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Learn About Our Committees

Click below to explore the committees offered by each of HMUN China 2018's organs:

General Assembly

The General Assembly (GA) contains the five largest committees at HMUN China 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

Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies

The Economic and Social Council at HMUN China 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.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Director: Klaus Ashorn

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 China 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, and individually move very quickly due to their relative size and skill level.

International Court of Justice, Nicaragua v. United States

Director: Kyle Sargent

Topic Area Summaries

A Letter from the Director

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to Harvard Model United Nations China 2018! I am so excited to meet you all in Beijing this March as the director the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC).

I am a sophomore at Harvard concentrating in Social Studies, Harvard’s interdisciplinary umbrella concentration for all of the social sciences. I am also pursuing a language citation in Mandarin, for which I’m hoping my time in Beijing staffing HMUN China will be an added bonus! 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).

In this committee, you will be challenged to think about the ways in which our conception of warfare in the 21st century are evolving through the case studies of the weaponization of natural resources and development of lethal autonomous weapon systems. It is my hope that by the end of HMUN China, you will be able to propose some answers to questions that concern the very nature of modern conflict resolution. I hope that this committee 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

Favorite place: Chelsea Market, NYC

Favorite food: Homemade Dumplings

Favorite leader: Samantha Power

Favorite album: Blonde, Frank Ocean

Spirit animal: Tiger

Favorite MUN moment: Attending HMUN Boston for the first time as a freshman in High School!

Advice for new delegates: Speak thoughtfully and confidently, and be open to learning from and engaging with your peers. Being a delegate in DISEC may feel like an overwhelming experience, but at the end of the day you're here for the weekend to consider topics you may have known little about previously and to hopefully meet some new friends!

Topic Area: 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.

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

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN China 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 China 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 China a transformative experience for each and every delegate, and I can’t wait to meet you at the conference!

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, participate in the Harvard College Democrats, and am a member of the Harvard College Consulting Group, a student-run business organization. When I’m not studying or pretending to be a country at a conference like HMUN China, you can probably find me sleeping, watching Netflix, obsessing over social media, or sampling Harvard Square’s many eateries.

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

Favorite place: Barcelona

Favorite leader: Hillary Clinton

Favorite food: Grapes

Spirit animal: Cat

Favorite album: Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Favorite MUN moment: My favorite MUN moment is when I gave my first speech in front of a 400-person General Assembly. Terrifying as it was, this moment was chilling, awe-inspiring, and empowering, and still to this day in my mind encapsulates the challenging, transformative experience that is participating in Model U.N.

Advice for new delegates: Take risks. Model U.N. is one of the only opportunities you'll have to try something new—whether it's a policy solution, a line in a speech, or a strategy for negotiation—in a low-risk, low-stakes environment. I would thus highly encourage you to be bold, be confident, and experiment when you walk into committee. It'll be a lot harder when you're an ambassador, CEO, or president.

Topic Area:

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

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HMUN China 2018! My name’s Jenna Wong, and I’m so excited to be your Director for the Legal Committee. I grew up around thirty minutes outside of Boston, but I’m also part-Chinese, so I’m thrilled to be directing this topic on my first ever trip to China!

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, Latin American politics, and ethics – which is why I’m so passionate about the issue of transitional justice. One of the greatest challenges facing our world today is how to rebuild states after widespread humanitarian and political crises, and transitional justice aims to do precisely this. It requires us to think about the ethics that underlie our justice systems and how we can use the law to protect those who have suffered at the hands of their own governments.

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 implications of a cohesive set of guidelines for transitional justice, but also the moral ones.

You will also need to consider some of the most controversial aspects of transitional justice, forging new solutions that the international community can agree upon. Be prepared to debate what reparations should be provided to victims, how to construct unbiased truth-seeking commissions, and how to prosecute perpetrators of large-scale atrocities, among other topics. 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 current national and regional crises happening 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!


Jenna Wong
Director, United Nations Legal Committee

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Concord, MA

Favorite place: New York City

Favorite leader Elizabeth Warren

Favorite food: Xiao Long Bao

Spirit animal: A sloth!

Favorite Album: Oh Wonder's debut album

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 transitional justice. 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: International Guidelines for Transitional Justice

Human history is littered with cases of state-sanctioned violence against civilians, from the ghastly fates of los desaparecidos during the Dirty War in Argentina to the deaths of Syrian civilians in the midst of the Syrian Civil War. While political rhetoric often centers on how to end these tragedies, there are few guidelines for how nations can rebuild afterwards. This is where transitional justice, or the process by which nations can address histories of human rights violations, becomes of immense importance. How do we hold the perpetrators of widespread abuses accountable for their crimes? How do we ensure that nations learn from their dark histories and protect the rights of their people going forward?

In this committee, you will have to compose universal guidelines for the implementation of transitional justice, bearing in mind the diverse cases in which it might become applicable. Transitional justice is traditionally broken down into three sub-categories: truth-seeking, victim reparations, and prosecutions. You will be expected to address each of these in your draft resolution. When considering truth-seeking, how can we gather objective data on human rights abuses that were carried out in secret? As to the treatment of victims, what are appropriate, feasible reparations to provide to them? And when we consider prosecuting the masterminds behind these crimes, what is an appropriate punishment?

When debating all of these subjects, you will need to consider not only how international law can be utilized to protect and heal individuals after state-sponsored atrocities, but also in what direction your own moral compass is pointing. Transitional justice is a deeply personal topic that requires careful reflection on one’s ethical values. You must therefore heavily weigh your priorities when crafting guidelines – is it better to “forgive and forget” for the sake of stability? Does providing catharsis for victims potentially allow for executing those who abused them? Will there ever be enough reparations to heal the scars left by internal conflict?

These are incredibly challenging, complex, and nuanced questions that will test your understanding of international law and ethics in order to protect human rights at large. Your final guidelines on transitional justice will need to be a delicate balance of specific and broad, practical and moral. Somewhere between these competing forces, you will have to find a middle ground.

Note: The Legal Committee is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Special Summit on Terrorism!

