaking, developing your ability to negotiate and compromise, meeting and making some new friends from around the world, or learning a bit about an issue you didn’t know too much of from this background guide. 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!

Yours,

Angie Cui
Director, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
unesco@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: New York, NY

Concentration: Government & East Asian Studies

Favorite MUN moment: Attending my first HMUN as a delegate during my freshman year of high school!

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 impact of committee happens through each speech, working paper and conversation, and know that the dais is to answer any questions and facilitate this entire process as it happens!

Topic Area: The Rights of Linguistic Minorities

Multiple United Nations bodies have labeled the protection of linguistic minorities as a human rights obligation. As articulated by UN Independent Expert on minority issues Rita Izsák, “language is a central element and expression of identity and of key importance in the preservation of group identity.” The right of linguistic autonomy of communities that have historically be marginalized or excluded on the basis of group and social identity is often seen as threatening to the unity and sovereignty of the states in which they are minorities. This is additionally complicated by the fact that linguistic minorities are themselves a diverse group — some are native populations, others are recent migrants to the ares they inhabit. National governments are, in our age of globalization, facing increased pressure to streamline communication and international understanding, often through standardizing national languages at the cost of indigenous and minority languages. It will be the responsibility of the UNHRC to create a global framework to protect the linguistic rights of minorities that is flexible enough to be adaptable by national governments that also have a stake in standardizing and formalizing language within their borders. It is up to you as a nation to assess the extent to which linguistic minorities exist in your country, how to protect them, and whether they should be protected at all.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN India 2018! My name’s Jenna Wong, and I’m so excited to be your Director for the Commission on the Status of Women. I grew up around thirty minutes outside of Boston, and I’m thrilled to be directing this topic on my first ever trip to India!

At Harvard, I’m concentrating in Social Studies (which is different from the middle school subject, I promise!), and I’m particularly interested in human rights law, women’s rights, and ethics – which is why I’m so passionate about the issue of protecting women in the South Asian garment industry. The inspiration for this topic stems from my experience this summer working as a research assistant in the Women’s Rights division of Human Rights Watch, where I worked on an upcoming research project focusing on third-party social audits of the Bangladeshi garment industry. I was struck by how economic development and labor rights intersected with the empowerment and protection of women, and hope that through this committee you learn how so many seemingly unrelated topics are tangled up with women’s rights.

I only began participating in Model UN during my freshman year of college, and I instantly fell in love with its format, which encourages collaboration and diplomacy above all else. These are the traits I will be looking for in delegates, and I’m eager to help all of you work together on such a relevant and challenging topic. Through this committee, you’ll be required to think critically about not only the legal requirements for protecting garment industry workers, but also how you can enforce these practices.

You will also need to consider what is an incredibly multifaceted topic, exploring issues ranging from social audits to health & safety to the role of global corporations in regulating the industry. As your Director, it will be my job to push you to think through the implications of each decision you make, and the impact it will have on existing networks of companies, communities, and nations across the globe.

As someone who only began participating in Model UN in college, it’s especially important to me that new delegates feel welcomed in the Model UN community, and I hope that this committee will enable both first time and experienced delegates to acquire new skills and learn from one another. Please always feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns; I’m here to make sure that all of you have an incredible time!

Best,

Jenna Wong
Director, Commission on the Status of Women
csw@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Concord, Ma

Concentration: Social Studies

Favorite MUN moment:The International Bazaar at our college-level Model UN conference in Boston was an incredible opportunity to interact with students from around the world. This is what makes MUN so special - it truly has opened my eyes to different cultures and places from around the world.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be nervous! I truly believe that each person has something new, valid, and important to contribute, especially on a topic as complex as labor rights. Do research ahead of time, think about the specific consequences of this subject on the country you're representing, and take risks throughout the weekend. Speak your mind, listen to others, and remember, you're here to learn. If you have any concerns at any time, please reach out to me! I really care about making sure you're comfortable in committee.

Topic Area: Labor Rights in SE Asia

On April 24, 2013, just outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, disaster struck Rana Plaza. The building, which housed five different garment factories, collapsed just hours after employees complained that cracks had formed in its walls - and after their bosses refused to allow them to leave the building. In the days that followed the collapse, rescue workers converged on the scene, pulling thousands of survivors from the wreckage. The final death toll would be over 1,100 people.

