Balim Barutcu is a rising senior at Harvard studying Social Studies, which is essentially a combination of Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She is Turkish, though she grew up in the United Kingdom and Singapore, and currently lives in Dubai. Balim has previously served as a Committee Director and a Crisis Director at Harvard's Boston-based conferences, HNMUN and HMUN, and most recently served as the Under-Secretary-General of the Crisis and Historical Committees at WorldMUN 2018. She is incredibly excited to be returning to WorldMUN in 2019, not only because Spain is one of her favourite places to visit in the world - history, culture, music and all - but also because she loves the energy of the delegates who make WorldMUN more enjoyable an experience for her every single year. In her free time, Balim loves to read, write poetry, perform theatre and dance, listen to music and watch movies, and cannot wait to see you all in Madrid. ¡Hasta pronto!
Topic: Tehran Hostage Crisis
In November 1979, marking the apex of revolutionary unsettlement in Iran, 52 American diplomats and citizens were captured and taken hostage for an astounding 444 days. By 1977, demonstrations against the former US-backed Shah Pahlavi had begun to engulf Iran and come 1979, revolutionary voices were resounding in the streets of Tehran demanding the return of the exiled Shah for trial and execution for treachery to the State. In October 1979, President Carter welcomed (albeit reluctantly so) the Shah onto American soil to receive medical treatment. The site of his treatment was the New York Presbyterian Hospital, the doors of which locked out hordes of Iranian students studying in the US in late October, who had gathered in protest, chanting: “Death to the Shah!”
Soon thereafter, and perhaps in response, another group of students following the “Imam’s Line” reacted with more efficacy and took over the US Embassy in Tehran, instigating the longest hostage crisis in history. Little did they know, however, that they would be causing the US and Iranian governments to interact more intensively than they ever would again, at least until 2013.
With a timeline beginning in November 1979, the committee will consist of a team of experts and negotiators under the tutelage of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Engaging with the Iranians and planning a rescue for the American lives on the line, the rescue mission and negotiations will challenge team members to think as creatively and collaboratively as possible in a high-pressure environment. The high stakes will put diplomatic reputation and diplomatic tact at odds, forcing delegates to think critically about what constitutes the most realistic and effective tactics of negotiation.