Topic A: Trade
Foremost among ASEAN's foundational goals is the promotion of trade among its member states. While none of the relatively small Southeast Asian nations can compete with economic behemoths like the United States and China, together they can play the role of a significant player on the global economic stage. At the same time, the difficulties of regional free trade--from NAFTA to the EU--have been plain to see in recent months. ASEAN must advance policies that avoid the pitfalls of many regional free trade policies while advancing the economic interests of its member states.
On her best days, Katherine Kawahineho’oki’eki’e Sakys, known to most as Katie, can be found lounging on the white sandy beaches of Oahu, Hawaiʻi. Alas, pretending to be a mermaid isn’t much of a resume-builder, so Katie used to get her saltwater fix by swimming, playing water polo, lifeguarding, surfing, and paddling. She canʻt do much ocean activity in Boston, given the freezing winters and all, so Katieʻs turned her passions towards international relations. A sophomore in Kirkland House at Harvard, Katie is likely concentrating in economics with a secondary in government, focusing on international political economy. Being from Hawaiʻi and living at the crossroads of America and East Asia, Katie has a particular interest in trans-Pacific economic and political interactions. Katie is also an active member of Harvardʻs Model UN community, participating as both a traveling delegate and a staffer. Katie has served as a senior staffer with HMUN and HNMUN, where sheʻs worked with the business organ and directed an SA committee on Americaʻs imperialism in the Hawaiian Islands. Katie is also an active competitor on the college MUN circuit with Harvardʻs traveling team, ICMUN. When sheʻs not focused on MUN, Katie spends her time volunteering as tutor, staffing the business board of the Harvard International Review, and engaging in various Native American and Hawaiian cultural activities. In her (limited) spare time, Katie’s inner adventurer enjoys exploring the East Coast, hiking, Yelping (read: eating), baking, and pretending she knows how to pair wines and cheeses. Katie cannot wait to meet the delegates of WorldMUN 2018!”
Topic B: Workers' Rights
The low price of labor in many Southeast Asian states has been part of the region's appeal to global capital, attracting investment and facilitating development. However, this tradeoff does not only have the effect of lowering workers' wages; poor conditions, violations of contracts, and other threats to workers' rights have undermined the advancement and inclusive growth within Southeast Asia. In addressing this issue, ASEAN nations must balance protecting the rights of their working class populations with the objective of appealing to foreign investment and driving economic activity.