The Advisors to Queen Liliʻuokalani, 1891

Dear Delegates,

Aloha e nā haumāna ʻelele,

Welcome to HNMUN 2018! My name is Katherine K. Sakys, and I am so excited to be your Director for The Advisors to Queen Liliʻuokalani, 1891. Challenging and thought-provoking, this committee will be an intense exploration of imperialism in the Pacific and the impacts on native Hawaiian culture. Undoubtedly, this committee will provide a valuable learning experience for all those who are interested in sovereignty, nation-building, and the interactions between imperial powers.

Originally from the suburbs of Denver, I split my youth between the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the white sandy beaches of Hawaiʻi. Travelling often as a child, my interest in the world was born at a young age. I was fortunate enough to return “home,” and attend boarding school on the island of Oʻahu. Spending four continuous years at the Pacific crossroads of mainland America and East Asia solidified my interest in international relations and trans-Pacific interactions, which subsequently spurred a long career in speech and debate. With very little Model UN activity occuring on my rock in the middle of the ocean, it wasn’t until I arrived at Harvard that I was able to fuse my interest in global affairs and my passion for extemporaneous speaking and debate by joining Harvard’s traveling MUN team. A current sophomore, this will be my second year staffing the Specialized Agencies at both HMUN and HNMUN as well as my first year staffing Harvardʻs international WorldMUN conference. When my life is not devoted to MUN, I tutor with the Harvard Program for International Education, staff the business board for the Harvard International Review, hold a trio of jobs, and participate in a variety of Native American and Hawaiian cultural activities. I am currently pursuing a degree in economics with a secondary in government focusing on foreign affairs and international political economy. In my spare time, my inner adventurer enjoys exploring the East Coast, hiking, Yelping (read: eating), pretending I know how to pair wines and cheeses, and, of course, going to the beach.

Hawaiʻi provides a fascinating case-study of the intersection of 19th-century imperialism and sovereignty as the internationally-recognized island nation declined to a paradise lost over the span of five years. This committee will challenge you to explore the effects of imperialism on the economics, politics, and indigenous culture of a split nation while also exposing you to the constraints of living on one of the most isolated land masses on Earth. As you will discover, a group of eight seemingly-innocuous islands can very quickly steal the spotlight of international discourse, especially given the culture of expansionism in the last years of the 1800’s. As an old Hawaiian proverb goes, paneʻe ka waʻa oi moe ka ʻale – set the canoe sailing while the billows are at rest. It will be up to you to rise to action steer this island nation through the rough waters ahead. E pili mau nā pōmaikaʻi me ʻoe – good luck!

Please feel free to reach out to me at any point, whether you have questions about committees or just want recommendations for your next trip to the islands. I eagerly await meeting you come February of 2018!

Naʻu me ke aloha pumehana a me ka mahalo nui,

Sincerely,
Katherine Kawahinehoʻokiʻekiʻe Sakys
Director, Advisors to Queen Liliʻuokalani, 1891
Harvard National Model United Nations 2018
hawaii@hnmun.org


Dear Delegates,

My name is Sam Throm, and I will be serving as Crisis Director for The Advisors to Queen Lili’uokalani, 1891. I can’t wait to see all the different crisis plans you will all undoubtedly bring to the debate as we explore this truly unique period of history and its consequences for the world at large. There are more crisis plans than miles of Hawaiian coastline, and I’m sure you will keep me on my toes!

I’m originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, as far from removed geographically from Hawaii as you could get. I am a sophomore in Harvard College concentrating in Government, with an as-yet undecided secondary. I have always been interested in international relations and diplomacy, and the Harvard International Relations has become my home on campus, where I participate in both HNMUN and our sister conference, HMUN while competing in our travel Model UN team. After college, I’ve looked at everything from working with the US State Department to the American Olympic Committee, so the skills and experience learned in the committee room will serve quite well in the future!

