The Stanford Model United Nations Conference is the premier conference for high school students in the Silicon Valley Area. Hosted by the Society for International Affairs at Stanford, a Stanford University student group, SMUNC is an opportunity for high school students to gain valuable debate, negotiation and public speaking skills while learning about international affairs and global issues. To get conference updates and information, subscribe to our mailing list.
100 staff members
Early Registration: deadline July 1. $80 per delegation, $70 per delegate (includes fee)
Regular Registration: deadline September 1. $90 per delegation, $86 per delegate (includes fee)
Position Papers Due: midnight, November 3
SMUNC: November 11-13, 2016
SMUNC has negotiated reduced rates at the Sheraton Palo Alto and the Westin Palo Alto. Each delegation should email their booking requests to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Model UN Hotel Reservation Request.” The email should contain a list of each guests’ first and last names, and your arrival and departure dates. If you have any problems, please email email@example.com.
Sheraton Palo Alto
Traditional King rooms or rooms with two double beds
Thursday rate: $319.00 + taxes
Friday and Saturday rate: $139.00 + taxes
Westin Palo Alto
Traditional King rooms or rooms with two double beds
Thursday rate: $389.00 + taxes
Friday and Saturday rate: $179.00 + taxes
Marguerite shuttles will take students from this hotel to the Stanford Oval. The specific shuttle times of departures will be made available at a later time.
Last year's delegate handbook is available to download here along with last year's Delegate Code of Conduct. The handbook will be updated in the following month; however, it will be very similar to SMUNC 2015's.
As Stanford’s motto “the winds of freedom blow” illustrates, we believe that the freedom to discuss politics and international relations is crucial to maintaining an open and pluralistic society. Therefore, many of our committees will tackle many sensitive issues head on.
However, SMUNC is dedicated to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all students. If any delegates feel uncomfortable with any issue in committee, they should notify their Chair and/or the Secretariat. We will work to resolve the issue and may involve advisors or the Stanford administrator at SAL.
Position papers for all committees are due at midnight on November 3. Delegates should email their position papers as a PDF directly to their chair and include their committee name, delegation name, and their committee position.
Delegates are required to write position papers in order to be eligible for awards. Late position papers will be accepted, however may detract from a delegate’s overall committee score. SMUNC prefers delegates to submit a position paper late than none at all.
Located in Silicon Valley, Stanford believes in the positive power of technology. Therefore, laptops will be allowed in GA committees. However, chairs reserve the right to ban laptops at any time if they feel they are disruptive to committee. Due to the pace of crisis committees, laptops will not be allowed to write committee notes or directives. However, if delegates wish to conduct further research during committee, they may use their laptops or phones at the discretion of the chair.
If you do not have access to a laptop that you can bring to the conference, please email us at least two weeks prior to SMUNC and we will arrange for a computer you can use for the duration of the conference at no cost.
For questions about conference logistics, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about registration and payment process, please contact the Stanford Ticket Office directly.
SMUNC is run by the Society for International Affairs at Stanford, a recognized University student organization. You can find the contact information of the Associate Dean & Director of Student Activities and Leadership on the SAL website.
Chair: Ben Chao
The United States National Security Council is the principal forum through which the President of the United States addresses pressing national security and foreign policy issues. The NSC is composed of both senior White House officials and Cabinet members, which means that delegates will represent both the interests of their characters and the institutions they represent. Because they possess both roles, delegates will have to navigate the intricacies of bureaucratic politics and inter-agency competition, even as they attempt to address some of the world's most complex issues. Delegates will thus be playing a two-level game that requires simultaneous mastery of intra-committee politics and cooperation on extra-committee issues.
This committee will emphasize substantive knowledge of the issues, careful drafting of various plans of action that shall serve as United States policy, and meticulous analysis and vigorous debate of the merits of those plans. This is meant to be a very high-level committee.
Chair: Julien Brinson
The Italian Renaissance was in full bloom during the 15th Century. Renaissance Italy looked very different from how we know it today: Italy as a unified country did not come into existence until 1861 with the Kingdom of Italy. The Renaissance was a time of emerging republics, despotic regimes, and Ecclesiastical principalities. What we now know as Italy was comprised of five major powers: Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples and Rome. Although this committee is called the Italic League, these differing entities worked together far fewer times than they fought. The wars they fought were unlike any seen before, as the Renaissance saw the introduction of revolutionary technology that defined European warfare for centuries to come.
This historical committee shall explore the turbulent political affairs during the Italian Renaissance. Delegates in this historical committee will represent leading members from each of the five major powers in Italy at the time. Delegates will have to manage disputes and rivalries within the committee as well as react to outside threats.
