Pandemic 2020

The field of infectious disease outbreak control is plagued by misinformation and political maneuverings. The threat of Ebola was largely overplayed in 2015, while 2016 saw a growing Zika outbreak go unnoticed for months, only to cause disproportionate hysteria when it was finally “discovered.” In this committee, we will explore many of the issues surrounding infectious diseases through the simulation of an outbreak in Southeast Asia, set two years into the future. One of the axioms of modern infectious disease work is that “diseases do not respect boarders.” Unfortunately for humans, it is not that simple: governments and NGOs cannot act in ignorance of international boundaries, cultural differences, and national sovereignty. Quite often, the disease itself is the simple part, as treatments and containment measures are known and well proven. The politics are where things get messy. In this committee, you will be representing small Southeast Asian nations, regional powers, and global giants who will be contending with a serious humanitarian crisis. The challenge will not be solving the crisis—instead, your challenge will be to accurately represent your nation’s interests and demonstrate a clear understanding of the internal and external politics your national leaders would be weighing.

The background guide will be linked here by the end of January.

Chair: Ian Jaffe

You can contact the chair at ian.jaffe@duke.edu.