While the substantive debate in the committee room is the heart of every Model UN committee, I believe the crisis elements are where delegates can really shine in letting their creativity and improvisational skills run rampant on history and committee. Late 19th century Hawaii is rife with possibilities for interesting events and ahistoric changes, and delegates should be aware that they are not the only ones planning surprises! While I appreciate any and all creative crisis plans, delegates must always be aware of the cultural context and implications of their plans, especially as we discuss important issues of sovereignty and indigenous rights. Likewise, I encourage all participants to use this committee and their crisis plans as an opportunity to explore diverse viewpoints, both in debate and outside the committee room. HNMUN brings people from all around the world to debate pressing world issues. Nothing offers the level of engagenment with people with vastly different backgrounds except Model UN. Who knows? Maybe another delegate from across the globe has the best crisis plan you’ve heard!

When it comes down to it, this committee offers us an opportunity to experience the imperialism first hand and what that means for an entire indigenous culture. At the same time, 1891 Hawaii truly sits at the crossroads of diplomacy, drawing interest, intrigue, and trade from all over the world, offering a genuine experience in international affairs. Laki maikaʻi, delegates, and see you at HNMUN 2018!

A hui hou,
Sam Throm
Crisis Director, Advisors to Queen Liliʻuokalani, 1891
Harvard National Model United Nations 2018


With the death of King Kalākaua at the turn of the decade, the Hawaiian Kingdom faces uncertain waters. Political tensions run high in the wake of the King’s rule. A disunited government continues to fracture and split as personal interests, corrupt businesses, and foreign influence pull government officials in different directions. European and American interests in the Pacific continue to strengthen as Western powers seek to establish strategic economic and military links across the world’s most expansive ocean. Although internationally recognized as an independent nation, Western powers continue to look to Hawai‘i’s optimal location at the oceanic crossroads between the Western world and Asia. Economic interests and political ties between these powerful nations and island residents from abroad have shaken the foundation of the Hawaiian government, and the transfer of power provides politicians and civilians alike with the opportunity to radically change Hawai‘i both domestically and on the international stage. As Queen Lili‘uokalani ascends to the throne as the Kingdom’s first queen regnant on January 29th, 1891 and takes the helm of this island kingdom, she inherits the turmoil of a politically-divided government and a racially-divided nation defined by twenty years of stark dichotomies: monarchy vs. republic, indigenous rights vs. rights of foreigners, indigenous Hawaiian culture vs. Westernization, independence vs. foreign imperialism.  

As the Queen navigates her reign, Hawai‘i’s original monarchy continues to give way, under pressure and action by non-native residents, to a government giving the Queen and her cabinet less political purview. As foreign influence increases, non-Hawaiian politicians increasingly push for a constitutional overhaul and the creation of a republic. This assembly, The Advisors to Queen Liliuokalani, 1891, spans the radically different views of natives and non-natives alike on issues of economic engagement, Westernization, indigenous rights, and political reform as the island’s find themselves at the center of the Pacific stage. No doubt a difficult sail into uncharted waters, the task of this assembly is not without significant challenges. The same dichotomies that influenced the Bayonet Constitution of 1887 are more pressing than ever as different racial, political, and international groups compete to protect their interests and establish dominance in the islands. The Queen’s Advisors will be tasked to answer difficult questions as they navigate a decade wrought with domestic and international issues. How can the preservation of indigenous culture be reconciled with the need for Hawai‘i to keep up with modern Western nations? How will domestic resource rights be allocated between native peoples and foreign residents? What form of government can best serve the interests of the Kingdom’s citizens? What role will foreign nations play in Hawai‘i’s economy? Hawai‘i’s government? To what degree can the Queen regulate the presence and influence of foreigners, especially given the economic, political, and military agreements already made with Western powers? What compromise can the Queen’s Advisors find between appeasing politicians and businessmen who seek a stronger relationship with Western powers and native peoples who advocate for continued sovereignty?

At this moment, the future of the Hawaiian Kingdom is left in your hands. The decisions you make will continue to impact the course of this nation for decades to come and will set the compass for this nation’s voyage. Whether that course is charted for prosperity or demise is up to you.