United Nations Security Council

Dear Delegates,

It is with great excitement that I welcome you to the United Nations Security Council at Harvard National Model United Nations 2017. My name is Benjamin Schafer, and I will be your Committee Director for what will surely be an exciting, fast­paced, and transformative weekend!

Originally from just outside of Buffalo, NY, I am currently a sophomore at Harvard College studying history. Model UN has been a part of my life since sophomore year of high school, and I have competed at numerous high school and college conferences. At Harvard, I am a member of the Intercollegiate Model United Nations team (ICMUN) and serve as the Vice President of Business for the Harvard International Relations Council’s annual Welcome Week for incoming students. I was also a staff member for both of Harvard’s Boston conferences (HMUN and HNMUN) in 2016. Outside of Model UN, I enjoy sailing, running, reading, spending hours in conversation with friends and family, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

I am incredibly thrilled to be running this year’s United Nations Security Council, where we will consider two extremely high-pressure situations in which religious tensions have escalated into aggression and violence at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Since high school, I have found myself fascinated with how religious groups interact with one another and seek to define the social, political, and economic worlds in which they live. Our discussions of the Central African Republic and of India and Pakistan, I hope, will shed light on what happens when religious groups turn to violence when trying to confront everyday realities and how the international community should respond to acts of sectarian and religious violence. The cases are not the only instances in modern memory when religious divides have created major social rifts between groups of people, and it is up to you to determine how the global community will not only tackle these specific cases but also prevent and respond to future outbreaks of religious violence.

Our Co-Crisis Director and Moderator pair, Rohan and Charlene, are incredibly skilled and passionate people who served as great mentors to me during my freshman year here, and I am confident that our team will deliver what will certainly be an unforgettable HNMUN 2017 experience.

Benjamin Schafer
Director, United Nations Security Council
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the United Nations Security Council! My name is Charlene Hong, and I am a senior at Harvard College. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, I live for sweet tea and Southern cooking, but the only country music I bump is Tay-Swift. At Harvard, I am a Social Studies concentrator and am currently writing a thesis on the political activism of South Korean university students. Beyond my studies, I staff Harvard’s Model UN conferences in Boston, China, and Latin America, and I also served as the Head Delegate of Harvard’s competitive traveling team last year. Outside of Model UN, I am involved with the diverse Asian student community at Harvard and serve on the board of Circle of Women, an entirely student-run non- profit that aims to expand educational opportunities for girls in developing countries.

This committee marks the capstone of my involvement in staffing for Model United Nations, to which I have lovingly dedicated the majority of my college career. When I thought of what kind of UN Security Council committee I wanted to crisis direct in the last committee I will staff for the college circuit, I knew that it had to be challenging, regionally diverse, and distinctive. That is why I am proud and excited to be working with your director, Ben Schafer, to offer a committee in which you will tackle head-on the issues of escalating violence in the Central African Republic and heightening tension between India and Pakistan. Both are topics that we may be familiar with but perhaps have lost attention amongst more recent issues of conflict in the Middle East and migration crises. However, in this iteration of the meeting of the Security Council, you will be charged with discussing a tremendous amount of detail on these topics and setting precedent for new UN action that may vastly change the foreign relations of those regions.

As co­crisis director with my co-Head Delegate Emeritus and favorite UNSC double­del partner, Rohan Pidaparti, we aim to use our combined extensive Model UN background to provide you a committee experience that will allow you to truly immerse yourself in these topics and simulate the tricky diplomatic relationships the Security Council grapples with. Overall, my hope is that by the end of conference, you will have had your most thrilling and challenging committee experience yet, and leave a better delegate than before. I look forward to the ideas and discussion you bring up, and here’s to a fantastic HNMUN 2017 together!

Charlene Hong
Co-Crisis Director, United Nations Security Council
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017


My name is Rohan Pidaparti, and it is my privilege and pleasure to be serving as your Crisis Director for the United Nations Security Council. This Council is among the most important international institutions in the world, tasked with maintaining international peace and security, and bringing together global powers to do so. The Security Council presents an opportunity to simulate the challenges, obstacles, and perils that come with addressing the world’s most pressing crises and dangerous threats.

The Security Council will be addressing the numerous challenges facing the Central African Republic as well as the conflict between India and Pakistan. Both of these conflict areas will be examined through social, political, and economic dimensions, and shaped by the outcomes of the decisions that you, the delegates, make. How will you address the legacy of colonialism? Will ethnic tensions supersede national unity? There will be many obstacles along the way to whatever goal you choose, and I will make it my utmost priority to make sure you are mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged over the course of the weekend.

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, I am a senior concentrating in Government here at the College. I have been involved with Model UN since my freshman year, staffing both HMUN and HNMUN, serving as the head delegate of Harvard’s travel Model UN team, and as Secretary- General of HNMUN-Latin America. When not doing MUN, I enjoy watching movies, listening to music, playing basketball poorly, hanging out with friends, and making terrible, terrible jokes.

Ben, Charlene, and I are very excited about this committee, as it consists of exciting topics that we feel make for an equally entertaining and educational committee experience. We are looking forward to seeing what you will do to address the myriad problems with which you will be presented. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, and I will see you in February!

Rohan Pidaparti
Co-Crisis Director, United Nations Security Council
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

This year’s Security Council will use two different contemporary cases to explore the roots and ramifications of religious violence throughout the world, and we hope to discuss both of these topics simultaneously in order to enrich the debate on these topics.

Topic A: Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Central African Republic

The current state of affairs in the Central African Republic deserves immediate international attention. Despite UN peacekeeping forces maintaining a presence in the CAR since late 2014, the situation has continued to deteriorate, and the ramifications of the civil war are only mounting. Muslims, who represent a minority of CAR’s population, have been the victims of numerous ethnic cleansing campaigns over the past few years carried out by Christians in response to a Muslim-backed overthrow of CAR’s government in 2013. While the CAR has elected a new President, he faces a seriously divided nation that many international sources still consider a war zone. With allegations and confirmation of numerous instances of UN peacekeeper and international military force sexual assault, the Security Council must consider the future of the UN’s involvement and how best to help the new government resolve the ethnic violence problem that still haunts the country.

Topic B: The India-Pakistan Conflict

The conflict between India and Pakistan, which originated from tensions between Hindus and Muslims, is a problem that has been unresolved for too long. What began as more direct confrontation between the militaries of both states has converted into a subtler, yet still dangerous, forms of conflict and aggression. Both of the states, in response to one another, have built up nuclear arsenals. Both states have been caught conducting covert intelligence operations in each other's territories. But apart from militarily skirmishes in the coveted Kashmir territory and covert operations on each other’s soil, the two countries have almost always refused to cooperate in international politics, failing to come to agreements and working against one another in a multitude of international forums. With all of this in mind and with international tensions at a peak in recent years, the Security Council must face the potential possibility of intervention or conflict mediation between the two states before escalation leads to war or nuclear disaster.