In the aftermath of Rana Plaza, a global conversation began on how to better protect workers in South Asian garment factories. These factories sustain a multibillion dollar industry and manufacture many of the clothes we wear everyday. We pay so little for “fast fashion” from chains like Forever 21 and Zara in large part because their suppliers, with or without their knowledge, suppress worker rights and ignore basic health & safety workplace codes. Their workers are underpaid, overworked, and unprotected. And ninety percent of them are women.

This committee will study how the women driving forward this incredibly important global industry can be protected and empowered, rather than oppressed and abused. How can we responsibly audit a vast and convoluted network of suppliers? What are ways to improve working conditions? Should unions be allowed in factories, and if so, how should they operate? These are hard and nuanced questions, made all the more difficult by the relative lack of news coverage on the garment industry’s many abuses. Together, we will work in this committee to shed light on an undercovered and hugely relevant issue that touches millions of women’s lives.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the United Nations Development Programme! My name is Selena Zhao and I’m so excited and honored to serve as your director for Harvard Model United Nations India.

First, I’d like to introduce myself a bit—I was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up figure skating competitively, competing on the international circuit while attending full time high school. Here at Harvard as a sophomore, I’m studying Political Science with a secondary in Integrative Biology. To further pursue these interests, I am a research assistant for a professor in the Government Department, where I was able to contribute to a New York Times bestselling book he has just released on comparative politics and democratic breakdown. In addition, I interned last year in the Evidence for Policy Design program at the Harvard Kennedy School, creating data sets on environmental clearance laws in India. I also volunteer at the Harvard Zoological Museum’s Mammals Collection and lastly, to keep in touch with my love for skating, I am the Co-President of the Harvard University Figure Skating Club and am also actively involved in An Evening with Champions, an incredible figure skating fundraiser show that brings in Olympians, Harvard athletes, and local skaters to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute.

Although I did not discover my passion for Model UN until freshman orientation week, it has quickly ignited my passion—I served as an Assistant Director in the ECOSOC organ at both HMUN and HNMUN this past year, and am now a Comptroller Director for HMUN 2018 as well as a co-director for the UNDP at HNMUN 2018. Through my experiences, I have come to value Model UN as a unique educational opportunity where delegates can not only gain a greater understanding for current global issues but also a deeper appreciation for the spirit of diplomacy and cooperation.

Therefore, I am incredibly excited to explore my academic interests through the lens of Model UN by examining the impacts of climate change on agriculture. Climate change is one of the greatest forces currently shaping and changing our world, and moreover, is incredibly pressing in the degree to which international cooperation bridging the gap between developed and developing countries must occur to address the issue, despite the disproportionate impact of climate change on different geographic regions of the world. To me, this is the crux of why I am so excited to direct at HMUN India—to promote the exposure and commitment to ideals of diplomacy while tackling an issue that is so pertinent to India and developing countries in general, but which also requires great collective action to overcome. I am so excited to hear what creative, insightful, concrete solutions will emerge from committee!

Finally, as Director, I am here to serve you—please do not hesitate to reach out and email me about the committee topic or anything else of interest! I cannot reiterate how much I am looking forward to meeting each and every one of you at conference this August. I truly hope you will have a transformative, educational experience while meeting inspiring new people.

Sincerely,

Selena Zhao
Director, United Nations Development Programme
undp@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Concentration: Government

Favorite MUN Moments: Closing Ceremonies at HNMUN 2017, delegate dance HNMUN 2018

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to "think outside of the box" in terms of existing frameworks for resolutions and to be creative in your problem-solving approaches. Also try not to view conference as a zero-sum game--you will produce the best work and gain the most in terms of understanding diplomacy by cooperating with your fellow delegates and reaching across bloc lines!

Climate Change and Agriculture

One of the most pressing concerns brought about by climate change is the impact on the agricultural sector and lifestyle. Climate change can intensify flooding, drought, and natural disasters, and can massively impact farmers. Especially in regions of the world more heavily impacted by seasonal changes, erratic and unpredictable weather patterns have intensified issues of land degradation, clean water access, and livestock disease, creating humanitarian crises in food security and health. shifting seasonal timings, changes in rainfall patterns, desertification, shrinking water sources, rising temperatures, CO2 levels, and sea levels, more extreme weather and greater natural disaster incidences, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical regions, on agricultural practices and crop productivity. These broader climate shifts have innumerable impacts on agriculture by shortening periods of crop growth and harvest, increasing pest and disease incidences, decreasing livestock health, damaging irrigation systems, lowering crop yields, and flooding arable land with marine water.

