Welcome to Spain, 1975. Since a brutal civil war 36 years ago, Spain had been under the control of Franco, a fascist dictator. Franco, however, has just died. His death marks the beginning of a tumultuous time in Spanish history. This is La Transición. In this committee, you will simulate a special summit to advise Franco’s heir: the newly crowned Rey Juan Carlos. You will represent the Fascist party, exiled communists and socialists, religious leaders, and military men. Together, you must stabilize a country that has lost a feared leader and has no clear succession. Creating a state in the modern era means navigating the pressures of an increasingly interconnected world, and while doing so Spain will need to manage separatist movements, exiles, a stagnating economy, and more. Prepare for a weekend of party politics, coups, and crafting a system of governance to fundamentally shape the future of a nation.
Welcome officially to HNMUN 2019, and to the committee that will hopefully make this conference one to remember. My name is Emilia Cabrera, and as your director in La Transición I hope to challenge your negotiation abilities, your knowledge of governments and governance, and most of all your creativity, as you embark on this journey to create a brand-new state out of the ashes of a fallen dictator.
First, a bit about myself. I was born in Madrid, Spain to a Spanish father and Alabaman mother. Though I moved to the states when I was 5, I’ve returned to Spain every year to see my family, and still consider it to be home. I lived in Arizona for a few years, and then moved to Northern Virginia for high school. There I got my first taste of Model UN, and I fell in love with the diverse and international community that I had been largely missing since moving to the United States. Now, I keep this interest in international relations by staffing HNMUN, competing on Harvard’s collegiate Model UN team, and working on the technology board for the Harvard International Review.
Beyond my IR interests, I’m a sophomore at Harvard studying computer science with a secondary in economics and an interest in the intersection of psychology and neuro with computer science. This has led me to become a member of Harvard’s Women in Computer Science and also to be a teaching fellow for an intro CS course. In my free time, when there is any, I love exploring new places to eat, getting out of the city to hike, and finding warm places to nap.
This committee holds a special place in my heart, as I’ve spent many family dinner conversations listening to the personal stories tied to this history. With the recent governmental crises in Spain, it’s important to remember the extraordinary origins of the democratic system Spain now has, which is where this committee begins. My family, like most Spanish families, have histories tied to the civil war and Franco. My great grandfather fought for the Republic, and my great uncle was imprisoned for it. One generation later, my grandparents, born and raised in the time of Franco, tend to lean towards the side of the fascists, although my father is convinced it’s due to the propaganda from their childhood. My father was 8 when Franco died, and he grew up in the explosion of culture, personal freedoms, and democratic governance that followed from La Transición.
Now you will get a chance to be one of the leaders in Spain at turning point in its history. You will have to navigate the nuances of forming government in the modern era, with all the pressures that come with growing international collaboration, stagnant economies, and a power vacuum. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, and I can’t wait to meet you all in February.
Director, La Transición 1975
Harvard National Model United Nations 2019
Crisis Director's Letter
Welcome to HNMUN 2019! My name is Matthew Miller, and I could not be more excited to serve as your Crisis Director for La Transición: Spain after Franco. In this fast-paced committee, we will simulate what it’s like to rebuild a nation in the wake of a brutal dictator. As Crisis Director, I will be throwing countless challenges your way that Spain’s provisional leaders either faced or could have easily faced during their quest to forge a new nation.
Before I talk more about the committee, I want to introduce myself. I was born in Chicago and moved to Deerfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, at the age of two (most definitely my prime). I grew up with a Guatemalan caretaker who has taught me Spanish for the past eighteen years. I’ve tried to take the gift of this language with me around the world. I spent the past two summers teaching English, computer literacy, and elementary school classes in the Dominican Republic. I’ve built houses in Costa Rica. Most recently, and perhaps most relevant to this committee, I spent my past summer in León, Spain, taking classes on the socioeconomic and political history of Spain since the Franco dictatorship.
I became involved in Model UN during my sophomore year of high school after a friend told me to apply for the team about 45 minutes before the application deadline. Though my procrastinative habits haven’t changed, my life otherwise has changed since joining. I loved the challenge of representing positions that often contradicted my personal convictions, the exposure to new philosophies on international relations, and the opportunity to debate with and meet other delegates facing these same challenges. Last year, I served as an Assistant Director in Johnson’s Cabinet and SOCHUM at HMUN and HNMUN, respectively. This past spring, I also joined the travelling Model UN team at Harvard, which has been a wonderful experience.
In addition to Model UN, I also direct communications for the Harvard Political Union, work as a tour guide, and play several Intramural sports to stay in shape including soccer, basketball, flag football, volleyball, tennis, and yes, even ping pong. Academically, I still have not yet decided my major, but I know that I want to minor in Computer Science and Spanish. In the end, I will likely end up combining a STEM field with a humanities field for a double major.
This committee is new to HNMUN; it has never been simulated before at this conference. We will be navigating a turbulent, uncertain, and pivotal time in Spanish history. The larger questions that I hope to raise through the crises you face and the decisions you make in your notes to the crisis team are questions of nation building: how can order be established after the fall of a nearly forty-year dictatorship? How did Spain miraculously transition to democracy after an oppressive regime? We will live these challenges as we chart a path forward for Spain.
I am incredibly excited to see each of your ideas. Finally, if you ever have any questions about this committee, please do not hesitate to reach out!
Crisis Director, La Transición 1975
Harvard National Model United Nations 2019