Chair: Hana Kapasi
Alexander the Great’s War Council will start in 333 BC, a critical time for the expansion of the Macedonian Empire as War Council deliberates Alexander’s potential conquest of Persia. The council of advisors is to guide Alexander the Great through his goal of the conquest of Asia, beginning with an invasion of India. Each delegate enters with expertise in a subject, ranging from philosophy to military tactics to diplomacy. Together, delegates will be able to direct Alexander in creating the largest land empire hitherto seen in history.
The focus of the committee will be centered around the conquest of Persia, Egypt, and India, along with the management of the empire as it grows in size. Delegates will be able to immerse themselves in the time period and understand the political, social, and economic considerations that went into Alexander the Great’s conquests.
Chair: Gabrielle Rhoades
ICOM, The International Council of Museums, is a non-governmental organization (NGO) composed of museum representatives and professionals who are united under the common purpose of preserving and promoting “the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible” throughout society. Since its creation in 1946, which was largely brought about as a result of the mass lootings of cultural property during WWII, ICOM has been closely affiliated with UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) as well as ECOSOC. ICOM has been an invaluable source of consultation for these UN bodies. Today, ICOM is faced with an increasingly dire situation, as many of the world's treasures are being destroyed by global conflict, for example the destruction of ancient artifacts by ISIS in Syria.
As the first crisis committee of its kind at SMUNC, the ICOM Executive Council will allow delegates to get in touch with their creative sides as they endeavor to break past the barriers of convention in order to find solutions to society’s problems. Never fear, ICOM bears no resemblance to the average field trip to your local museum, nor is it responsible for the mundane workings of museum life. We leave the arranging and cleaning of museum exhibits to the curators and museum staff; ours are tasks of a much greater magnitude. Hunting down and breaking up black market art dealing rings with the aid of central intelligence agencies, working with the law to restore a country’s rightful heritage, brokering peaceful relations between nations, and ensuring that the world is never bereft of its memories—these are all feats the ICOM Executive Council accomplishes daily, and these are the kinds of tasks that await you.
Chair: Matt Wigler
Ukraine is in crisis. A grinding civil war with pro-Russian separatists drudges on in the East, while Putin has anchored Russia in the annexed Crimean peninsula. Under such intense pressures, the Ukrainian economy is tanking, shrinking more and more each year. Attempts to woo the West into adopting a more supportive role of the struggling democracy have been met with only lackluster results. Disappointment smothers the nation as corruption runs rampant, political rifts widen, and a crisis of leadership deters the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament, from meeting the difficult—perhaps intractable—challenges facing modern Ukraine.
In this simulation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, (alternatively known as the CabMin, or simply, The Cabinet), delegates will take on the task of leading Ukraine through its precarious present. Pro-Europe President Petro Poroshenko will preside over an enlarged CabMin, expanded to include key members of opposition parties from the Verkhovna Rada. As delegates face off against Putin’s expansionist Russia, separatists in the East, and a tanking economy, they will also have the opportunity to interact with representatives of the West. Yet, the biggest challenge of all might just be working together, as Ukraine works to overcome and heal the growing rifts in Ukrainian politics. For a country whose name means “borderland,” Ukraine now finds itself on one of its history’s most dire frontiers.
Chair: Brian Fleischer
While Europe was experiencing its Dark Ages, a period of intellectual, cultural and economic regression from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries, West Africa was experiencing a renaissance after the decline of the Nile Valley civilizations of Egypt and Nubia. The leading civilizations of this West African rebirth were the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Mossi Kingdoms, and the Benin Empire. This committee is composed of these kingdoms, set in the midst of this African Renaissance. Trade is vibrant among these Empires, and a multitude of trade routes are well established. The Malians are newly independent from Songhai. While they themselves do not possess the resources or manpower sufficient enough to carry out all duties of the Empire autonomously, they have recently forged an alliance with Ethiopia to provide stronger backing.
Following the death of Songhai ruler Mansa Sulayman in 1360, disputes over the succession weakened both the Songhai and Mali Empire. His nephew, Maria Djata, has just been crowned Emperor of Songhai after a vacancy of over ten years. However, King Reidja Akba of Ghana, realizing the bad financial state of Songhai since the death of Mansa Sulayman, wants the throne for himself, as do Maria Djata’s former competitors who failed in their pursuit of the throne. Ghana seeks the support of Benin and the Mossi under the pretext of unifying against the expanding power of the Ethiopian Empire from the east, forming a frail alliance to oppose the Malians and Ethiopia. The Songhai Empire remains in tenuous control of trade in much of Northern and Western Africa, but under a new emperor, this stability is in question. Each king wants to create a united African Empire, but is the dream even attainable?