My name is Danu Mudannayake, and I am a rising sophomore at Harvard college. I am currently hoping to pursue a joint concentration in Engineering Sciences, and Visual and Environmental Studies, as well as a language citation in Mandarin Chinese. Born in London, I have lived in East London my entire life, and growing up in, arguably, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world has definitely impacted my view of international relations and global issues. It was during high school in the UK that I first encountered MUN, serving as the delegate for Iraq in an ECOSOC Committee on the Status of Women! Leading on from this experience, I went on to found, and chair, two MUNs at my own high school, and have since worked as an Assistant Director at HNMUN 2017. Over the course of this summer, I will be preparing for HNMUN 2018 as well as HMUN China 2018, and will be travelling to Brazil to teach English and life skills, and travelling to Beijing, China to lead a seminar at the Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China. MUN has a special place in my heart given that it embodies the values of healthy debate, and moreover diplomacy, which I strongly believe are vital characteristics in today’s day and age.

As a Londoner who has grown up distanced from the suffering in the Middle East, the past decade, and the upsurge in Terrorist attacks across Europe was definitely eye-opening, although it should not have been this way. For decades, the Middle East has been plagued by Terrorism, and as a humanitarian, I strongly believe that we should do more to focus on the impacts of Terrorism in the countries where it originated, and not focus solely on how Terrorism affects us in the Western world. In furthering this idea, I would like to draw upon larger topic areas, such as Terrorism’s consequences on global poverty, health, and economy, as well as its repercussions for minority groups. It is also necessary to recognise the responses to Terrorism that have already been introduced, as well as aim to formulate new responses.

Thus, my guide and committee will explore Terrorism, and its many implications. I encourage delegates to participate in wider research to better understand the topic area, and be more wary of current affairs in the lead up to conference that may divulge more information regarding the topic areas. The topic areas are fluid, and are constantly being discussed somewhere in the world, so a wide variety of stances should definitely make up for an interesting and lively committee come conference tim1

I look forward to seeing you all at committee soon!


Danu Mudannayake
Director, Special Summit on Terrorism

Class year: 2020

Hometown: London, UK

Favorite place: Holland Park, London

Most desired next destination: Guangzhou, Guangdong

Favorite food: Cheesecake

Favorite album: Contra by Vampire Weekend

Favorite leader: Aung San Suu Kyi

Spirit animal: Humming bird

Favorite MUN moment: Seeing the Best Delegate that myself and the other members of the HNMUN 2017 OIC committee selected literally fall down in happiness as she approached the podium when her award was announced.

Advice for new delegates: Remember that you have nothing to lose in any MUN you 'compete' in. The philosophy of MUN is diplomacy, and healthy debate, and you should feel empowered by the unique atmosphere MUN, and HMUN China in particular, foster. It is easy to feel as though other more seasoned delegates know more than you, or are better articulated that you, but everyone has their first MUN and you will learn so much that will help you thrive in the future!

Topic Area: The Effects of Terrorism on Minority Groups

The Special Summit on Terrorism will focus on the implications Terrorism has for minority groups. For the purposes of our committee, we will define minority groups as women, children, and religious/ethnic minorities.

In discussing women as a minority group marginalised by Terrorism, we will focus on the gender-politics of Terrorism. Be it the rise of Sharia Law in certain fundamentalist countries, or the prevalence of Islamophobia in the Western World, these symptoms of a world ridden with Terrorism greatly affect the quality of life for women. Therefore, we must evaluate how far the treatment of women has deteriorated under Terrorist regimes, or as a result of Terrorism in a broader context. In order to do this, we can measure the treatment of women against the three categories of health rights, marriage rights, and access to education.

With regards to children as a minority group, we can broadly focus on the ways in which children are radicalised, both in countries in which Terrorism has originated, as well as other countries in which young people and children are being radicalised by other institutions. It is also important to assess the correlation between children and women, since in many countries, the treatment of women directly affects the quality of life of children.

In evaluating the effects of Terrorism on minority religious and ethnic groups, we again can assess the treatment of these groups and whether there were any actions in order to discriminate against minority religious and ethnic groups. We can assess the quality of life with regards to health rights and education rights, as well as the opportunities that are presented to them and the rights that they are restricted from.

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

Dear Delegates,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the High-level Meeting on Military Aid at HMUN China 2018! My name is Urshella Hishaam, and I am a rising sophomore studying Chemistry and Physics at Harvard College. Despite my very STEM related academic pursuits, outside of the classroom I am actively involved in the International Relations Council, as a part of HNMUN, HMUN and HMUN China. I am also a member of the Woodbridge International Society’s Social Committee, and will be a FIP “parent” to a few international Freshmen this year.

Being an international student at Harvard has exposed me to so many different views and opinions, and only increased my interest in International Relations. However, since I am from Colombo, Sri Lanka, living through the last few years of the civil war that raged in my country for 36 years is possibly the biggest reason I am so drawn to MUN and this topic more specifically. With the increase in intensity, impact and time-sensitivity of terrorist attacks it is important for us to re-evaluate “the necessity of Military Aid”. At HMUN 2018, as a part of the High-level Meeting on Military Aid you will explore the criteria that warrants aid from the international community, with a special focus on the sovereignty of the nations involved.

The rise in chaos in war-torn regions is constantly drawing the attention of the international community. In instances where assistance is desperately required to maximize the lives saved and minimize the destruction caused, the criteria that needs to be fulfilled to justify foreign military aid is still not fully defined in the UN charter. Due to this, dire situations that can be alleviated with immediate action cannot be lawfully addressed by any member states. The different viewpoints on this convoluted issue is ever changing, with the state of the nation receiving the aid, the type of aid being provided and the repercussions of the aid provided. This committee should address whether a criterion for military aid should be established, in that case what it may be, what the type of preferred military aid may be, and the nations that should be informed and involved in the decision.

I look forward to the a few days of intense debate and resolution drafting during the conference! Please feel free to reach out to me via the committee email if you come across any questions or concerns at any point.


Urshella Hishaam
Director,High-level Meeting on Military Aid

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Favorite place: Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Favorite food: Anything that involves cheese

Favorite leader: Barack Obama

Favorite album: Dead roses - Blackbear

Spirit animal: Squirrel

Favorite MUN moment: My favourite MUN moment was during my first MUN conference. I was struggling too keep up with all the new concepts and expressions during session, but when we broke for Un-mod I helped formulate a few operative clauses. I had been in awe of a particular delegate's diplomacy and speech style for a majority of the conference, and this delegate read the clauses I had submitted and told me that they were super relevant and great. I gained so much confidence after that one small compliment, and I may have her to thank for how involved in MUN I still am, after all these years.

