Sitting Down With Syrian National Congress Vice Chair Francesca Wallace
The eyes of the international community has for long time been centred on Syria as the civil war continues to rage in the country.However, in the Syrian National Congress (SNC) 1919 Committee, the focus has been shifted back in time. Providing a great opportunity to understand the origins of the current conflict, the committee revolves around the issue of Syrian post-colonial sovereignty. It is exactly this historical relevance which drew Francesca Wallace towards the position of SNC vice chair.
The red filter hats worn by delegates, known as Tarboosh or Fez, which Wallace takes a brief second to question the spelling of, are not the only unique thing about the SNC. It is the fact that the committee, despite being situated in the past, ”mirrors today,” which Wallace sees as distinguishing it from the others. As a concrete example she mentions dependency theory and how this is ”still in effect” for Syria. For now the hats, be they cultural appropriation or just an innocent prop, remain placed on the committee table among documents and notes that bear testament to intense discussion.
Having taken a class in Middle Eastern history and developed a deep interest for this part of the field, Wallace seems to be in the right place. She likes how the committee is ”historically accurate” and how it ”breaks down the ethnic divisions” of the conflict. The divisions that existed back then persist to some degree to this day, and indeed the vice-chair says that the committee shows how ”history can and is repeating itself.”
Wallace is promptly interrupted as a brownie is brought to her by a staffer who simultaneously informs her that the delegates have reported the chairs as being too lenient.
Previously having stated that she likes ”sassy delegates,” Wallace admits that she prefers ”to be a laid back chair.”
However it is not brownies, but announcements from the crisis staffers which has been brought into the room during the latest sessions. The committee has received several crisis updates, among them an invasion by the French and the execution of Syrian ministers.
The vice-chair also shares with us her thoughts on what is the main ”raison d’etre” of McMUN. On the question of what she likes about McMUN, Wallace answers that it must be the fact that it ”builds more compassion.” She deliberates on how delegates ”go through real issues” and consequently become able ”to relate more” to current events.
As the committee settles for a second round of discussion, we leave Wallace to get back to her duties in deciding Syria’s future.