Harvard International Relations Council

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Harvard International Relations Council
Harvard International Relations Council Logo.jpg
Abbreviation HIRC
Formation 1955 (formally incorporated in 1974)
Type NGO
Purpose Education
  • Cambridge, MA
Official language
Daniel Montoya
Main organ
Board of Directors
Affiliations United Nations Department of Public Information

The Harvard International Relations Council (HIRC) is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of international relations. It is composed as several semi-independent but centrally funded programs, which each promote awareness of international relations in different ways. Those programs are Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN), Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN), the Harvard International Review (HIR), the Harvard Program in International Education (HPIE), Harvard Intercollegiate Model United Nations (ICMUN),Harvard International Relations on Campus (IRoC), and Model Security Council (MSC).

HIRC is the largest student organization at Harvard College. It is a registered 501(c)(3)[1] that is run entirely by undergraduate students, and it is an affiliated non-governmental organization with the United Nations Department of Public Information.[2]

IRC Corporate Officers head critical IRC operations that allow the IRC to fulfill its mission of promoting international education and social impact, to manage its programs in a financially sound and sustainable manner, and to maintain its status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and an accredited NGO with the United Nations Department of Public Information. IRC Corporate Officers are elected by the Board of Directors and hold their corporate position until the election of a new Board of Directors.

Harvard IRC Central Staff[edit]

The IRC Central vice-presidential staff is the internal logistical staff of the IRC, on a whole. Vice presidents report directly to the President of the IRC and carry out the inter-program initiatives proposed by the Board of Directors. The vice presidents are responsible for the behind-the-scenes operations of the IRC.

Harvard Model United Nations[edit]

Harvard Model United Nations.png

Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) is one of the oldest and most prestigious Model United Nations simulations in the world. It was founded in 1953 when the Harvard student group that had been simulating the League of Nations since the 1920s decided to start a new simulation to reflect the new organization that had been established at the end of World War II.[3][4] Every year, students from around the world attend the conference, which is currently held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. The next session of HMUN will be the sixty-fourth session, and it will be held from January 26 to January 29 2017. Due to conference expansion, HMUN 2017 will be the largest conference in its storied history, with over 3300 delegates in attendance. As such, the conference will also hold committee sessions at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.

Like many Model United Nations simulations, HMUN offers committees in four main categories:

A Press Corps and NGO Program are housed in the Specialized Agencies and Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies, respectively.

Delegates represent countries or famous individuals, and must work to solve problems through debate and compromise while still promoting the interests and policies of the nation or person they represent.


HMUN 2017 has a staff of 235 Harvard undergraduates. These staff members are organized into three groups: the Secretariat, the Senior Staff, and the Junior Staff.[5]


The Secretariat consists of the top-level officers of Harvard Model United Nations who oversee all branches and activities of the conference.

There are nine Secretariat members: the Secretary-General, who is responsible for the conference as a whole, the Director-General, who is the administrative head of the conference, the Comptroller, who is responsible for conference finances, and six Under-Secretaries-General in the various branches of the conference: administration, business, Innovation & Technology, and the three substantive organs, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council & Regional Bodies, and the Specialized Agencies. The DG, Comptroller, Administration, and Business organs comprise the executive organs, and Innovation and Technology is both a substantive and an executive organ.

The Secretary-General is elected annually in March by the Board of Directors of the IRC and the outgoing staff of the previous conference. He or she is traditionally a member of the past year's Secretariat, along with the Director-General. The remaining Secretariat members are appointed by the Secretary-General in coordination with the Secretary-General of HNMUN. For HMUN 2017, Andrew R. Chang will serve as Secretary-General and Marija Jevtic will serve as Director-General. [6]

Senior Staff[edit]

The senior staff, like the secretariat, includes both executive and substantive staffers.

On the executive side, senior staff are the direct deputies of their respective USG. Each organ has several senior staff filling various responsibilities:

Director-General Organ:

  • Deputy-Director-General: General assistant to the DG on hotel and tech related issues. Officially in charge of the conference when the Secretariat is in meetings or otherwise unavailable.
  • Senior Director of Security: Manages security staff and operations.
  • Director of Technology: Manages computer labs and provides technical support.
  • Director of Special Projects: Occasionally appointed to work on long term conference related projects.

