TOPIC A The Suez Crisis, 1956
DELEGATION SIZE Double
- Elizabeth Williams (she/her)
- Ketan Sengupta (he/him)
- Phalgun Garimella (he/him)
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC)—perhaps more than any of the United Nations’ various other organs—can stake a reasonable claim to being one of the world’s single most powerful institutions. Founded in the wake of the Second World War, the UNSC’s goals are straightforward: uphold national sovereignty, defend human rights, promote individual freedoms, and—above all—preserve global peace. Even at the best of times, the UNSC’s goals are ambitious, to say the very least; when tensions between nations—or tensions within nations—boil over, they seem more elusive than ever. As delegates representing the member states of the United Nations Security Council as it existed in 1956—just over a decade after the end of World War II—the work of preventing the world from collapsing in on itself now falls to you.
About a decade after the conclusion of the Second World War came 1956’s Suez Canal Crisis, as decades of neocolonial tensions and competing commercial interests came to a head. The Canal, which ran between the Mediterranean and Red Seas, was constructed primarily (and owned completely) by the Suez Canal Company, a joint venture between the United Kingdom and France. Shortly after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was sworn into office, he announced the imminent nationalization of the Canal, triggering France, the United Kingdom, and Israel—a regional ally shared by the two—to respond with a show of extraordinary force, organizing a joint military operation intended to reassert the Suez Canal Company’s control over the canal. The so-called Tripartite Alliance’s invasion of Egypt sparked heated international discourse around the lingering specter of neocolonialism in the Middle East, interrupted global commerce for months on end, reoriented a number of key international relationships, and foregrounded sovereignty, liberty, and agency as fundamental considerations on the global stage.
All of these are things we expect you—as representatives who both wield incalculable amounts of diplomatic power, and find themselves shouldered with equally incalculable amounts of diplomatic responsibility—to reckon with and attempt to resolve. Over the course of UNSC at MUNUC 36, you’ll have to navigate your way around a commercial crisis of epic and unprecedented proportions, negotiate competing stakeholder relationships, and broker treaties between bitter enemies. Most importantly, you’ll need to begin the long, arduous, and protracted process of decolonization while war brews in the East, and while discontent looms large.
The first three sessions of the UNSC, 1956 will likely be more crisis-oriented, while the next three will incorporate elements of debate traditionally associated with General Assemblies. We’re looking forward to meeting you in February, and we hope you’re as excited about MUNUC 36 as we are!