Jasmine is a senior at Harvard College studying Government and Religion. She is interested in secularization theory, democratization in developing countries, sunsets on the river and coconut water, and will be combining all these interests in her thesis research on Buddhism in Thailand. On campus, she is involved in social justice through the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations where she has definitely become a Marxist, and also works with the Harvard-MIT COOP to increase its community relations. Last year she chaired SOCHUM in Montreal and is so excited to be chairing SOCHUM again because it is without question the best committee. She looks forward to having an incredible experience, meet fascinating people and engage in life-changing conversations with WorldMUN delegates!
Topic: Religious Freedom
Religion has become important as a topic of discussion with the rise of ISIS and the corresponding rise of Islamaphobia, but beyond these very visible manifestations of religious influence in politics, religion has always had a powerful role in regulating so-called secular states – not least in the United States itself, where much of the venerated constitution/Bill of Rights enshrines a highly protestant vision of an ideal individualistic society. The UN has never discussed religion without an understanding of secularism that is equally influenced by this protestant individualistic understanding of how religion should operate in society, which is why with its past resolutions it has wildly missed the mark as to proposing feasible solutions to regulating Islam/highly communal religions. By reframing the conversation to be one about religious communities, I hope to bring out the fundamental tension in protecting religious freedom: religious freedom for the individual is difficult to resolve with religious freedom for communities, which is why Islamaphobia – the expression of religion in such a communal form - remains a huge problem.