The administration organ has several directors of administration who are the immediate assistants to the USG and who respond to questions about the conference and manage conference registration, and the business organ similarly has several directors of business, responsible for ad sales and conference amenities like catering. The comptroller organ has two assistant comptrollers.

On the substantive side, senior staff consist of committee directors, who are the substantive authorities for each committee and prepare the study guides that serve as the foundational documents for delegate preparation, and crisis directors, who coordinate crisis scenarios on continual crisis committees.

The Innovation and Technology (formerly substantive support) organ includes committee directors, directors of crisis and multimedia who handle presentations, and directors of faculty relations who are the primary point of contact for faculty advisers.

Junior Staff[edit]

Again, junior staff vary from organ to organ, and can be split into executive and substantive staffers.

On the executive side, each organ has specialized assistant directors (ADs):

  • the DG organ has several ADs of security,
  • the administration organ has several ADs of administration,
  • the business organ has several ADs of business,

and each of these ADs assist their respective senior staff and USG with their duties.

On the substantive side:

  • moderators moderate debate and enforce the rules of procedure, and
  • assistant directors prepare supplemental research and assist committee directors with running each committee

The substantive support organ has similar assistants to the committee directors.


Like most Model UN conferences, HMUN recognizes exceptional delegates and schools with awards at the end of the conference. Awards are given to the delegates who demonstrate strong preparation, excellent speaking skills, adherence to national policy, and exceptional abilities of compromise and negotiation, and they are awarded by the directors of each committee. The number of awards on a committee varies by size, but each committee gives out at least one of each of the following awards:

  • Best Delegate
  • Outstanding Delegate
  • Honorable Mention

Unlike many conferences, HMUN does not give Verbal Commendations.

Based on the number delegates receiving awards, awards are then given to the delegations that represent the best collection of delegates.

HMUN China[edit]

After 57 years of successful Model UN in Boston, Massachusetts, HMUN has expanded its global reach by jumping to the East. In March 2010, with the help of WELAND International, HMUN brought a chapter of its conference to Beijing for the first successful run of HMUN China. With over 1,000 delegates and 13 committees, HMUN China brought together a newly diverse group of delegates in one of the world’s oldest cities. Entirely new perspectives were brought to the table in negotiations, and lasting international friendships were made as debate heated up throughout the four days.

In 2011, HMUN China moved to Shanghai, China’s center of economic growth. A prime example of East meeting West, Shanghai provided an exciting backdrop for the conference. Delegates had the opportunity to participate in HMUN’s top-notch substantive debate between experiencing all Shanghai has to offer. For 2012, HMUN China returned to Beijing, hosted in the Beijing International Convention Center, hosting 15 committees and over 1,000 delegates from March 15–18.

In 2013, HMUN China moved across town to the Crowne Plaza Sun Palace, increasing the conference to 16 committees for 1,300 delegates. The conference brought in students from over 27 countries to participate in four days of debate. The 2013 session substantively increased its diversity of committees, running 5 Specialized Agencies and a range of present-day and historical Regional Bodies, including simulations of the Global Health Cluster, the Pakatan Rakyat, and the 1814 Congress of Vienna.[7]

Beginning in 2015, HMUN has partnered with co-hosts Alpha Partners Education to continue the conference's growth and development. The 2016 session was held March 17th-20th in Beijing. [8][9]

HMUN India[edit]

HMUN India 2011 - The First Session[edit]

In August 2011, over 1200 delegates from across India and some other countries (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, etc.) took part in the first HMUN India session, which took place at World Trade Centre, Mumbai, India.

HMUN India 2012 - The Second Session[edit]

The second session of HMUN India took place at the Hyderabad International Convention Center in Hyderabad, India from the 16 to 19 August 2012. This was co-hosted by MUN Cafe- a brand of Worldview Education Services. HMUN India 2012 had over 900 delegates from 110 schools across 24 cities in over 15 countries. Karachi Grammar School, Pakistan was declared the Best Large Delegation at the conference.

