Dear Delegates

Welcome to Harvard Model Congress Asia 2017! Our names are Dustin Chiang and Maddie Pagel and we are excited to be chairing the House Intelligence Committee this year.

The House Intelligence committee oversees the United States Intelligence community. As such, it makes incredibly important decisions regarding United State’s security and intelligence collection that have wide ranging effects. It has great responsibility to make careful decisions that could affect our citizens at home and our relations abroad. With this weight on our shoulders, we will enter our simulation to address two issues that affect America today: the refugee crisis and social media encryption. We ask you as delegates to consider the implications of these issues beyond the surface level in order to come prepared to create solutions that will protect our citizens. To start you on this journey, we have included brief introductions to the briefings below and suggestions for conference preparation.

We will first consider the refugee crisis in Syria. While there is obviously a strong moral component to this argument, delegates will also face practical concerns. The United States must strike a balance between accommodating those who were displaced by conflict and ensuring the national security of the U.S. We suggest the delegates consider their stance on the current screening program before attempting to create solutions. Furthermore, we suggest delegates have a firm understanding of their position on the United State’s role in accepting refugees. Understanding the delegates position on both issues before the conference will lead to a smoother and more productive debate about the national security issues America faces as a result of the refugee crisis.

In a related national security concern, we will also discuss the practice of social media encryption. Social media encryption becomes more advanced by the day, and new technologies do better job of protecting data from outside access. At the same time, terrorist plots have been known to be planned out over encrypted social media networks. Intelligence agencies have contended that these attacks could be prevented if they had access to monitor social media communications. The federal government has an important dilemma to consider when balancing national security concerns with the privacy of citizens. When thinking about this question, make sure you understand your legislator’s stances on private data as well as combating terrorism.

Our briefings provide a wealth of information but are just the tip of the iceberg. We encourage you to expand your research beyond the scope of our briefings to gain broader perspective on these issues. Take a look at the Guides to Further Research at the end of the briefings, and stay up to date with the speeches and activities of your representative. Understanding your role fully as well as the opinions that your fellow legislators might have is crucial to developing effective working relationships and ultimately good policy in committee. We wish you the best of luck in your preparations.

Please feel free to reach out to us before the conference to ask any questions you might have, or even just to introduce yourself. We look forward to meeting you in Hong Kong in January!

All the best,
Dustin Chiang and Maddie Pagel
Chairs, House Intelligence

Pre-Conference Assignment

Each delegate will submit two one-minute speeches, one on each briefing topic. These speeches should written from the perspective of the delegate’s assigned role — for example, a delegate assigned the role of the United States should present arguments that the United States would be in favor of. The pre-conference assignments are due on December 30th and should be sent to your committee chairs by email (see below). Delegates should use this opportunity to research their role and become familiar with the topics at hand in order to prepare for the conference. Committee chairs will provide feedback on these assignments before the conference.

About Us

Dustin Chiang

House Intelligence
Dustin Chiang is a sophomore from Fremont, California studying Government. He has staffed conferences in Seoul, Boston, Rome, and Sao Paulo. Dustin teaches civics at local public schools, leads tours for prospective students, and is heavily involved with Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He enjoys watching TV, playing board games, trying delicious foods, and cheering on the Oakland Athletics.

Maddie Pagel

House Intelligence
Maddie is a freshman at the college and has spent half of her life in Japan and half of it moving around the US. Because of this, she is very interested in international relations and plans to concentrate in government. She loves exploring new places, meeting people and baking.