Chairs: Elliot Shi and James Underwood
Room: 50-51p (Spanish), 50-52H (Katipunan)
A secretive organization, known as Katipunan, has begun to take hold in the Philippines under the strong leadership of Andrés Bonifacio. Their mission: liberation from the Spaniards, freedom from the colonial grasp. Unrest has been brewing as this party has gained legitimacy and attracted the notice of the Spanish government. Ever since opening to the world, the Philippines have been gradually realizing a desire for independence and self-determination, This long-building revolutionary spirit seems near its tipping point.
Delegates in this Joint Crisis Committee will represent members of Katipunan or Spanish dignitaries, tasked with determining the fate of the Philippines. Members of the Katipunan must rely on grassroots tactics and a unified ideological strategy to rally the people against an oppressive Spanish regime, while representatives from Spain must use their long established power and authority to stamp out the flame of this rebel group before it creates a fire too large to extinguish. As tensions run high, will there be a peaceful agreement to prevent an outbreak of violent conflict? Or will there be war?
Chair: Tumisang Ramarea
Faced with such issues as high unemployment, high HIV prevalence rates, and a system that under-represents their interests, the youth of South Africa have had enough. This special committee has been established to create a multi-sectoral platform to discuss how the needs of young people can be met. Although this might seem like a straightforward objective, the setting of this committee makes it more complicated, as delegates must consider both the preservation of traditions that have been around for generations and the adaptation of society to the present times.
This committee will have representatives of different tribal administrations from all over South Africa, members of the youth leagues of major South African political parties (including the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance, and the Economic Freedom Fighters). The Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and other organizations will also be represented to capture the significant role they play in the national affairs of South Africa. The aim of the committee is to come up with a set of recommendations to South African legislators for addressing the issues pressing the youth. Will there be enough compromise between the various stakeholders to reach an agreement, or will the committee's work be in vain?
Chair: Mansi Jain
The committee seeks to investigate one of the most critical challenges confronting international security in the near future. The effects of climate change in regions of conflict hold the potential to be disastrous. Changes in the availability of resources like water and fertile land threaten to degrade conflicts, while existing conflicts prevent collaboration to install measures to effectively adapt to climate change, worsening its effects and creating a vicious cycle. In South Asia, where the common water supply of three nuclear powers (India, Pakistan, and China) from the Tibetan Plateau may be affected by conflict along with fisheries, floods, and droughts, climate change could trigger widespread destruction.
At SMUNC 2016, delegates will receive the opportunity to be pioneers in discussing and solving an issue that could alter the face of international relations but remains largely unexplored. The complexity of the issue, from dealing with climate change and water resources to disaster management and existing conflicts in Kashmir and Aksai Chin, necessitates thoughtful debate. The livelihoods of millions of people are at stake, and it is up to the delegates of this committee to create solutions to combat the literal and figurative rising tide of climate change.
Chair: Frank Lou
The Sixth Committee of the General Assembly (the Legal Committee) deals with issues concerning international laws and their enforcement. For this conference, the Legal Committee will tackle two problems facing the world today: Maritime claims in the South China Sea, and and the legal status of refugees during and after a conflict. The South China Sea is one of the world's richest maritime areas. It is the second highest trafficked region of the oceans, it possesses vast quantities of oil and natural gas, and it boasts a tremendous amount of biodiversity. A multitude of competing claims in the region will force delegates to determine which claims (if any) are legitimate, and how to protect and responsibly use this critical region of the world.
The status of conflict refugees is as contentious as it is old. Disputes over the responsibility for refugees, the administration of their care and aid, and the legal status of refugees have existed for centuries, dating back to religious wars of the 17th century. Yet three centuries later, no definitive solution exists. Delegates will consider how exactly modern refugee crises can be solved, and what frameworks can be established to assist in future conflicts.
Chair: Aviva Meyers
The Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), is the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. The committee deals with issues surrounding international security, disarmament, and threats to peace affecting the international community. This year DISEC will focus on two topics: 1) Illicit Small Arms Trade and 2) Infiltration of ISIS in Refugee Programs. In the first topic, Illicit Small Arms Trade, we see massive exports of small arms and light weapons from the United States and European nations, with drastic consequences both for these countries and for the developing world. Small arms proliferation in Africa and other conflict-ridden regions has escalated the violence of rebels, mercenary groups, and armed gangs in these areas. DISEC must find measures to curb small arms trade and reduce violence against civilians and peacekeepers.