HMUN India 2013 - The Third Session[edit]

The third session of HMUN India was recently held again at The Hyderabad International Convention Center from the 15th to 18 August. This was co-hosted yet again with MUN Cafe. The conference witnessed participation of over 1200 students from across 28 cities in 8 countries. The highlights of the 3rd session included the Speaker Series with an elite panel of speakers including the Key Note at the Opening Ceremony delivered by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Nobel Peace Prize winner- 2007- The UN Inter-governmental panel on Climate Change. Karachi Grammar School, Pakistan retained its title as the Best Large Delegation at the conference.

HMUN India 2014 - The Fourth Session[edit]

The fourth Session of HMUN was yet again held at the Hyderabad International Convention Center and co-hosted by MUN Cafe. The conference saw a greater participation compared to its last session. This time the organizing committee experimented with something they called the Morning Plenary every morning for an hour wherein they re-capped what had been done the day before and showcased some of the entries for the HMUN India IMPACT awards - Videos of NGOs and groups working towards the accomplishment of the Millennium Development goals.

The Special Application committees in this session included

  1. Security Council
  2. Historical Security Council
  3. English Civil War - Long Parliament
  4. Press Corps[10]

Harvard National Model United Nations[edit]

Harvard National Model United Nations logo

Harvard National Model United Nations or HNMUN is the longest running college-level Model United Nations simulation in the world and among the largest in the United States.[11] HNMUN is an annual four-day event held in February, composed of three thousand university students of which half tend to be international students. The conference will be held at the Marriott Copley Place in downtown Boston. The Sixty-First Session of HNMUN will be held from 12–15 February 2015. HNMUN was first run in 1955, ten years after the formation of the United Nations.

Awards are conferred upon individual delegates in their respective committees and to delegations in the categories of best small, best large, and best international delegation.

The current holder of the Best International Delegation and the Best Large Delegation awards is the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, UCAB HNMUN 2017, and the holder of the Outstanding Large Delegation is the Universidad Simón Bolívar USB HNMUN 2017.


There are three levels to the HNMUN staff structure: the Secretariat (consisting of the Director General and the Under Secretaries General), which is led by the Secretary General; the Senior Staff (consisting of Directors); and the Junior Staff (consisting of Assistant Directors).

Senior and Junior staff is split into two branches: an executive branch and a substantive branch. The executive branch takes care of the Administrative, Business, Finance, and Delegate Relations side of the conference. The substantive branch creates the delegates' committee experience, and is divided into the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and Regional Bodies, and the Specialized Agencies.


As with HMUN, the Secretariat oversees the administration of the conference. The Secretary-General is similarly elected, and appoints his or her Secretariat in coordination with the Secretary-General of HMUN. There are nine secretariat members: the Secretary-General, who is responsible for the conference as a whole, the Director-General, who is the administrative head of the conference, and seven Under-Secretaries-General in the various branches of the conference: administration, business, delegate relations, finance, and the three substantive organs, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Councils, and the Specialized Agencies. [12]

Staff Selection[edit]

HNMUN staff is made entirely of Harvard undergraduate students. The staff selection process for one year's HNMUN conference begins immediately following the previous year's conference. First, the Secretary-General for the next conference is elected by the experienced staff members of HNMUN and HMUN. The candidates for Secretary-General are generally members of the past year's Secretariat. Once the Secretary-General has been elected, former members of the HNMUN Senior Staff apply for Secretariat positions. After Secretariat has been chosen in late March, members of the former Junior Staff are welcome to apply for about 80 Senior Staff positions. Junior Staff (Assistant Directors and Committee Moderators) is then selected in the fall. Both Senior and Junior Staffs are chosen by the Secretariat after a lengthy application and interview process. By late fall, the conference's staff is complete. The full staff reaches well over 200 students.


HNMUN is host to about 3000 university students from over 50 countries and so requires a large amount of planning by the Secretariat and staff hosting the event. Planning for the following year's conference starts as soon as the current one ends. Topics for debate must be chosen early so that study guides may be prepared and delegates may research their topics. Study guides are written by directors over summer and assistant directors come on board to write updates and provide support to the directors starting in October. The Secretariat works throughout the year on aspects including delegate recruiting and conference logistical planning. The Secretariat is also responsible for long-term strategic planning for the conference.