Even more problematically, climate change disproportionately affects countries depending on their geographic positions, as Northern countries like Canada and Russia even stand to benefit from global warming while equatorial regions will suffer drastically. In Sub-Saharan Africa, alone, climate-change-induced desertification will eliminate 30 million hectares of arable land. Thus, the poorest countries, which are most dependent on agriculture both for food security and for economic prosperity, will be most negatively impacted, creating tension in the international system between developing and developed countries. In addition, in many of these developing countries, the woman’s role is traditionally charged with caring for natural resources, placing disproportionate burden on women to adapt to the changing climate while lacking the requisite resources to combat such an immense issue.

Thus, climate change’s impact on agriculture holds vast humanitarian, medical, gender, and justice implications as countries suffering from food shortages, malnutrition, and poor state capacity are tasked with the greatest burden of adapting to climate change, a process escalated mainly by developed countries. Yet, due to interconnected trade networks and food dependency, developed countries still have a stake in maintaining food security lest the entire world face dire food shortages without modes of adaptation.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Kathryn Kuhar and I extremely excited to be the Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at HMUN India 2018! I want to extend a warm welcome to you from myself and the rest of the HMUN India staff. Whether you’ve joined us before or if this is your first MUN conference, HMUN India is a great experience. I am a sophomore at the college, to studying History and 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. I have never been to India before but am extremely excited to experience such a vibrant culture. Having directed at our Boston conference, I am thrilled to be able to direct in India. At Harvard, I am a photographer and writer for the Harvard Crimson, have been involved in the institute of Politics and tutored local high school students.

In Turkey, I worked with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, volunteering to make and distribute lunches to refugees, which is where I met many refugee children. Because of this experience, 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 India in general. I can’t wait to work with you all in the coming months and during the conference. Best of luck!

Sincerely,

Kathryn Kuhar
Director, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
UNICEF@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2019

Home State: Florida

Concentration: History

Favorite MUN moment: Directing a committee and getting to share topics that I'm really passionate about with students.

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to speak up. HMUN is such a great chance to have your voice heard and to make friends through collaboration. Take advantage of this opportunity and remember that the purpose of this conference is to foster diplomacy.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Syrian Refugee Crisis is one of the most pressing humanitarian crises of our time and one which the UNICEF is deeply involved in. Millions of children have been displaced because of years of civil war and the rise of extremist organizations, according to UNICEF 8.6 million children are in imminent danger. `Around 3 million of those children are refugees, meaning they have been forced to flee their homes. Syrians, including many children, continue to be die due to the fighting which still grips certain parts of the country. However, once in refugee camps children are still exposed to dangers. Protecting the health and safety of children in Syrian refugee camps is an extremely important mission, once which UNICEF is committed to. Many children entering camps do not have birth certificates of medical records, making it hard to know much about their identities and pasts. Many orphans also have mysterious identities. Children living in these conditions are subject to many perils due to high poverty rates and low standards of living. Young girls are at special risk due to the high number of child marriages and sexual-gender-based violence. In this committee, I am interested to learn about possible solutions to protecting vulnerable Syrian refugee children, focusing on ensuring proper health care can reach children and combating child marriage.

Dear Delegates,

I am excited to welcome you as your director during the 2018 HMUN India conference! My name is Cora Neudeck, and I will be directing the World Health Organization.

The committee topic of Special Needs & Disabilities is so incredibly important, especially with high rates of stigma and inequality that remain towards those with disabilities, even now in the 21st century. I am so looking forward to meeting you all and hearing you imagine creative and innovative solutions to these issues through your own experience.

First, to tell you just a bit about myself! I’m originally from the very small town of Reelsville, Indiana (with just slightly over 800 people), where I live with my family of 7 and close to a dozen pets. I’ve absolutely loved growing up in Indiana, but as a current junior at Harvard, I’ve been so fortunate to explore and enjoy my time out at Boston, experiencing all the new wonders the city has to offer.