The second topic, Improving the Safety of Middle Eastern Refugee Camps, is a pressing issue given the flood of refugees fleeing ISIS’s presence in Syria and Iraq in the last few years. How should DISEC address such dangers as armed group raids, military offensives, and ISIS attacks that threaten the “safe zones” of these refugees?
Chairs: Jackie Osaki
The World Energy Forum will bring nations and corporations together to discuss alternative forms of energy and the relationship between the private and public sectors. With advances in technology that make wind, solar, biofuel, geothermal, and hydroelectric power possible on larger scales, we can finally consider switching over to these renewable, alternative energy sources. However, many countries cannot afford to create infrastructure for these forms of energy or have industrializing economies based on the production of fossil fuels. There are some areas which can naturally adopt alternative energy sources from their geographical surroundings, whereas some areas will need more creative solutions. When considering the issue of renewable energy sources, it is important to keep both environmental and economic factors in mind to come up with feasible solutions. This first topic will focus more on what kind of energy resources will be implemented in different nations and who will be involved with the implementation.
The second topic will focus more specifically on the interactions between corporations and governments, getting to how the measures from the first topic will be carried out. With so many privately owned companies that have a stake in the manufacture and sale of various energy sources, it is necessary to consider how corporations and the government will cooperate in adopting forms of energy. Will there be collaboration between government and corporations or will there be division and conflict over who has control? These are important questions to consider to solve the logistics of putting alternative energy sources in place.
Chairs: Brett Parker
This committee will be a GA simulation of the 111th U.S Senate, which lasted from 2009-2010. The 111th Senate was more productive than any that has come since; it passed the Affordable Care Act, the Stimulus Package, the Auto Bailout, and Dodd-Frank, while also repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. As such, it provides extremely fertile ground for a general assembly committee.
This committee will cover two topics: the financial crisis that started in 2008, and the major health care reform that President Obama sought to pass. Three-fifths of the students will be assigned Democratic Senators, while two-fifths will be assigned Republican Senators, allowing the committee to mimic the balance of power that actually prevailed in the Senate at that time. Positions will include liberal Democrats such as Chuck Schumer; independents caucusing with the Democrats, such as Joe Lieberman; conservative Democrats, such as Max Baucus and Ben Nelson; moderate Republicans, such as Olympia Snow and Chuck Grassley; and conservative Republicans, such as Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby.
Chair: Sona Allahverdiyeva
The Syrian conflict, inspired by the series of uprisings commonly referred to as the Arab Spring in 2011, has been plaguing the Middle East for years. The rebellions, an outcome of the nation’s disagreement with those ruling the country, were handled with little grace and reason by the government. The state has demonstrated a lack of ability to handle internal crises, placing the burden of negative externalities of unrest in the country on bordering nations and the entire region. The Arab League recognizes the undesirable effects of this conflict on Syria as well as other member states in the region.
The Syrian conflict does not exist in isolation – the echoes of the uprisings are felt in other countries. Some of these echoes include the increased flow of Syrian refugees seeking safety and the cross-border trade of weapons. One of the major focuses of this committee will be exerting control of international trafficking of all forms. In light of the recent uprisings, the conflict in Syria, and the likelihood of such events occurring in the future, this committee will aim to develop a strategic approach to dealing with this and future such occurrences.
Chair: Blessing Edem
The UN Women aims to aid inter-governmental bodies in their efforts to formulate norms, policies, and standards that promote gender equality and accountability. The organization aims to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, empower women, and achieve gender equality in the partnership of human rights, development, humanitarian action, and peace and security. Different divisions that focus on the fight for gender equality include: Division for the Advancement of Women, International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
The committee will focus on two topics: the education of girls in sub-Saharan Africa and economic empowerment of women. For the two topics, the committee will delve into the education efforts administered to the women in this region and the standards in place for their economic freedom. Having education remains the utmost important goal in the promotion for gender equality. The main questions delegates will discuss in this committee are how to best empower women in this region through economic and educational initiatives.
SMUNC has hired a shuttle to transport delegates and advisors between the Stanford Oval and the Sheraton Hotel. The shuttle will run during the assigned times.
