Riya is a junior at Harvard studying Statistics and Government. Although she spent most of her life in a small suburb in Wisconsin, she was originally born in England and has spent extensive time traveling throughout Europe. This past year at WorldMUN in Panama, she served as the Under-Secretary-General of Administration. At Harvard, Riya also is the Under-Secretary-General of Administration for HNMUN-LA and is a member of the Harvard College Consulting Group. When not doing something MUN-related, Riya is most likely finding new alternative music to listen to, watching Netflix obsessively, or eating at a new restaurant. She is extremely excited to Chair for the first time and cannot wait to meet even more delegates this year through her own committee!
Topic: Religious Conflict
Around the globe, religious conflict is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue; people everywhere are debating how much of a role religion should have in policy and government decisions as identity politics rises and countries become increasingly divided. Different nations have had very different approaches to this issue with some choosing to completely ban religion from the public sphere in order to maintain a society of neutrality while others instead embrace their religious heritage and tie it even more to their sense of nationalism. The European Union in particular is facing these issues as countries with vastly different policies and stances come together to make decisions that will affect all of them. These nations will have to cooperate to make unified guidelines on how much control governments can have over religious symbols and clothing in different public places, especially as these decisions are inherently tied to problems with Islamophobia and religious discrimination. There also is disparity in how governments create dialogue between themselves and religious groups, along with how they classify these different groups. Furthermore, religion is undeniably tied to women’s rights and the European Union has to decide how it will weigh both its commitment to gender equality and to religious freedom. These issues have been ongoing for many decades, but as religious tensions only escalate, making unified policies to be carried out across these nations is more important than ever.