Advice for new delegates: Go for it! We are here to help you if you have any questions or concerns, and we will do our best to make you feel comfortable about the different MUN concepts and terminology. Everyone was a new delegate at some point, so don't worry about making mistakes, no one expects you to be a perfect delegate. Don't hesitate to raise your placard a few times, or contribute in your bloc, because you honestly never know until you try.

Topic Area: The Necessity of Military Aid

The rise in chaos in war-torn regions is constantly drawing the attention of the international community. With the increase in intensity, impact and time-sensitivity of terrorist attacks, it is important for us to re-evaluate “the Necessity of Military Aid”. In instances where assistance is desperately required to maximize the lives saved and minimize the destruction caused, the criteria that needs to be fulfilled to justify foreign military aid is still not fully defined in the UN charter. Due to this, dire situations that can be alleviated with immediate action cannot be lawfully addressed by any member states. The different viewpoints on this convoluted issue is ever changing, with the state of the nation receiving the aid, the type of aid being provided and the repercussions of the aid provided. This committee should address whether a criterion for military aid should be established, in that case what it may be, what the type of preferred military aid would be, and the nations that should be informed and involved in the decision.

Note: The High-level Meeting on Military Aid is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Anthony Bogachev and I will be your director for the United Nations Development Programme at Harvard Model United Nations China 2018. I am immensely honored to have the opportunity to work with you, and I know that we will have an incredible conference together!

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

I chose to run the UNDP this year because it is unique in the world in its contribution to the long-term support of developing countries. It is a key pillar of the United Nation’s assistance; in fact, the UNDP Administrator is the third-highest ranking official in the UN. As for the topic area, water shortages and crises are some of the largest problems currently threatening developing countries. With increasing climate change and environmental degradation, these problems pose a looming threat to developed nations as well. The UNDP is in a unique position to address the issue, offering a platform for countries from around the world to come together to strive for a better future.

I am very excited to meet all of you and I am looking forward to our productive discussion on a set of very important topics. Although the issues that we discuss will not be easy to approach, you also have the potential to make a tremendous impact as a member of the Executive Board of the UNDP. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding researching the topic, learning about your individual country, speaking in committee, or any other problems you may encounter.


Anthony Bogachev
Director, United Nations Development Program

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Maple Grove, Minnesota

Favorite place: North Shore of Lake Superior, Minnesota

Favorite food: Pasta!

Favorite leader: Paul Wellstone

Favorite album: X Ambassadors, VHS

Spirit animal: Hedgehog

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

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

Topic Area: Water Scarcity

Water scarcity is a looming problem facing the world’s policy makers; measures must be put in place immediately in order to alleviate the current hardships faced by developing nations and in order to prevent the long-term impacts on the whole globe. Currently, more than a billion people lack access to clean drinking water and about 2.8 billion people experience water scarcity for at least a month every year. 2.4 billion people do not have access to hygienic sanitation facilities. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Risk Report lists Water Crises (defined as the medical and economic impacts of water scarcity) as the 3 rd highest risk, in terms of impact. This risk is particularly tied to the high risk of climate change mitigation efforts failing; with changing climactic patterns, the water supply is even more volatile and unpredictable. The United Nations is no stranger to this issue: Goal 6 of the Sustainable Goals is “Clean Water and Sanitation” and includes the sub-goals of achieving universal access to safe drinking water and equitable sanitation for all by 2030. There is an abundance of evidence that achieving this goal is a prerequisite to accomplishing many of the other SDG’s. Besides preventing the potentially catastrophic costs of rampant water crises, resolving the issue is necessary for developing nations to grow: for every $1 spent on the water supply, countries will receive a $4.4 return. Ultimately, addressing water shortages and crises should be one of the UN’s highest priorities.

Note: The United Nations Development Program is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development!

My name is Klaus Ashorn, and I am a sophomore at Harvard College studying Economics. I am originally from Helsinki, Finland, though I have also lived in Hong Kong before coming to the U.S. I was first introduced to Model UN while attending high school in Hong Kong, and it has been a major part of my life ever since. Here at Harvard, I’m on the Intercollegiate MUN team and I have staffed both HNMUN and HMUN.

I am incredibly excited to direct the OECD and see how you will tackle the topics! As an ECOSOC committee, the OECD will be a perfect mix of substance and real-world applicability, while keeping the committee slightly smaller and more dynamic.

You will be addressing climate change from a somewhat novel perspective: how to bring private capital and companies into efforts to fight climate change. My interest in this topic comes from the rather simple observation that climate change needs to be solved within the next 30 to 40 years. If we want this to happen, we will need solutions addressing the issue from all angles, including the markets. These solutions could range from adapting cap-and-trade policies to new fields, drafting legislation mandating off-setting schemes, support for green technologies, or even conservation banking. Currently there are few market-based mechanisms for climate action, so the field is open to all kinds of innovative ideas you may have. Be creative, read widely, and don’t be afraid to propose bold ideas!

We will also be trialing some new elements in the OECD to further enhance your experience. As a delegate in the OECD, you will write a strategy paper in lieu of a traditional position paper. In the strategy paper, you will identify key policy goals for your country, anticipate points of contention, and lay out a strategy for achieving these goals. You will also have the possibility of sending an update paper to your government during the conference – more on these in the background guide. The purpose of these reforms is to bring you the most realistic UN simulation possible. Diplomats come into meetings with objectives and strategies, and so should you. Additionally, we hope to foster collaboration by reassuring each delegate that their contributions will be recognized even if they do not have the chance to claim credit in the committee.

I look forward to meeting you all in March!


Klaus Ashorn
Director, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Helsinki, Finland

Favorite place: SoHo, Hong Kong

Favorite food: Pasta!

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

Advice for new delegates: Don't be afraid to speak, mess up, and try again. MUN is all about debate and negotiation, so try to throw yourself into it as much as possible and as soon as possible!

Topic Area: Fostering Markets for Sustainable Development

In order to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, we will need to cut carbon emissions by half each decade. By 2050, we will need to achieve zero net emissions from land use and figure out how to remove five gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. The scale of these challenges is enormous, but their timeline is even more sobering. In a very concrete sense, our generation is the one responsible for solving climate change. The purpose of this topic is to explore ways to build markets for climate action. One of the current problems facing climate efforts is that public actors are unwilling to invest sufficiently while private actors are neither financially incentivized nor legally compelled to pick up the slack. Possible solutions cold range from legally mandated off-setting schemes to mitigation banking to expanded cap-and- trade programs and anything in between. If you want to look at climate change from a business perspective and are ready to innovate, you will find yourself at home in the OECD.

