National Assembly of Singapore, 1955
In 1955, the National Assembly of Singapore is the first legitimate form of elected government on the island. Though Singapore remains formally a British colony, it is closer to sovereignty than ever before. In a partial concession, Britain has granted Singapore a limited degree of self-rule through the establishment of this Assembly, which replaces previous iterations of a Legislative Council that was largely appointed. However, the British has retained control over internal security and foreign affairs, and preserved veto power over legislation.
The political fate of Singapore will be decided by the delegates of this Assembly. As it struggles to transition to full self-governance, Singapore will face threats of foreign aggression and domestic insurgency. While navigating tense international relationships with foreign powers and surrounding states, the Assembly will have to confront the problems of a fractured postwar society. Anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments are on the rise, while various ethnic and racial groups are increasingly segregated and agitated by their lack of political representation. Unemployment is sky-high, workers are dissatisfied, and there are growing class tensions. Against a backdrop of domestic disorder and nebulous political threats, the National Assembly will have to unite a divided people and establish the place of a small island on the international stage. Will delegates succeed in uniting a nation?
It is my honor to welcome you to the National Assembly of Singapore, 1955, at Harvard National Model United Nations 2020.
My name is Cathy Sun, and I will be serving as your Director. I am currently a sophomore at Harvard College, concentrating in Social Studies with a possible secondary in Philosophy. I was born in Singapore and lived there for the first twelve years of my life (some of the best years, quite honestly). I have also lived in Shenzhen, China and Irvine, California. I began my foray into Model UN at my high school in California and fell in love with the activity and the people I connected with. It was no surprise that I was immediately drawn to the Model UN community at Harvard when I first arrived. Since then, I have become irreversibly invested in this community, which has crucially shaped my college experience thus far. I loved staffing both HNMUN and HMUN, our sister conference for high school students, last year, as well as being a member of our competitive travel team, ICMUN.
I am incredibly excited to bring to you a committee that combines many of my academic interests—including democratic governance and international diplomacy—with my cultural identity, which has been heavily shaped by my experiences growing up in Singapore. This committee is placed at a critical point in history—when Singapore was a British colony at the cusp of achieving sovereignty, and simultaneously an unstable society transitioning out of war. Through exploring this particular topic, I hope you deepen your understanding of the complex struggles of a historically marginalized country in its effort achieve self-determination and economic stability. Beyond that, I hope you will come to view international relations with a more nuanced lens—more critically considering the pervasive effects of historical structures of power, the delicate nature of acquiring and maintaining democratic legitimacy, as well as the intricate intersections of cultural, racial, and linguistic identities.
Along with the committee’s Crisis Director, Matthew Miller, I seek to bring you a dynamic, challenging committee that enriches your learning and sharpens your Model UN skills. As you navigate barriers to advance personal interests, keep in mind the larger picture of achieving freedom and political legitimacy for the people you all represent. At the heart of all committees is the importance of diplomacy and collaboration, as both Matt and I are firmly committed to a committee experience that is equally productive and open to all, regardless of background or identity.
At the end of the day, I hope you leave the committee better equipped to navigate a diverse and dynamic world that demands a generation of critical, thoughtful, and sympathetic leaders to address issues of political sovereignty, economic codependency, and peaceful pluralism.
Director, National Assembly of Singapore, 1955
Harvard National Model United Nations 2020
Crisis Director's Letter
Welcome to HNMUN 2020! My name is Matthew Miller, and I could not be more excited to serve as your Crisis Director. In this fast-paced committee, we will simulate pressing situations related to independence, self-determination, and national sovereignty as they arose in this pivotal year in Singaporean history. As Crisis Director, I will be throwing countless challenges your way that Singaporean leaders debated when deciding how to form a strong nation.
Here is a bit about myself. I was born in Chicago and moved to Deerfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, at the age of two. I was fortunate enough to learn Spanish and have tried to take the gift of this language with me around the world. I spent two summers teaching English, computer literacy, and elementary school classes in the Dominican Republic and one summer in León, Spain, taking history classes. I became involved in Model UN during my sophomore year of high school after a friend told me to apply about 45 minutes before the application deadline. Last year, I directed the Historical Security Council, 1979, at HMUN and HMUN China, our sister conferences for high school students in Boston and Beijing, respectively. I also served as Crisis Director in La Transición: Spain after Franco for HNMUN 2019. In the spring of my first year, I joined the traveling Model UN team, which has been amazing. In addition to Model UN, I also chair the Harvard Political Union, work as a tour guide, and play Intramural sports like soccer and tennis. I am studying Applied Math with a focus in Psychology, and a minor in Spanish.
In this committee, we will be navigating a turbulent, uncertain, and pivotal time in this country’s history. The larger questions that I hope to raise through the crises you face and the decisions you make in committee will address larger ideas of national independence and state-building.
I am incredibly excited to hear your ideas. This committee will be a welcoming committee with no discrimination for any delegates; all delegates should feel comfortable expressing their ideas and ideals. Finally, if you ever have any questions about this committee, please do not hesitate to reach out!
Crisis Director, The National Assembly of Singapore, 1955