French National Convention, 1792
Welcome to the French National Convention, 1792. The Tuileries Palace has just been stormed, causing, de facto, the fall of the French monarchy. Born out of the ashes of this “Great Insurrection”, your assembly is the first revolutionary government—not to mention the first government organized as a republic—which France has ever seen. Together as members of this assembly, you must stabilize a country in chaos from the bitter division between the Girondins and the Montagnards, a country plagued by political machinations and internal betrayals, and a country which has just lost the monarchical system which had dominated it for more than a millennium. You will be tackling topics ranging from the debate on whether or not to execute King Louis XVI to nation-building in the face of a deadly famine to the de-Christianization of society to external threats of war against France. And, behind the scenes, who knows what else you will be up to… Get ready for a week-end of debate, of stories and of time-traveling as we delve into the fascinating universe of Paris, 1792, a universe of politicians getting murdered in bathtubs, guillotining childhood friends and ultimately changing the fates of an entire continent.
Welcome to HNMUN 2019—and to a committee which I hope will make your experience an unforgettable one! My name is Youmna Chamieh and I could not be more excited to serve as your director for the French National Convention, 1792. The period of French history which you will be immersed in is one of burgeoning Enlightenment ideas, one of bitter division, one of unprecedented ideological innovations, and one of unthinkable betrayal all at once. Unsurprisingly, it has therefore elicited fascination and inspired works of art in realms ranging from cinematography to tapestry to literature. As a French citizen myself, it is certainly a period of history which fascinated me throughout the time that it was taught to me in school. Aside from how rich its history is though, what I love most about France is that it is a country which deeply values pleasure both in the form of cultural pursuits and simply pure fun. Despite how much I love Paris, my adaptation to the US in coming here to study has thankfully not been too hard, as I have found that Parisians and college students share one very important thing in common: a love of complaining.
While I have lived in Paris my whole life, however, my parents are both Lebanese immigrants who fled from the Civil War in their early twenties and arrived to France as asylum-seekers hoping for a chance at a viable future. Lebanese culture, aside from making me learn the true meaning of good cuisine and giving truth to the saying that "no" means "ask grandma", has most importantly raised me in an environment of large and frequent family dinners and equally large and frequent displays of affection. I think of my two sisters as my best friends, and cherish the fact family is the most important part of my life. Aside from this, though, the fact that the Lebanese Civil War is such a central piece of my family history has shaped my values perhaps more than anything else has, and it has made resilience, integrity and compassion three of the qualities I strive to possess the most and look for in friends above all else. (Though an appreciation of memes doesn't hurt either). In addition to this, on a very concrete level, my parents' stories of wartime Lebanon, their beginnings as asylum-seekers fleeing to a foreign country and their experiences with discrimination and prejudice in that country are at the root of my dream to be a human rights lawyer someday.
On a smaller scale these things are also a big reason why I became so involved in Model United Nations, an activity which I have always viewed as an opportunity both to truly delve into the meaning of international understanding, and to actively develop ideas with passion and optimism. I was very involved in MUN both in high school, where I presided over my school's MUN team and competed and at various conferences, and in college, where I have staffed both HMUN and HNMUN, am an active member of the MUN traveling team, and am a part of the Secretariat for WorldMUN. Despite all of this, I know that MUN can sometimes be quite a destructive rather than constructive activity. This runs precisely counter to my vision of MUN and to what I believe makes for a memorable learning experience, and I am sure that as delegates you will ensure that MUN remains the academically and personally enriching experience it truly has the potential to be.
Outside of MUN, I tutor younger students about international relations, sing in an a cappella group, read literature whenever I can, and am an ardent fan of Game of Thrones, Black Mirror and Westworld. I am planning on majoring in Government with a secondary either in English, or in Moral and Political Philosophy, or in Economics. A few fun facts about me are that: (1) I don't really like dogs that much, something which has killed quite a few friendships, (2) I eat my yoghurt with salt (and sometimes with cucumbers), as does the rest of my entire family, and (3) I hope to travel as much as possible in my lifetime.
That being said, I don't consider travel to be limited to physical movement alone. Listening to a moving poem, dancing to a powerful song or watching a poignant movie scene has the power, in my opinion, to bring people into a whole other universe. And I genuinely believe that substantively excellent discussion, paired with fast-paced crises and a commitment to truly delving into the role-playing of this committee, is also one of those things that can delve us all into another world—in this case, the enthralling and century-defining world of France in 1792. Thus, I hope that I can make the French National Convention a phenomenal traveling experience and am confident that all of you, by bringing your passion, knowledgeability, dedication, resourcefulness and creativity, will help make this intellectual voyage a reality at conference.
Until then, please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or concerns. I am always available as a resource and am happy to help. As we say in French: A bientôt!
Director, French National Convention 1792
Harvard National Model United Nations 2019
Crisis Director's Letter
Welcome to HNMUN! My name is Frankie Hill and I will be serving as your Crisis Director for France’s National Convention, 1792.
I am incredibly excited for this topic. I expect the best and brightest delegates on the circuit to come together, debate, butt heads, and finally, compromise. This experience will be fast paced, intense, and bloody. Revolutions always are.
I am a Senior at Harvard, studying Government with a citation in Spanish. I’m originally from Western Michigan, home of Silver Lake Sand Dunes and the National Asparagus Festival. In my free time, I enjoy overanalyzing the political climate of fictional movie universes, writing poems, telling stories, and listening to 1960s protest folk.
Along with HNMUN, I also staff Harvard’s High School Conference (HMUN), our On-Campus Conference (MSC), and travel on our Competing MUN Team (ICMUN). Two summers ago, I also taught Model UN at Best Delegate’s Model UN Institute and, in general, I spend far too much time simulating international diplomatic crises.
I’m very excited to be working with Youmna this year to bring you to 18th Century France. This year, we will be exploring themes of Legitimacy, State Building, and, of course, Revolution. As your Crisis Director, I hope to push you to your limits.
I can’t wait to meet you all at HNMUN 2018. Please save France, so Youmna will be happy.
And Remember: The Guillotine cannot behead your ideals.
Crisis Director,French National Convention, 1792
Harvard National Model United Nations 2019