Committee Structure[edit]

Model UNs follow the general structure of the UN but for logistical and educational reasons, the structure differs somewhat. HNMUN's structure is similar to most Model UNs but there are a few important differences.

  • Only one resolution may be passed on each topic. This is meant to stress consensus and compromise between delegates. This is achieved by the fact that:
  • Resolutions cannot be sponsored
  • There are no "friendly" or "hostile" amendments, as there are no sponsors with whom to confer

NGO Program[edit]

The NGO Program is unique to HNMUN and is a fantastic opportunity for delegates to experience a wide range of issues and committees across the conference. Each NGO is allowed to visit any committee within the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Regional Bodies. NGOs have the option of working in a single committee or in several committees during the conference, depending on your personal comfort level and on the relevance of your NGO to the topic areas being discussed. NGOs have no voting status, but other than that, they have the same rights as any other delegate in the committee: NGOs may make speeches, participate in caucus, and lend their expertise to formulating resolutions.

Harvard International Review[edit]

The Harvard International Review is a quarterly journal and website of international relations published by the Harvard International Relations Council at Harvard University. The HIR offers commentary on global developments in politics, economics, business, science, technology, and culture, as well as interviews with prominent global leaders and reviews of books and documentaries. Founded in 1979 to "cover that middle ground between academic scholarship and journalism", the HIR is a widely distributed journal across the United States and around the world in more than 60 countries, boasting a readership of over 30,000. According to its mission statement, "The HIR features underappreciated topics in the international affairs discourse and underappreciated perspectives on more widely discussed topics. The HIR aims to serve as a trend-setter among similar publications by directing rather than following the public’s attention."

The magazine is composed of the following sections: Features, Perspectives, Spotlight, World in Review, Global Notebook, Interview, Endpaper, and Correspondence. The website features exclusive content and active blogs on current events.

The HIR has featured scholars and policymakers from around the world, including Nelson Mandela, Samuel P. Huntington, Aung San Suu Kyi, Jeffrey Sachs, Shimon Peres, Paul Krugman, Chen Shui-bian, Amartya Sen, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Ban Ki-moon, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Ted Turner and Javier Solana.

Harvard Intercollegiate Model United Nations[edit]

Harvard Intercollegiate Model United Nations (ICMUN) is Harvard University's traveling Model UN team. The team is composed of about 60 Harvard undergraduates who attend conferences across the United States.

In the 2013–2014 academic year, the team attended conferences at Columbia, Yale, Georgetown, the University of Pennsylvania, McGill, Berkeley, New York University, and the University of Chicago.

International Relations on Campus (IRoC)[edit]

IRoC is the IRC branch that coordinates all of the IRC's on-campus outreach. IRoC builds links among undergraduates, Harvard's Weatherhead Center, and Harvard professors and fellows. IRoC conducts dinner discussions, study groups, and special events, and is responsible for putting on IR Week every Spring.

Harvard Program for International Education[edit]

The Harvard Program for International Education (HPIE) is a public service program run and staffed by Harvard undergraduates passionate about international relations. HPIE seeks to promote international awareness and education in today’s youth. HPIE tutors teach from a standardized curriculum that they develop on-campus and distribute to students on-site. HPIE tutors go through the curriculum, which incorporates useful skills students can use in their other studies, over the course of eight sessions, with one class period each week. Previous curricula have included topics in immigration, nation-building, and the politics of clean water. Curricula culminate in a short conference that brings students together for HPIE Day, an exciting day of debate on the Harvard campus. HPIE Day allows students to demonstrate what they have learned, as well as to finish each semester energized about international affairs.

Model Security Council[edit]

Model Security Council (MSC) is a one-day conference primarily geared towards incoming Harvard freshmen but open and welcoming to all new members of the International Relations Council. The conference gives participants a taste of competitive Model UN, an idea of some of the larger Model UN conferences are run, and an introduction to the business and technology opportunities available in the IRC. The conference is preceded by a Welcome Week that exposes incoming freshmen to the opportunities and events offered by the IRC, and has a special emphasis on creating communities for freshmen in many of their first years away from home.


External links[edit]