At Harvard, I study Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology with a secondary focus in Global Health & Health Policy. Through experience working with nonprofits both in the US and abroad, I hope to be able to focus my career on continuing to expand access to essential health services and human rights protections for the world’s most vulnerable populations, especially young mothers and children. During my time at school, I’m very involved in public service, and currently serve as Volunteer Director of Y2Y, a youth homeless shelter. Annually, I also coordinate a pediatric cancer fundraiser featuring Olympic ice skaters from all across the globe called “An Evening With Champions.” Lastly, as one of my favorite parts of being on campus, I also regularly volunteer with children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a cause particularly important to me, also having a younger sister with ASD. In my free time, I love singing, traveling, swing dancing, and drinking lots of raspberry tea!

My involvement in Harvard Model UN began freshman year, when I served as an assistant director for both the Human Rights Committee and the World Health Organization. My sophomore year I was an assistant director for our Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) committee, as well as a director for our Business team. I’ve absolutely loved getting to be a part of model UN while at Harvard, as well as a member of Harvard’s competitive model UN team, and have also had the incredible pleasure to help direct in a similar conference called HACIA Democracy, simulating the Pan-American Health Organization of the OAS to focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Despite only becoming more recently involved in Model UN, I have absolutely loved the incredible community that it has to offer. I have been so incredibly awed by all of the amazingly talented, passionate, and intelligent individuals that I’ve had the ability to meet in committees from all across the world, and the opportunity that it’s provided me to explore topics more and gain a deeper understanding of the world. There’s so much to learn from every committee! I hope the knowledge and skills that you develop during the weekend of HMUN India will extend far beyond our time together, and allow you to help enact greater change in the world, while forming incredible friendships and long-lasting memories.

I hope you have the most wonderful time before conference, and I’m really looking forward to meeting you all soon! Of course, please feel free to contact me at any time before the conference with any and all questions.

Sincerely,

Cora Neudeck
Director, World Health Organization
WHO@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2019

Home Town: Reelsville, Indiana

Concentration: Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology

Favorite MUN moment: I've always loved facilitating and helping with crisis - my favorite time was being involved in a kidnapping within a Colombian crisis cabinet as the daughter of the Minister of Defense - so much good acting involved!

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to share your ideas and thoughts! Even if it's your first time, I'm sure you have so much to say that will help our committee move forward, so definitely try to have courage and speak up.

Special Needs and Disabilities

"Special Needs and Disabilities" is an incredibly essential topic to discuss - with millions of adults and children suffering from learning, developmental, and physical disabilities throughout the world. Unfortunately, many individuals who have special needs are unable to have access to quality education and employment because of stigma and lack of properly established systems. This is a deficit that oftenthen leads to poverty, illiteracy, and social isolation. Proper care and lack of resources lead to families that are not able to care for their children with disabilities and an achievement gap that has a tremendous impact on economies throughout the world. Without an ability to understand and support these individuals with special needs, it will be incredibly difficult to ensure basic supportive and capable family and community structures, let alone access to equitability in education and political mobilization. All individuals, regardless of disabilities, are entitled to human rights and equality, as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) show. It is the hope of this committee to address this issue and to find sustainable, long-term solutions to this gap of education, employment, and equality for those with special needs and disabilities.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Manav Khandelwal and I'm excited to serve as your director for the International Monetary Fund at Harvard Model United Nations India 2018! Originally from Philadelphia, I am a third-year student at Harvard with a joint concentration in Statistics and Computer Science. To give you context, my parents were both born in India (father in Agra, mother in Delhi) and moved to the United States with their families seeking opportunities and a better life for their children. I've been back home to India a number of times but not in the past 8 years, and so I'm excited to return to India and meet all of you. 

 

This will be my first time directing at HMUN India but I am the Under-Secretary-General for ECOSOC&RB at Harvard World Model United Nations and directed NATO at HMUN 2018. I am passionate about technology, economics, and public policy, and hope that your committee experience at HMUN India will help inform you in all three areas and how an organization like the IMF can set proper standards for governments and economies around the world. Outside of Model UN, I am heavily involved with dance (through the South Asian show, Ghungroo, and hip-hop company Expressions), Director of Senior Investment Research with the Harvard Financial Analysts Club, and a sports editor for The Harvard Crimson.

 

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

Sincerely,

Manav Khandelwal
Director, International Monetary Fund
imf@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Concentration: Statistics & Computer Science

Favorite MUN moment: At HMUN Boston 2018, having a delegate from Turkey come up to me after the last committee session to tell me that my committee was the first time he'd ever felt encouraged to participate and comfortable speaking in front of a room. Being able to have type of impact is why I direct Model UN committees.

Advice for new delegates: Learning and growth are the two most important aspects of Model UN. Every topic at HMUN 2018 will be well thought out, relevant, and interesting, so really try and understand the topic from your perspective and come to the conference with a wealth of knowledge. Once you're in committee, focus on finding common ground while staying true to your country; diplomacy wins over cunning 9 out of 10 times in my experience.

Demonetization

At HMUN India 2018, this session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will deal with demonetization. This is one of the most prevalent monetary issues at the present given India’s recent flirtation and ultimate romance with it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it one of the central tenets of his crackdown on corruption/the black market (with an eye on higher tax yields), and it has seen mixed results to say the least. Nonetheless, it has set an interesting precedent for other countries and taught us many lessons about combating corruption through currency reform and the dos and do nots of demonetization. This committee will examine past case studies of demonetization (from India to the disaster in 1982 Ghana to recent successes like Zimbabwe in 2015) and why the reason behind demonetization is nearly as important as the execution. The committee's goal will be to creating a blueprint for future demonetization exercises and recommendations on more creative conduits for fighting corruption, especially in the digital era. Delegates will learn about fiat currencies, monetary policy, and cryptocurrencies/digital transactions, a great lesson for students interested in government, public policy, economics, or even technology.

Dear Delegates,

Hello, and welcome to the League of Arab States! My name is Adil Bhatia, and I am a sophomore studying Statistics at Harvard College. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I also lived in New Delhi, India, for two years. Throughout high school, I participated in mock trial and loved the quick-thinking and public speaking skills I gained from the experience. When I came to Harvard, I found that the Model UN community on campus is full of wonderful people who are just as exciting and passionate as my mock trial team, if not more so. I have served as a Director for both our Boston conferences and very much enjoyed meeting delegates who were so dedicated to becoming our world’s future leaders, and I cannot wait to meet an even greater community in India this year. MUN is a very important part of my life, and I truly believe in its ability to cultivate in young individuals the attitude and ability required to lead our world into the future.

I am especially excited to be your Director for the League of Arab States. I believe that in today’s society, many people make broad, outlandish claims about Arab nations without any real knowledge about the problems being addressed in these countries. I chose to direct this committee to emphasize the need for comprehensive discussion concerning the issues in these Arab states from both an internal and external perspective.

In my guide and in committee, we will investigate the ever-changing economic, political, and social climates in the Arab nations and discuss plans of action so as to decrease tension within the region and educate the international community about the League’s commitment to solving their own issues as peacefully and effectively as possible. I hope you embrace this opportunity to delve more deeply into the complex variety of factors involved in having meaningful debate in this committee, and I look forward to hearing your ideas regarding these topics.

Adil Bhatia
Director, League of Arab States
las@hmunindia.org

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Concentration: Statistics

Favorite MUN Moment: Hearing the delegates go crazy during awards when they hear their names called.

Advice for new delegates:Focus on learning--Model UN is of course an educational experience. However, don't forget to get to know other delegates and dais members on a personal level. Model UN is more than just a conference. It's an opportunity to meet a diverse group of students who come together to discuss issues they are passionate about and then break off and work together to put their plans into action in the real world. That type of connection is invaluable, and it is hard to find in any other setting.

Decreasing Global Dependence on Middle Eastern Oil

In recent years, major countries like the United States and Canada have begun moving away from purchasing Middle Eastern oil and toward bolstering their own domestic production, creating more competition within the global oil production industry. As a result, countries within OPEC and neighboring nations have been adopting different ways to finance their operations, given that oil prices have been declining for some time now. The decreasing revenue flow into these nations has also raised the pressing question regarding how to redistribute income among Arab nations within OPEC and how to shift focus to renewable energy sources with the help of Arab nations outside the organization.

Additionally, ethnic and religious conflicts between nations in the League of Arab States could further complicate these economic problems. These inherent differences will certainly make committee discussions difficult, but the urgency of the matter demands that members in the committee work toward some form of compromise for the sake of each nation’s financial situation.

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Concentration: History and Science

Favorite MUN moment: On the last day of a conference I was competing at, we all walked to a pier that overlooked Lake Michigan and sat along the edge of the water, listening to the waves. It was such a euphoric experience and I felt surrounded by people who make me feel at home.

Advice for new delegates: It's so important to get out of your comfort zone! Never let anything that happens in committee discourage you from speaking, writing, or working with fellow delegates.

Dear Delegates,

First and foremost, welcome to HMUN India 2018! My name is Safa Salem and I have the utmost pleasure of serving as your director for this year’s Security Council. I am so excited to run this committee in India, and am especially eager to meet all of you in August!

I am a rising junior at Harvard College pursuing a concentration in History & Science: Medicine and Society and a secondary in Global Health & Health Policy. My family originally hails from Jerusalem, but I spent most of my life growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. I began my trek into the world of Model UN during my sophomore year of high school, and could not stay away when I entered college. For me, Model UN has given me the environment where I can delve deep into my passion for international relations while also meeting wonderful people from around the world interested in the same things as me. When I’m not doing anything MUN-related on campus, you can find me running along the Charles River, eating knafeh with the Society of Arab Students, or “studying” in any one of the exorbitant number of libraries across Harvard.

I am super enthusiastic to run this year’s Security Council because the topic on the Arab-Israeli Conflict is one that I am especially passionate about. My father grew up in Jerusalem and married my mother during her vacation to the holy city. For us, Palestine has carried a legacy that continues to live on in all of us, despite being situated within the diaspora. In college, I’ve disappointingly found an overwhelming narrative whereby people do not necessarily feel comfortable talking about this particular topic, so I’ve taken it upon myself to run this committee in hopes of starting some kind of dialogue on an issue that has plagued the international community for decades.

I feel absolutely honored to run this committee in India this upcoming summer. I have never personally been to the South Asian region of the world so I’m thrilled to become exposed to the vibrant and robust culture, passion, and liveliness this beautiful country has to offer. Moreover, I look forward to meeting the incredibly amazing individuals who are participating in my committee!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions that may arise from now until conference. I am enthusiastic to see where you all take committee and simply cannot wait to work with each of you!

Sincerely,

Safa Salem
Director, United Nations Security Council
unsc@hmunindia.org
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Regional Analysis of Arab-Israeli Relations

Dating back to the early 20th century, Israel and surrounding Arab nations – including Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine – have always had strained relations. With the rise of Zionism and the British Mandate over Palestine and Transjordan during World War I, the many territorial disputes with both Palestinians and surrounding Arab nations began their onset. These disputes were not solely restricted to the territorial aspects, but stemmed from mutual antagonism between both peoples. As tensions continued to grow with the incite of mass protests, violence, and illegal immigration, conflict eventually brewed into war. Beginning with the Arab-Israel War of 1948, each subsequent decade saw some war with a neighboring Middle Eastern country and Israel. These wars often resulted in hostilities from both sides, and unresolved tensions that still exist today. For these reasons, and many more, the discussion on Israel in regards to the Arab World cannot be limited to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alone.

TAs we move towards more contemporary analyses of the regional conflicts, we must look towards current progress by the international community. With the Security Council’s passing of the historic S/RES/2334, condemning Israeli settlements, and the following announcement by Israel to begin constructing new settlements in Palestine for the first time in 20 years, we must look towards solutions that can be enforced and ensure that the rights of both peoples are considered – and that these rights are built on an agenda to restore and preserve the security of the Mediterranean region. How can the international community intervene to resolve the conflict and have their resolution accepted by both groups? How do we respond to the hostilities? Is there further action that should be taken? These questions and many more must be considered as you work to find a resolution in a time of heightened tension and despair in the region.

Note: The United Nations Security Council is a double delegation committee. Allocations to this committee will only be made in pairs.

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Brasília, Brazil

Concentration: Economics

Favorite MUN moment: When three other committees stormed my crisis committee to celebrate the election of Brazil's newest president.

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 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 Model UN experience.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Pedro Farias, and I will be serving as the Director of the Historical Security Council, 1950. In this council, we will discuss an issue that has hung over the international community for over half a century: the potential reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Recent discussion has brought the issue to light once more, and the Republic of Korea and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have taken strides to reopen communications, including marching together in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. We will rewind 68 years to the birth of this conflict in 1950. So that we may best work together in conference, however, let me first tell you a little more about myself.

I am currently a rising junior at Harvard College, but I was born and raised in Brazil. I spent almost all my life in Brasilia, my hometown, apart from 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 Applied Mathematics in Economics to my secondary in Computer Science and citation in German. I am also an avid follower of international relations, and I love Model UN. Outside of my role directing for HMUN India, I have directed at HMUN, HNMUN, our college conference, and HNMUN Latin America. I am also a delegate myself with Harvard’s travelling team, ICMUN. Finally, I enjoy reading about finance and exploring the crazy world of stocks and bonds.

After college, I see myself working in the private sector for a while to develop my entrepreneurship and financial knowledge further. I’m also curious to explore 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 India 2018, 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 origins of one of the world’s longest lasting and most relevant conflicts. 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 the Korean War, 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 Koreans 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 India 2018 one of, if not the, best and most fun conferences you have ever attended.

I look forward to meeting you in August!

Sincerely,

Pedro Luís Cunha Farias
Director, Historical Security Council
hsc@hmunindia.org
Topic Area: Korea

June 28th, 1950. The United Nations Security Council has just adopted Resolution #83, which recommends the United Nations take military action against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after it invaded South Korea. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is boycotting the council to protest its refusal to unseat the Republic of China and replace it with Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic of China. The UN Security Council must now prepare for war.

Korea was split into two nations in 1948 following the Cold War, but the ambitions Kim Il-sung has developed an ambitious plan to reunite the nation under socialist rule now that American forces have been removed from the continent. Ill-sung’s forces have descended south of the 38th parallel and have already occupied a large portion of the peninsula. Now that military action has been authorized by the United Nation’s highest body, how should global forces proceed? Will another world war break out just five years after the conclusion of the most recent one? Only the United Nations Security Council will be able to determine the fate of the world.

Note: The Historical Security Council is a double delegation committee. Allocations to this committee will only be made in pairs.

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Tucson, Az

Concentration: Math and Philosophy

Favorite MUN moment: Once, shortly after stepping into a crisis committee, I realized that I had forgotten to prepare an introductory statement of my character's position. Instead, while scribbling down a few notes, I noticed that the pen I was using was a little more impressive than originally met the eye––in addition to serving as a pen, it served a few other functions, including a flashlight, a laser pointer, and a stylus. I decided to make my speech about this observation, comparing the different functions of the pen to the different hidden facets of our relationship with the United States, and making the point that things are not what they seem and cannot be taken for granted. I'm not sure if the speech sounded any good to the audience, but it was certainly fun for high school me to practice pulling theatricals out of nothing.

Advice for new delegates: Don't worry, because nobody here is an expert––all of us are here for the same reasons, which are to learn and have fun. Nobody in the room knows everything, and chances are you know something that nobody else does. Just relax and try to enjoy the process as much as possible!

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Dear Delegates,

My name is Jayant Gopalan, and it’s my pleasure to serve as Director for the Cabinet of Pakistan at HMUN India this August! I think this committee will offer us the opportunity to simulate really interesting, fast-paced events, while also debating complex general themes that are prevalent in Pakistan and any other post-colonial state.

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, 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 Philosophy. Besides MUN, I like to play piano, and teach both independently and with a few organizations on campus.

I see this committee following the major events in early Pakistani history post-independence, with a special emphasis on the Bangladeshi struggle for independence and the standoff between Bengali and Urdu. The committee will start shortly after independence, at least until the 1971 war with India. As the cabinet responsible to the prime minister, you will be responsible for acting creatively and tactfully to both further Pakistan’s interests and your personal political goals. 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 the uncertainty in early Pakistani history before the split represents a very important case study in postcolonial nation-building, that forced Pakistan to contend with a few important questions. Unlike many other states after independence, Pakistan was founded with the clear impetus that defined its national identity: providing a safe state for Muslims in South Asia and, potentially, around the world. What, then, would be the best way for the country to balance this principle with inclusion, tolerance, and democracy? How could the nation best promote Islamic culture amidst Cold War politics? How can we understand the different turns taken by both Pakistani and Indian history, immediately following one of the world’s most unique independence struggles?

One of the wonderful things about Model UN is that it provides a context that’s both fun and serious to approach these questions and more in committee. I look forward to making the trip to India this summer to meet all of you, and I look forward to hearing everything you have to say about this fascinating topic.

Yours Sincerely,

Jayant Gopalan
Director, Cabinet of Pakistan
pakistan@hmunindia.org
Bengalis in Pakistan

The founders of Pakistan all spoke Urdu, a language nearly identical to the Hindi and Hindustani spoken across much of North India. After partition, however, the British also included the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal as the territory later renamed to East Pakistan. Although overwhelmingly Muslim, Bengalis in East Pakistan represented an extremely distinct people from Urdu-speakers in West Pakistan, in not only language and culture, but also politics and rights for women. Many of the ethnic tensions in Pakistan can be approximated by viewing the relationship between the two dominant languages: Urdu, and Bengali.

Almost immediately after independence, Bengalis in East Pakistan launched movements asking for their language to be recognized equally to Urdu. Pakistani leaders struggled to balance implementing Urdu as a unifying language across the country symbolizing Muslim heritage, and allowing recognition for Bengali. Under the One Unit Program, Pakistan modeled governance after the system in East and West Germany, where one people could celebrate both their unity and difference. Bengali nationalism remained one of the most prominent themes in Pakistani history until the short Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan, cutting Pakistan’s territory in half. Be prepared in committee to cite both general ideologies and specific solutions to appropriately solve the conflict in East Pakistan.

Note: This is an application-only committee. Special Applications can be found here

Class year: 2019

Hometown: New Era, Michigan

Concentration: Government

Favorite MUN moment:Last summer, I served as a Model UN Mentor for a bunch of High School Students. My favorite moment was watching one of the kids I trained absolutely slay an unmoderated caucus. It's super awesome to watch people progress and learn as they practice their skills.

Advice for new delegates: My number one piece of advice is "Speak." Even if you don't know what to do or what to say, you should always try to contribute your own voice to the conversation. Sitting quietly while other people make decisions has pretty much never served anyone well in the long term. You're here to learn and to grow! Make yourself heard and have fun!

Dear Delegates,

My name is Frankie Hill; I am a rising senior at Harvard University, studying Government. I was born and raised in Oceana County, Michigan, home of the National Asparagus Festival. In the summers of my youth, I used to climb sand dunes, swim in America’s Great Lakes, and deliver bread from my grandparents’ bakery to local restaurants and grocery stores.

I discovered Model United Nations in college and quickly fell in love with both the activity and the community that came along with it. Three years later, I am still partaking and most of my friends and roommates are on Harvard’s MUN Team as well.

Last summer, I travelled across the United States, sharing my love of Model UN with High Schoolers very similar to yourselves. I believe in the educational mission of MUN and it always brings a smile to my face when people use it to gain new skills.

I am super hyped for HMUN India 2018; I can’t wait to bring the activity I love to a whole new group of students. As the Director of Press Corps, this year, I plan on helping you explore every aspect of conference.

When I’m not simulating the United Nations, I run a student Grille on campus, I make YouTube comedy videos with a group called ‘On Harvard Time,’ and I debate policy issues with my friends in the Harvard Political Union.

I’m very excited to meet you all in Hyderabad this year!

Best,

Frankie Hill
Director, Press Corps
presscorps@hmunindia.org

This year, for HMUN India 2018, Press Corps will be centered around the question of how a Free Press is meant to interact with a Hostile Government. This topic follows a series of concerning trends in authoritarian countries like China and Russia but also in famously democratic countries like India and the United States.

Every politician, regardless of race, religion, gender, party, or creed, will, at some point, come into conflict with the Press. Every day, political leaders must decide how much information to share, what to share, and when to share it. Often, people in positions of power are distraught when the Media latches onto a story that they feel is unimportant or ignores a story that they feel the world should know about. This sort of relationship between governments and the press is normal and healthy for modern democracies.

It is, however, frustrating for politicians. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to simply subvert the Press. Many prefer to produce their own media content, so they can ensure the right message is always at the forefront of discussion. Some are willing to lie to journalists, in order to ensure the proper narrative is spun. Some politicians end up feeling burned by the media and threaten to punish journalists for fibbing (regardless of whether an article is true). They may threaten to open up libel laws or sue news companies for defamation. Others are willing to institute state-sponsored censorship of those that report on them. Some countries will set up massive state-sponsored News Stations to crowd out independent voices. A few states are even known to jail or execute journalists that stick their noses in government affairs.

So in a world like this, how does a News Company survive? How do journalists and executive boards respond to hostile actions from their governments? What happens when your sources of information are untrustworthy? What does the media do when politicians try to turn the people against them? How do you respond when leaders try to limit the rights of those who question them?

These questions and more will be addressed at HMUN India 2018. I encourage you to think through them thoroughly. The world may be depending on it!

Note: This is an application-only committee. Special Applications can be found here