The Culper Ring, 1778

No other US covert operation was kept a secret longer than the Culper Ring. Formed in 1778 during the American Revolution, this spy ring was led by Benjamin Tallmadge with direct orders from George Washington himself. The ring foiled countless plans of the British army, communicated across all thirteen colonies, and left an indelible mark on the course of the war. Despite these successes, the Ring’s existence remained a secret until the 1930’s. How did they achieve such a feat?

Delegates of The Culper Ring, 1778 will have to battle to defeat the British monarchy and remain free from foreign rule. They will discover attacks before they occur, reveal traitors, and gather crucial intelligence, all while under the cover of absolute secrecy. How will delegates manage to gather and send information without causing suspicion? Will they be able to expose British plans before the Revolution fails? Who can the spies trust? Working as a catalyst toward the end of the war, the Culper Ring will face decisions that will help found a new nation.


Director's Letter

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Dear Delegates,

Hello all! Welcome to Harvard National Model United Nations 2020 (HNMUN)! My name is Cat Hyeon, and I will be serving as your director of the Culper Ring, 1778. I’m so excited to share this experience with you all as I think this unique committee will be extremely interesting and substantive.

I am currently a sophomore at Harvard College, but I’m originally from Sandy Hook, CT, so I’ve spent my whole life in New England. And though I will admit that it gets a little too cold in the winters, I love being from the East Coast (I’m an avid fan of everything that has to do with New England autumns.) For high school, I attended a small boarding school in Windsor, CT called Loomis Chaffee. My many international friends there have informed my love of international relations at Harvard.

While I did some Model UN in high school, it wasn’t until I staffed HNMUN and HMUN (our sister conference for high school students) last year that I realized my true love of this activity. I love MUN because I enjoy learning about global issues through other people, both from delegates and from other staffers.These organizations and the people I have met truly make up a community that cares, and I have enjoyed every moment with HNMUN.

Outside of MUN, I am a designer and writer for the Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. I also love to play guitar and sing (and I’m always looking for good music recommendations). Though I love learning about international relations, I also love STEM fields and I’m planning on studying Applied Mathematics with Computer Science.

The Culper Ring 1778 is going to be an extremely exciting committee at HNMUN, as you will be solving the very complex issues that came up during the American Revolution. Serving as members of George Washington’s spy ring, you will have to discuss issues of discovering traitors, maintaining secrecy, and helping to win the war. There are many advantages to acting as a spy ring and as such, it is important to remember that you must work together to solve issues and utilize historical elements when doing so. The Culper Ring was truly an amazing and interesting covert group. They did change the course of the American Revolution and therefore, should be taken seriously. This committee will deal with complicated, difficult substantive issues, so I expect you all to come prepared.

I am extremely excited to welcome you all to this committee! I hope that all of you are just as excited to participate in what will objectively be the best committee at conference as I am. I also want to emphasize that this committee as well as the conference as a whole is accepting of all races, genders, religions and sexual orientations and will be a place for all people to feel welcome. Please let me know if you have any question whatsoever, and see you at conference!


Cat Hyeon
Director, The Culper Ring, 1778





Crisis Director's Letter

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Dear Delegates,

My name is Sam Throm, and I will be serving as your Crisis Director for The Culper Ring, 1778. 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. As my last HNMUN, I can’t wait to experience this unique committee with you all!

I’m originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, although my interests have always been on what lies beyond the long midwestern horizon. I am a senior at Harvard studying Government and French, and I have always been interested in international relations and diplomacy. The Harvard International Relations Council has become my home on campus, where I participate in both HNMUN and our sister conference for high school students, HMUN, while competing in Harvard’s travel Model UN team. I also teach international relations topics with the Harvard Program in International Education and remain an active member of the Harvard Political Union, the oldest debate union in the country. After college, I’ve considered working for my US Congressional Representative (go IA-3!) or something with a broader field, including the US Peace Corps or 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. Washington’s spy ring was one of the best in the world, and to this day some members were so effective that their true identities and activities remain unknown! While I do appreciate any and all creative crisis plans, delegates must always be aware of the cultural context and implications of their plans, especially as we engage with important historical debates of independence and life under occupation.

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. Diversity is one of the best drivers for new ideas and discussions, and I truly believe that nothing offers the level of engagement with people with vastly different backgrounds as Model UN. That said, it’s important to emphasize that this committee welcomes all, regardless of who they are. The more people and places a spy ring knows the better it operates, after all!

With everything from treason to prison ships and a healthy dose of subterfuge, this committee is bound to test your mettle and knowledge. The real Culper Ring was so good their existence wasn’t discovered until the 1930’s. Can you survive the brutal British occupation of New York, but also aid the American war effort and ensure General Washington’s victory? Good luck, delegates, and see you at HNMUN 2020!


Sam Throm
Crisis Director, Culper Ring, 1778