Disarmament and International Security Committee

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to HNMUN 2017! My name is Joseph Zivny and I am veritably excited to serve as your Director for the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC). Undoubtedly challenging, this committee will provide a valuable learning experience for all those who are interested in the present face of International Relations.

Originally I am French-Australian, although I spent much of my youth living in Texas, Nigeria, and England; in many ways, my life has been a ceaseless exercise in International Relations. Naturally, I took to Model United Nations in boarding school, and was a founding member of my school’s Model United Nations team. More recently, I was involved in staffing last year’s HNMUN Legal Committee. Outside of staffing MUN conferences, I am a leader with Harvard’s Outing Club, a member of Harvard’s Wushu team and a staff-writer for the Harvard International Review. I intend to concentrate in History and Literature, with a possible secondary concentration in East Asian Studies or Linguistics. When I find the odd hour, I enjoy sitting outside, either on the grass or by the side of a quaint café, whilst consuming existentialist literature, and travelling between as many countries as will take me.

This year’s DISEC topics are very much concerned with the technology of the twenty-first century. As you shall discover, in an increasingly globalized world, traditional notions of security and sovereignty will be put to the test, and it will be up to you to differentiate heads from tails amidst it all.

Please feel free to reach out to me at any point with any questions that you may have, and I eagerly await to meet you all come February 2017!

Joseph Zivny
Director, Disarmament and International Security Committee
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Topic A: Offshore Bases

The need to establish spheres of influence seems to have only grown in popularity over the last fifty years. Offshore bases have become a popular means to achieve this goal. This strategy is itself alarming for matters of international security and disarmament, but so too does it raise questions of sovereignty.

Offshore bases today are not the same offshore bases of last millennium, and as they become home to increasingly dangerous weapons of greater range, one must consider the extent to which offshore bases impinge upon the sovereignty of the countries that surround it. When a country chooses to host an offshore base in a foreign country, to whom is it responsible? Historically, self-accountability might have been the obvious answer, but today the answer is not so clear. This topic will challenge you to find a solution to this dilemma and advance historic conceptions into the twenty first century.

Topic B: The Weaponization of Social Media

In light of events such as the Arab Spring and the FBI’s recent request for Apple to unlock an iPhone based on the grounds of terrorism, it is only becoming increasingly clear that social media is not as innocuous as some once claimed. Yet, in spite of its many shortcomings, social media has yet to be considered dangerous enough to be labeled as a weapon. For how much longer can the world remain indifferent?

In addressing this topic, delegates will seriously reflect upon the potential dangers of social media, and will move towards considering how social media, and perhaps communication more generally, might be weaponized in the twenty-first century.

If this were to be the case, given the international reach of social media, to whom are corporations such as Facebook or Apple accountable? As American companies, it would seem natural that they owe their allegiance to the White House, but are they not responsible for the rights of all of their users wherever they may be? How might this affect censorship and the right to freedom of speech? Answers to these questions are by no means clear, but finding them is of increasingly paramount importance in a world that is increasingly reliant on communication and social media.