Note: The OECD 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 very interested in development economics and understanding what factors contribute to higher standards of living for people. Learning about different countries is one of my main passions. Whether it is another language, cuisine, or political/economic system, I find it fascinating to learn about different countries. Naturally, I was excited to get involved in MUN here at college as I had not had the opportunity to pursue this interest. Currently, I am a Director for HMUN as well as HMUN China. 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.

I am originally from Nepal, but 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. After travelling to different EU countries, I began to appreciate the EU’s open borders. By talking to many different EU-citizens, I understood and felt a common European identity. But the advent of the migrant crisis made me realize that the EU does more than establish a common market. This crisis also required EU member states to cooperate and stick to common values. These recent crises and threats to the EU have made me much more involved EU citizen, which is why am am more than excited to direct the EU committee.

The continent is changing and you as the EU need to react. Rising nationalist sentiments replace the sense of a common European identity and threaten the future of the EU. Increased levels of migration are changing the demographics of many EU countries and this change is not always smooth. Newcomers need to be integrated to become contributing members of society. How can the EU facilitate this process or should this be left to individual countries? Europe’s population is ageing and despite all the opposition by far-right nationalist parties, immigration might be the only viable solution to cover the rising costs of the welfare apparatus. The answers to these questions are not clear-cut, so you will have to carefully weigh pros and cons.

I am confident in your ability to tackle these 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

Favorite place: My secret spot by the river back home

Favorite food: Everything!

Favorite album: 1000 Forms of Fear - Sia

Spirit animal: Elephant

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

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

Although all on the same continent, European countries did not share a regional identity until the advent of the European Union. This made many Europeans feel affinity towards Europe alongside their individual nation. Now, this notion of a common European identity is under threat as far-right nationalist movements across the continent have grown increasingly influential. 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 bulky bureaucratic machine. With favorability ratings dropping in many countries and the rise of far-right nationalism, either the EU adapts or it risks collapsing.

Note: The European Union is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

On behalf of the Harvard International Relations Council, allow me to warmly welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations China 2018! My name is Nicolas Weninger and I am very excited to be directing this session of the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank. I am originally from London and I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting each and every one of you in Beijing this April!

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 and ingenuity was poured into them. That is the reason I am studying Engineering Sciences at Harvard and indeed how I began to question why rapidly growing economies like those seen across Asia still lacked basic social safety nets, despite these technological marvels. I came to develop a deeper understanding of welfare as a Eurocentric notion and wondered whether it was possible to develop a new welfare framework for China with ‘Asian’ characteristics.

I became involved in Model United Nations quite unexpectedly at the start of my freshman year at Harvard, when a friend suggested that I might enjoy it. Despite my tendency towards technical subjects, I was instantly gripped by the exposure to worldwide affairs, the chance to research topics well outside my traditional scope of knowledge and interact with a great community across campuses. Since then, I have gone on to direct at Harvard’s Boston MUN conference and have made many friends through the organization. If nothing else, I sincerely hope that you enjoy your experience at HMUN China, develop your public speaking and diplomatic skills, and make close friends from across the globe. I can only hope that you are as excited about this committee as I am.

Please do not hesitate at all to reach out to me at any point with any questions or concerns you may have. I look forward to welcoming all of you to Beijing in April.

With kindest regards and best wishes for your trip to Beijing,

Nicolas Weninger
Director, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Class year: 2020

Hometown: London, UK

Favorite place: Argentina or Chile

Favorite food: Wienerschnitzel

Favorite album: Young Love - Mat Kearney

Spirit animal: Owl

Favorite leader or politician: Gene Kranz - Flight Director for Apollo 11

Favorite MUN moment: Unifying North and South Korea in a hostile manoeuvre on Seoul

Advice for new delegates: A committee like this requires you to first and foremost know the material well, as without the fundamental knowledge you will find it challenging to contribute to your group in a meaningful way. However, what often goes under appreciated is the equally important skill of diplomacy. Strong-arming a fellow delegate or attempting to steal the limelight will not lead to an enjoyable conference experience for both you and your fellow delegates. But most importantly, please remember that this is a simulation and to enjoy yourself!

Topic Area: Poverty and Inequality

Although Asia as a whole has made great strides towards improvement in living standards, hundreds of millions are still excluded from the fruits of rapid growth. Most notably, much of Asia’s population’s continue to lack access to basic social provisions such as healthcare and education, suffer from employment, and remain vulnerable to natural disasters. As delegates in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, how can we formulate a proposal to reduce poverty, inequality, and broader vulnerabilities amongst the poor? Reform proposals should be at once broad enough to be useful to the AIIB member countries, but also narrow enough to be adapted to suit a particular country’s context. Other points of contention that bear consideration include the relationship dynamics between governments, NGOs like the AIIB and local communities, as well as competing interests between multiple stakeholders of the social development agenda. Delegates are encouraged to focus on the substantive debates within development and poverty relief as a whole in order to facilitate constructive debate in council. These issues are very current and real, and the persistence of poverty in the region demands an innovative vision, a passionate reform spirit and a committed political will.

Note: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919! My name is Lily Piao, and I am a sophomore at Harvard College concentrating in History. I was born in China, but since moving to New York as a seven year old I’ve become a tried and true New Yorker. I was on the Model Congress team for all four years of high school, but it was not until I arrived at Harvard that I discovered my love for Model UN. After serving as Assistant Director for HMUN and HNMUN as a freshman, I joined ICMUN, Harvard’s competitive model UN team. I am now a deputy director for ICMUN, and I’ve really enjoyed welcoming new members to a team that has become my family on campus. When I’m not working with the International Relations Council (IRC), Harvard’s umbrella organization for all things International Relations related, I design for the Harvard Political Review and tutor students in the Cambridge area. I also love walking my proctor’s golden retriever, watching Netflix, and exploring Boston with my friends.

I’m incredibly excited to be your Director for the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and I look forward to four days of interesting and engaging debate. In my guide and in committee, we will explore the ways in which the Paris Peace Conference was a turning point in Middle Eastern history and in global history. The Paris Peace Conference took place immediately after World War I, and though most discussions about this conference center around Europe, we will be discussing the ways in which actions taken during this conference restricted the sovereignty of regional states while undermining the legitimacy of any new states created by the Paris Peace Conference. We will revisit history to examine the ways in which European powers interfered in the affairs of the former Ottoman Empire either in favor of or against specific minority groups. We will also question the ways in which imperialism manifested itself both through the bilateral promises made by Britain made during the war and through the Mandate system. This committee has already changed history by including full representation from states such as Egypt, and I can’t wait to see how you decide to resolve the many contentious issues surrounding the Paris Peace Conference.

Though I’ve been a Director for both HMUN and HNMUN, I’ve only substantively directed at Harvard’s college conference, and I think that high school delegates will bring a new and innovative perspective to the important issues at stake in this committee.

I’m incredibly excited to meet you all and to get to know each and every one of you! Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns!


Lily Piao
Director, Paris Peace Conference of 1919

Class year: 2020

Hometown: New York City

Favorite place: Hell's Kitchen

Favorite food: Sushi

Favorite album: Fearless by Taylor Swift

Favorite leader: Hillary Clinton

Spirit animal: Silver Fox

Favorite MUN moment: Being attacked at the dais by an army of killer construction bots.

Song that plays when I walk into committee: "Real Friends" by Kanye West

Advice for new delegates: As someone who began model UN in college, I understand that being a new delegate can be intimidating. However, being a delegate for the first time can be incredibly rewarding and exciting. Prepare well, but when you're in committee have fun, meet the other delegates, keep in mind the spirit of cooperation that defines model UN, and most importantly believe in yourself. It's okay to be wrong; all that matters is that you share your unique ideas and special perspective with everyone else. We are all here to learn, including me, and I would love to see what you can contribute!

Topic A:

During World War I, Great Britain made three bilateral promises: The first was the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the second was the Husayn-McMahon Correspondences, and the third was the Balfour Declaration. The first two of these promises, made to France and to Sharif Husayn of Mecca, were inherently contradictory, and England chose to honor the promise that it made to its fellow imperialist power rather than the one it made to the nominal representative of the Arab population. The third promise continues to be a source of contention, as are the other two, because of the implications that it has for the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel. This committee must decide whether or not to honor these secret bilateral promises. The second aspect of this topic is the establishment of the Mandate system, and whether or not this committee would like to modify or completely rework the Mandate system that allowed imperialist powers to dictate the establishment of new governments in the Middle East.

Topic B:

The Ottoman Empire was a conglomerate of many minorities, including the Armenians and the Kurds. The Treaty of Sèvres allotted an independent state to the Armenians and an autonomous region to the Kurds but provided no clauses to ensure that these new states would be protected. Soon after the ratification of the Treaty of Sèvres, Mustafa Kemal eliminated any hope of the immediate success of these states by militarily conquering the Anatolian peninsula, which included the territories given to Armenians and Kurds. The Paris Peace Conference also did not address issues of the Armenian Genocide and the ethnic cleansing that took place before and during World War I. This committee will address these issues and more in relation to the treatment of the former Ottoman Empire.

Dear Delegates,

Hello, and welcome to Harvard Model United Nations China 2018! My name is Anne Warnke, and I am directing United Nations Security Council.

Last year at HMUN China, I directed the Historical Security Council set in 1991 and am so excited to be returning to a Security Council committee. We will be discussing the Al Shabaab conflict in East Africa—a topic that has both a fascinating history and pressing, current significance. While the militant group has largely receded from the headlines of major international newspapers, it still poses a real threat to security in Somalia and other countries in East Africa. We will be discussing a range of issues—the security concern of Al Shabaab, the economics of terrorist groups, the political and economic situation in Somalia, religious conflict, and broader regional concerns of East Africa, among others. Delegates will also be navigating the intricacies of the Security Council—a body that carries the full weight of the United Nations but has limited resources of its own. Ensuring that member countries comply with and contribute to Security Council initiatives will be a major focus of committee.

From Brooklyn, New York, I am a senior at Harvard College concentrating in History and Literature with a focus in America. I am particularly interested in civil rights history of the United States in the early 20th century. I am also pursuing a minor in Government, Harvard’s version of political science. At Harvard, I am a member of various programs in the International Relations Council (IRC). I am the Director-General for the IRC’s college MUN conference, HNMUN, and served as the Under-Secretary General for the Specialized Agencies for the conference last year. I have also directed and crisis directed committees at HMUN, our high school conference, and at HMUN China 2017 and HMUN India 2017. I gravitated toward and have stuck with the MUN community at Harvard because it includes in its numbers some of the smartest, kindest, and most interesting people I know. I also love having the opportunity to meet delegates from around the world and for this reason cannot wait to meet you all, the delegates of HMUN China 2018! In my free time, I like to run, explore cities (especially New York City), and watch terrible movies.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns about committee or if you just want to introduce yourself! I look forward to seeing everyone in Beijing!


Anne Warnke
Director,United Nations Security Council

Class year: 2018

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Favorite place: Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Favorite food: Ice Cream

Favorite leader: Barack Obama

Favorite album: High Violet, The National

Spirit animal: Dolphin

Favorite MUN moment: Closing ceremonies of HNMUN 2017 when an international delegation won the best delegation award for the first time in the conference's history.

Advice for new delegates: Don't hesitate to make your first speech! The sooner you start participating in committee, the easier the rest of committee will be.

Topic Area: The Al-Shabaab Conflict

Al-Shabaab is a militant, terrorist group in Somalia whose professed intention is to replace the Somali government and establish an Islamic state with adherence to a strict interpretation of Shariah law. Formed in 2006 out of the military wing of a Somali opposition-government, the Islamic Courts Union, Al-Shabaab has remained active for the past decade and is now estimated to number between 7,000 and 9,000 members. The group controlled Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, for some time, but since 2011 has retreated to rural areas in the country and has been able mostly only to mount assassinations and suicide-bomb attacks. In the past year, Al-Shabaab launched greater numbers of attacks in Mogadishu and specifically increased violence to disrupt the Somali presidential election, held at the beginning of 2017. This meeting of the Security Council will thus address the present threat Al-Shabaab poses for Somalia, as it endangers the security of the country and its residents, hampers the attempts of the still widely considered as corrupt Somali government to establish stability, and disrupts economic activity.

Al-Shabaab also has connections to other international terrorist organizations, pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2009 and, allegedly in 2015, declaring support for ISIS, and has conducted attacks in other countries, including two large-scale attacks in Kenya in 2013 and 2015, and suicide bombings in Uganda. The Security Council thus must also address the regional threat of Al-Shabaab and the international scope of its reach as the group receives recruits and resources from outside Somalia and carries out violence across its borders. In addressing the Al-Shabaab conflict, the Security Council will have to examine its own, largely failed, involvement in Somalia over the past three decades. The United Nations has conducted missions in Somalia since 1991, with the most recent—the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)—working with the Federal Government of Somalia since 2013. It will be our job as a committee to return again to the topic of Al-Shabaab and see whether the imperfect institution that is the Security Council can reach some resolution on the conflict.

Note: The Security Council is a single-topic committee.

Dear Delegates,

It is my distinct honor to welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations China 2018! More specifically, it is my pleasure to be your director for Angela Merkel’s Cabinet, a particularly innovative committee designed to educate delegates about domestic and international politics and economics.

I originally hail from Cape Elizabeth, a small but well-traveled suburb on the coast of Maine, a state known for its endless natural beauty and its kind and adventurous population. Upon leaving my quiet Maine life behind, I have since made it to my junior year at Harvard College, having declared a double major in Government and Germanic Languages and Literatures with a minor in Environmental Science and Public Policy. My academic and professional interests have naturally bled into my extracurricular life. I am involved in various forms of Model United Nations on campus and abroad, serving as the Director of Angela Merkel’s Cabinet at HMUN 2017, filling in as an Assistant Director to the Cabinet of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh at HNMUN 2017, traveling as a delegate on Harvard’s Intercollegiate Model United Nations team, and serving as the USG for Operations at HNMUN Latin America 2018. This past year, I participated as the director of Captains of American Industry at HMUN China 2017, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Aside from Model UN-related activities, I am very involved in the Institute of Politics at Harvard and enjoy walking dogs through Harvard Yard. I enjoy hiking in different parts of the world and have climbed some of the tallest peaks in the United States, Quebec, and the Black Forest of Germany. I am also an avid Ultimate Frisbee player and enjoy running along the Charles River in Cambridge.

I am especially excited to be directing Angela Merkel’s Cabinet, a committee I ran at HMUN 2017 in Boston. The committee will have a strong focus on German history, society, politics, and economics and how these sectors fit into a larger international picture. A holistic examination of how the German identity is shaped by these factors will allow you to better understand how German society and politics operates. The main goal will be to answer pressing questions related to the modern environmental movement, the refugee and migration crisis of this decade, the resolution of the economic woes in the European Union since the Sovereign Debt Crisis, and the international security concerns of Germany and the continent at large. I look forward to hearing your ideas about these issues and how you debate them in the committee room and work with these issues and further your own collective and self-interests through crisis! I am positive that it will be a thrilling experience, and I look forward to meeting you all very soon!


Daniel Menz
Director, Angela Merkel's Cabinet

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Favorite place: Top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine

Most desired next destination: Austria

Favorite food: Felipe's Nacho bowls

Favorite leader: Angela Merkel

Favorite album: Graduation, Kanye West

Spirit animal: None of your business

Favorite MUN moment: Portraying Angela Merkel in an expert witness role for the Constituent Assembly of Myanmar at HMUN 2017. I was voted "most dashing Expert Witness" for my performance.

Advice for new delegates: Come prepared and ready to tackle concrete issues that will test your knowledge of how international economic and political systems operate. Proper research prior to conference will allow you to speak as an expert to the issues that will come up during committee. Most importantly, be prepared to have fun. Speak up as much as possible. Not everything you say has to be ingenious and groundbreaking, but speaking and engaging with your fellow delegates right off the bat will provide you with momentum for the rest of the conference. Finally, remember that the staff of this committee is here for you! This is a fun and educational experience, and we are here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may face prior to the conference or during committee session!

Topic Area A: Economics at Home and Abroad

The Eurozone Debt Crisis has continued to cripple European economies, with Germany leading the policy response by pushing pro-austerity policies. The Cabinet of Germany remains divided on this issue, however, leaving the door open to a change of course. The future of the European Union is at stake, and debate on how to preserve unity continues, whether that means upholding, diminishing, or eliminating austerity measures, assisting struggling nations with loans and debt forgiveness, centralizing European banking, and promoting Eurobonds. Additionally, opposing parties have continued to fight over fiscal policy and economic legislation, including tax policy, the minimum wage, and welfare in recent years. With free trade deals such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the EU attracting much opposition and dissent from civil society, members from both parties will have the opportunity to influence the outcome of Germany and the EU’s involvement in future free trade deals. However, backlash from Social Democrats has made Germany’s involvement in the deal unclear. The possibility of the Social Democratic heeding to the desires of their constituency by refusing to go along with Merkel-backed trade agreements has enormous implications, and potential decisions by the Cabinet to proceed forward with its support of the trade agreement could create the potential for internal unrest among the German populace. Amid the continuing discussion about how to combat and mitigate the impacts of climate change, Germany has once again proven to be a leader. Nevertheless, the competitiveness of solar and wind against cheaper sources, including coal, as well as the sometimes-ambiguous impact of incentives for renewable energy use, must be addressed. Germany’s impending transition away from nuclear energy will also be a point of discussion.

Topic Area B: Refugees and Security

Since 2015, Germany has accepted over one million refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other nations. The legal status of these refugees is in question: granting permanent residency, naturalization, citizenship, or a shifting of the refugee burden to other nations are at the forefront of this debate. The ability of Germany to support the wave of refugees entering the country will be tested by its ability to provide sufficient social services, including food and clean water, housing, and economic opportunities. Additionally, security concerns in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have caused right-wing politicians to claim that infiltration of the country by terrorists has been exacerbated by the inflow of refugees. The question at stake is this: how will this cabinet deal with the rise of domestic terrorism in the EU through the lens of the refugee question? Xenophobia and cultural attacks continue to happen, and the number of violent acts of terror has increased citizens and politicians, so a proper response is required to quell the growing discontent among the electorate. To make matters worse, the spread of radical extremism across the globe has important implications for the security of Germany and its neighbors. Germany’s proximity to these attacks, and its refugee population have added fuel to the anti-refugee, anti-Muslim conservatives. The mass sexual assaults in Cologne have also caused concerns pertaining to this issue. Regardless of the refugee crisis, security remains a high-priority issue. Intelligence acquisition and sharing will serve as the most contentious points of debate. Proponents of increased surveillance and sympathizers of privacy rights have clashed, and intelligence cooperation in the future will make or break the security of the EU. Additionally, Fighting ISIL will include debate over Germany’s presence in the Middle East. Germany recently authorized limited military force against ISIL in December of 2015, so the effectiveness of this campaign and decisions regarding future involvement in airstrikes and other military strategies to be employed against this threat are to be decided. Finally, German relations with Russia continue to be tested. With a significant proportion of German businesses located in Russia pressuring the EU to lift sanctions against Russia, which were enforced in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Germany’s pro-sanctions stance will remain controversial.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Michael Bruce and I am excited, eager, and, admittedly, a bit anxious to serve as your director for the Pirate Crew of Ching Shih! Get ready to navigate some turbulent waters in this historic crisis committee. As the pirate crew and main advising board of this infamous Chinese pirate Ching Shih, you will oversee a naval force of three hundred ships and over forty thousand pirates as you attempt to consolidate influence along the coast of China while facing the problems of the occupation and era, including deadly disease, crippling mutiny, and those pesky imperial nations.

Forced to give up on my dreams of becoming a pirate due to my terrible fear of the sea, I am currently a sophomore at Harvard from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, concentrating in English with a secondary in Economics. Outside of school and failed dreams, I am heavily involved with the International Relations Council, which means I do waaay to much MUN, but that’s really nothing new for me.

Beginning MUN in tenth grade after a friend dragged me to a meeting, I ended up competing in over fifteen conferences while also working as the team’s designated recruiter, helping inspire and train potential delegates. At college, I have continued my passionate relationship with Model United Nations. I compete and serve as deputy director with the Harvard MUN traveling team, ICMUN, and I have staffed both HMUN and HNMUN. And, as you know, I am currently staffing HMUN China as your director! Model United Nations has had such a positive influence on my life, helping me develop socially, professionally, and personally. Honestly, Model United Nations has been one of the most gratifying and influential experiences of my life. I’ve come to love it dearly and, through this committee, I hope you will too!

The Pirate Crew of Ching Shih will examine an interesting historic period from a particularly unorthodox perspective. During the 19th century, many nations were consolidating land and power outside of their domestic borders. European countries, such as Britain and Portugal were colonizing parts of Americas and Asia, creating global empires. While these nations claimed to bring civilization to “savage” lands, they subjugated and exploited millions of people to acquire land and gold. However, these nations, often reliant on their naval force, were challenged by pirates who undermined their influence and profits. Depicted as ruthless marauders, pirates may not have been “civilized”, but they were quite progressive. With democratic processes, strong adherence to ethical codes, equal opportunity among crew, and unparalleled gender and racial diversity, pirates during the 18th century were not only a violent physical force, but also a violent ideological force. In the Pirate Crew of Ching Shih, we will evaluate the modern depiction of piracy through one of the practice’s most distinguished figures while engaging in realistic crises and deliberation relevant to the period and region.

I can’t wait to explore piracy through the life and domain of this extremely interesting historic figure. If you have any questions concerning committee, conference, Model United Nations, or life, feel free to email me! I will try to reply as soon as I can, and again, I can’t wait to meet all of you! :)


Michael Bruce
Director, The Pirate Crew of Ching Shih

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Favorite place: San Francisco or literally anywhere in California

Favorite food: Chicken mofongo in reole sauce

Favorite leader: Charles Bukowksi

Favorite album: The Moon and Antarctica by Modest Mouse

Spirit animal: Honey Badger

Advice for new delegates: Don’t worry or stress yourselves out too much. A conference is not a measure of your individual worth or ability as a person. Simply enjoy the debate, the challenges, the diplomacy, and the people you encounter in committee. This is an amazing experience, so make sure you are feeling amazing throughout it. Do not get bogged down by the expectations of prizes and, again, simply enjoy your time at HMUN China 2018!

Topic: A Pirate's Life

Ching Shih is one of the most interesting figures in Chinese history. Once a Cantonese prostitute, Ching Shih rose to become one of the most powerful and influential pirates in history. With command of 300 junks and over 40,000 pirates, Ching Shih was a destructive force during the 19th century. Her Red Flag Fleet expanded her domain along the entire Chinese coast, taxing coastal towns for her protection. With her great influence, came disputes from imperial nations. Challenged by Qing dynasty officials, the Portuguese navy, and even the British navy, Ching Shih was able to match in firepower and tactics these national military forces. In addition to these foreign entanglements, Ching Shih also faced the general problems that arose with piracy, mainly the possibility of mutiny and infectious disease. Regardless of these difficulties, Ching Shih was an influential and successful figure and her success has transcended her life, allowing her legend to live on. The Pirate Crew of Ching Shih Committee will explore the career, influence, and domain of this infamous pirate. Delegates, you are Ching Shih’s most trusted advisors, ensuring her pirate empire not only remains intact when faced with foreign challenges, but also prospers in spite of the Portuguese, Chinese, and British navies. With fleets from Hanoi to Seoul, you must establish Ching Shih’s dominance of the Chinese coast and quickly solve any internal problems that threaten the Red Fleet’s unity and authority. By aiding Ching Shih, you too will become immortal in infamy. So, with the prospect of fame, gold, and power, ask yourself: “Is a Pirate’s Life for Me?”

Note: This commitee has one topic.

Dear Delegates,

My name is Kyle Sargent, and I’m very excited to welcome you to the International Court of Justice. As a junior at Harvard, I’m currently studying Mathematics and Computer Science. Outside of the classroom, I am highly involved in the International Relations Council, an extracurricular umbrella organization that encompasses Harvard’s traveling Model UN team, of which I am also a member. At HMUN China 2018, you’ll be a part of the International Court of Justice, a court empowered by the UN to resolve complex international disputes.

In this committee, you’ll simulate the deliberations of the ICJ during the case Nicaragua v. United States (1986). This contentious decision found the United States in violation of international law for funding the “Contras,” a right-wing military group bent on destabilizing the Nicaraguan government. Roughly half of you will act as judges of the court. You’ll be able to question counselors and compel witnesses, delve deeply into the facts of the case, and collectively render the final decision. The other half will serve as litigants for Nicaragua or the United States. In the capacity of a litigant for either country, you will be responsible for providing compelling arguments that make the case for your side, by researching heavily for supporting evidence and appropriate witnesses.

While unconventional, it is my belief that this committee format will allow debate that is both challenging and invigorating. In addition, the courtroom politics of the ICJ will make for an excellent underlying crisis arc. I am very much looking forward to seeing the direction you will take things, and to guiding what I am sure will be a spirited debate. If you have any questions please contact me via my committee email and I will address them to the best of my ability.


Kyle Sargent
Director, International Court of Justice

Class year: 2019

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Favorite place: St. Peter's Basilica

Favorite food: Cuban Sandwich

Favorite leader: Teddy Roosevelt

Spirit animal: Wolf

Favorite MUN moment: Asking a good question that stumps the writer of a resolution

Advice for new delegates: Do your research, relax, find an experienced delegate to align yourself with and learn the ropes.

Topic: The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America

The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America (1986) In 1986, Nicaragua accused the United States of supporting the Contras, a domestic right-wing militant group bent on destabilizing and overthrowing the current regime. In a landmark case brought before the ICJ, the US was found in violation of international law and forced to compensate Nicaragua, but openly defied the ruling of the ICJ. In this committee, delegates will simulate the historical proceedings of the ICJ leading to this contentious decision, as both judges and litigants for either side. Depending on the forcefulness of the arguments for the US and Nicaragua, things may turn out differently.

Dear Delegates,

I am excited to welcome you to HMUN China 2018! My name is Sofia Garcia and I will be your Director for the Advisors to Emir Habibullah Khan, 1914.

Before Harvard, I attended a small Catholic high school in Kansas where I did policy debate. I decided to try something new in college, which led me to get involved with Model United Nations. I have staffed HMUN and HNMUN in addition to being on the traveling MUN team. I also am involved with the Harvard Catholic Student Association and during the school year I work as a peer advisor for freshmen. In my free time I like to play flute, watch movies with friends, or bake. My intended concentration is Economics and I’d like to get a secondary in mathematics. Before I graduate Harvard, I hope to speak Spanish fluently and travel as much as possible through student groups.

Through this committee you will explore what it means to be a border state as well as engaging in balancing complex foreign affairs with domestic issues. The Emir will need your guidance in order to strengthen Afghanistan’s future; I hope you are up for the challenge.

I look forward to meeting you at conference. If you have any questions before then please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


Sofia Garcia
Advisors to the Emir Habibullah Khan, 1914

Class year: 2020

Hometown: Hutchinson, Kansas

Favorite place: Puerto Rico

Favorite food: Chocolate

Favorite album: Soundtrack to Moana

Spirit animal: Sparrow

Favorite MUN moment: The first time I traveled with the Harvard team to a conference in California. The whole trip was a lot of fun

Advice for new delegates: One of the best things to do before committee is to practice public speaking. When you give a speech the whole committee is watching and it's the best time to make a good impression or try to sway other delegate's feelings on a topic.

Through the 19 th Century, Afghanistan fought the First and Second Anglo Afghan Wars against the British to help establish its sovereignty. At the end of the second war, the British withdrew their troops and recognized Emir Abdur Rahman Khan as the leader of Afghanistan. However because of Afghanistan’s location between British India and the Soviet Union, the British continued to closely monitor Afghan affairs and arranged to pay the Emir’s government for following British approved foreign policies. Emir Adbur ruled strictly and consolidated power in his central government to further support his reign. After his death in 1901 he was succeeded by his eldest son Habibullah Khan. Habibullah Khan believed that Afghanistan needed to modernize in order to establish itself more in the global world. He began a series of reforms that included building schools, a hospital, strengthening the economy, and investing in modern communication and transportation infrastructure. The Emir faced opposition from tribal and religious leaders when he attempted to modernize some of the laws and this tension continued through the rest of his reign. Additionally, the Emir attempted to balance relations with both Russia and the British Empire. The Emir attempted to play both sides of the issue as frequently as possible though outwardly he was seen as in support of the British. However when the Emir was not invited to the Anglo- Russian Convention of 1907, where the British and Russians reach an agreement about their involvement in Afghanistan, the Emir was largely upset. Furthermore, the country’s Islamic beliefs create a natural sympathy toward The Ottomans as the world divides itself up into alliances. It is at this point in the summer of 1914 that the Emir has called upon his advisors to help him decide how to lead the country forward. Many difficult decisions are ahead the most pressing of which include: should Afghanistan join an alliance or continue to remain neutral? How can the Emir continue his modernization? Is it possible to fully address the country’s international and domestic concerns or will one need to be ignored so the other can be resolved? This committee’s decisions will have impacts not only on Afghanistan, but also on the world as the 20 th century progresses. Delegates will need to be focused and united in order to steer Afghanistan through this era of international turmoil and change.

Dear Delegates,

Antonio Soriano is a junior at Harvard College, concentrating in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a secondary in History of Science. Antonio was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He first became involved in Model UN in freshman year and has since staffed Harvard’s Boston conferences in various capacities. He is super thrilled to help organize his first international MUN conference. Aside from his involvement in Model UN, Antonio is involved in Harvard's chapter of Camp Kesem, a summer camp for children whose parents have been affected by cancer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, and spending time with friends. Antonio looks forward to working with the wonderful Harvard and Alpha Partners staff members to make this ninth session of conference a memorable and rewarding experience for all delegates. He is honored to serve as Director for the Press Corps and looks forward to welcoming you to Harvard Model United Nations China 2018!


Antonio Soriano
Director, Press Corps

Class year: 2019

Hometown:Los Angeles

Favorite place:Kyoto, Japan

Favorite food: Pozole

Favorite album: 4 by Beyonce

Spirit animal:Shiba Inu

Favorite MUN moment:Watching my AD in UNESCO recite the first ten minutes of the Lord of the Rings from memory, with the accompanying music.

Any Advice for New Delegates? Participate! No comment or idea is too small to be considered. A few choice words can have a profound impact on the course of the debate and by bringing in more perspectives committee becomes a richer experience for everyone.

Press Corps will play the crucial role of gathering and reporting information about the proceedings of all the other committees in a fair, unbiased, and prompt fashion at the conference. The articles that delegates write have the potential to shape the course of debate, to persuade opposing factions to compromise, to introduce new perspectives, and so much more. Delegates will get to host press conferences, conduct interviews, participate in crises, report breaking news, write opinion pieces, and stay informed about all the different committees. Representing specific news agencies, they will have access to creating a wide array of medium, ranging from online news articles to blog posts to video broadcasts to Twitter, which will serve to keep other delegates, staff, and faculty advisors updated about the happenings of HMUN China 2018. In doing so, delegates will gain an understanding and appreciation for the key role that the press plays in the international affairs arena; they will also acquire and develop the qualities and skills that a good journalist possesses.

Note: This is an application-only committee.


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