Friday, November 11
Committee Session #1
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Advisor Meeting #1
10:00pm – 12:15am
Saturday, November 12
8:00am – 9:30 am
Committee Session #2
9:30am to 12:00pm
Committee Session #3
1:45pm – 4:45pm
Advisor Meeting #2
2:30pm – 3:30pm
4:45pm – 6:15pm
Committee Session #4
8:00pm – 12:00am
Sunday, November 13
8:00am – 10:00am
Committee Session #5
10:00am – 12:00pm
Advisor Meeting #3
10:30am – 11:00am
12:45pm – 2:00pm
Sam is a member of the class of 2018 and is currently undeclared. He is a member of Stanford’s Model UN team, which he joined his freshman year. He enjoys reading and playing tennis, and he is also a member of the Stanford Shakespeare Company and The Stanford Daily. Sam is interested in political theory and international relations. In SMUNC 2014, he served as Co-Chair for the War of Roses JCC, and in SMUNC 2015, he served as Directory of Logistics. He has had an amazing experience working for SMUNC is excited to work with the 2016 SMUNC team. He hopes to help ensure that this year's conference is even more fun and intellectually intriguing than last year's.
Sophia Ponte is a junior at Stanford University, and is a prospective major in engineering physics. She has lived abroad for a large part of her life, and has developed an interest in international relations by experiencing a wide spectrum of different cultures through her travels. Her parents raised her with a strong background in mathematics and science, and she is now interested in the intersection of international policy with these fields. Sophia has been involved with Model UN since her debut on her high school’s team during sophomore year, and is looking forward to continue learning about IR by working with the SMUNC 2015 team this year!
Ben Gardner-Gill is a sophomore at Stanford University originally from Mountain View, California. He is planning on majoring in Political Science or History, with interests in twentieth century Eastern Europe, democratization, nationalism, and the politics of language. Outside of class, Ben is involved with the Stanford Model UN Travel Team and has being doing Model UN since he was a freshman in high school. Ben has also been active in competitive debate for many years. In his free time, he likes to spend time with friends and family, discuss politics, watch sports, and eat good food, particularly beef and desserts.
Stone Kalisa is simply overjoyed to be the Under-Secretary General of General Assembly Committees at SMUNC 2016! He is a rising sophomore at Stanford University and a prospective International Relations & Economics double major. After graduation, he hopes to attend law school and practice international and human rights law at a supranational organization or NGO. In the summer of 2016, he will be completing a fellowship and doing research on post-conflict reconciliation in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Stone is also an avid lover of lyrical dance, French existentialism and RuPaul’s Drag Race. National High School Model United Nations Conference and, now, being a member of Stanford’s competition team.
Kendra is a member of the class of 2018 majoring in Political Science. She has been involved in Model United Nations for 6 years, serving as Secretary General for her high school and helping plan their conference. She joined the Stanford Model United Nations Team her freshman year. Kendra is interested in international issues, especially those involving international security. Kendra is excited to be a part of the SMUNC Directorate for 2016-2017 and looks forward to continuing SMUNC’s legacy and bringing the passion she has felt towards MUN to others.
Alexandra Hellman is a member of the class of 2019, majoring in Product Design. She has been actively involved in Model United Nations since sophomore year of high school, and is currently a member of the Stanford Model UN team. This spring and summer, Alexandra will be working on organizing the Stanford US-Russia Forum to help foster relations between Russia and the United States. She hopes that this year's SMUNC will yield constructive debate and creative solutions, as well as a fun learning experience for all.
Kyu Seo is a member of the class of 2019 and is majoring in Computer Science. He is a member of the Stanford MUN travel team. He chaired SMUNC 2015’s Saudi Arabia JCC and is excited to return as director of logistics. Kyu Seo aspires to create positive world change through the use of technology. In his free time, Kyu Seo enjoys writing, debating hypotheticals, playing video games, and traveling.
Divine Edem is a member of the class of 2018 who is planning to major in Political Science with concentrations in International Affairs and Political Development. Born in sunny southern California, she spent her days either playing sports, chilling with friends, or soaking up the California sunshine. At Stanford, she participates in Stanford in Government, the Society for International Affairs, and MINT Magazine. After Stanford, she hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in international law.
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Registration is now open.
This year we are partnering with the Stanford Ticket Office to provide you with an efficient registration and payment system. If you would like to pay by credit card, please click here. If you would like to pay by check, please fill out this form and email it to email@example.com and mail your check to the address below. Your position at SMUNC is not finalized until we have processed your payment. The early, late and regular fees apply in the time period we receive your payment, and not your registration. All payments are final and there are no refunds.
Location: The Stanford Ticket Office. 425 Santa Teresa Street. Stanford, CA 94305-2250. (Located on the 2nd Floor of Tresidder Memorial Union.)
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm.