Decorum Reviews…SGMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews…SGMUN 2017

Overview

Location: University of St Gallen

Dates: 9-12 November, 2017

Number of delegates: 67

Number of committees: 4

Cost: delegate fee €99 (early bird), €115 (normal price), €54 (without accommodation), social pack €45

SGMUN, held at the Swiss city of St Gallen, saw great success in its inaugural edition. Despite being run for the first time, delegates praised the well-run committees, smooth conference organisation, and high quality socials. On the whole, this year’s edition has joined the select few newcomer conferences that hold great promise for the future and has the potential to become a mainstay of the European MUN circuit.

 

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Delegates at the pre-conference training session

 

Academics

SGMUN’s committees were notably varied and innovative given the smaller size of the conference. Apart from two main branch committees (DISEC and WHO), the conference offered a three cabinet Joint Cabinet Crisis simulating the War of the Pacific in the late 19th Century, featuring Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. Delegates thought that both the main branch and crisis committees were well run.

The highlight of the conference, however, was the Brexit Negotiations committee, run using the structure of main branch RoP but containing novel aspects that simulated the scheduling of negotiations as well as incorporating the press into the debate. Two “teams” of negotiators, representing the British and EU sides, negotiated over various aspects of the final settlement. Throughout the session, delegates were held to account by press briefings, where they were questioned on what they had agreed upon. Delegates were impressed by the innovative format of the committee, with one delegate remarking during feedback sessions that it was the “best committee [he had] ever been in”.

Ceremonies

Both ceremonies were held in unglamourous but practical settings. The opening ceremony featured two speakers, Jessica Graf, a professional consultant, and Dr. Dirk Lehmkuhl, a professor at the university. The first speaker was gave an uninspiring and disjointed speech, talking about her personal career, from working in NGOs through to the transition into the private sector. Her speech ended with her telling the audience to stay away from a career in the UN and to join the private sector. The speech was overall rather controversial but contained no real point to it. This aimlessness was made worse by the speaker’s monotonous tone. Dr. Lehmkuhl provided a slightly more lively and content-focused talk on the European Union and its future which was better received by delegates, though the consensus was that the opening ceremony was too long and felt more like a series of lectures.

The closing ceremony was held in another lecture theatre, which was modern and well-lit. Beginning with fellow delegates advertising their own conferences, the ceremony then proceeded to the conference’s third guest speaker, Sabine Fankhauser, a former UN Youth Delegate who relayed her experiences in the United Nations to the audience. The talk was personal and quite interesting, though due to the international nature of the conference some participants found it less relevant than it could have been. Finally, the chairs gave their remarks and presented awards, followed by the Secretary General officially closing the conference after a brief speech.

 

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Participants enjoy traditional Swiss fondue at the Thursday social

 

Socials

SGMUN’s €45 social pack consisted of 3 socials, starting with a Fondue Night on Thursday. Participants were split up into small groups of approximately 5-6 and given addresses of hosts. This novel idea was well received by participants, who complimented the fact that the personal setting helped them to get to know each other more. This was followed by an informal drinks session held at a bar in the city. The social may have benefited from more coordination between the hosts and non-local participants, some of whom got lost in the city with no data signal.

The second social was a bar crawl, organised by committees, which started off a little slowly because delegates failed to turn up to the starting venues on time. However, once people showed up, the atmosphere became much livelier, culminating in all groups joining up at the university’s student bar.

Saturday’s social was held at what was described as a “frat house”. Dinner in the form of burgers were provided, as was copious amounts of free alcohol in a well-stocked fridge. Despite lasting for almost five hours, there was still a significant amount of beer in the fridge. Participants stayed in one place until they were directed to the club night, which was enjoyable but very crowded.

The social pack overall was great value, given the astronomical cost of living in St Gallen.

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Venues, Logistics and Communications

The conference’s venues were spread out over the main library building. Delegates reported that committee rooms were often too cold, though the Secretariat could do little given the university’s central heating system. There was also a lack of extension cords on the first day, though this was soon remedied.

Also commendable was the preparation the conference had for international delegates. Plug adapters were readily available throughout the conference, making committee sessions much more convenient for participants. Communications were maintained between the Secretariat and participants for the most part, though some delegates had issues with country allocations being given quite late.

SGMUN was also notable for offering 4 days’ accommodation with its delegate fees, which streamlined the conference organising process for delegations coming from overseas and was much appreciated. Free lunch was also provided on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Right of Reply

First of all we would like to thank our delegates and chairs for coming and making our conference possible and awesome! After reviewing the overall positive feedback we received from the participants we are happy to announce that we decided to organize a second edition of the conference next year! We hope to again bring you a great value proposition, as we recognize that Switzerland is an expensive country to visit, and provide you with great academics, warmer rooms and an even better and smoother organization! See you again next year in St. Gallen!

 

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Decorum Reviews… OxIMUN 2017

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Quick Facts:

Location: Oxford University

Dates: 3rd-5th November

# of delegates – 500

# of committees – 25

Cost: £102 (delegate fee and social pack, no option was given to purchase separately)

One of the UK’s most prestigious conferences offered a huge variety of committees, with delegates from UK, Europe and the world attending to spend their weekend simulating Model UN. The conference was praised for its high level of academic debate. However, this year’s conference was marred by logistical difficulties and let down by the Saturday night social.

To see how this year’s conference compared to the previous edition, check out our review of OxIMUN 2016.

Academics

Committees were generally enjoyable and catered mostly to the intermediate and advanced levels. Even though some delegates had very little prior MUN experience, this did not affect the debate in any way and in fact reinforced the high level of preparation that a lot of MUN societies have. This is a credit to the delegates as a few committees did not receive study guides until the week prior to the conference and that some didn’t receive welcome emails from their chairs. Moreover, the Secretariat cancelled the submission of position papers at the last moment. A consensus also arose that the session on Friday was too long, and could have been shortened if the opening ceremony was held later.

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony was somewhat uneventful. The Secretary-General gave a few opening remarks, after which The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP gave an opening lecture. A mixture of the fact that it was too early and that there was no real feeling of grandeur in the opening ceremony made it hard to focus. Needless to say, the ceremony wasn’t too long, which is always nice.

The closing ceremony was held at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre, which emulated the grand Oxford feeling. The ceremony was surprisingly fast-paced, which, as previously mentioned, is always nice. Although there was no “Best Delegation” award, delegates enjoyed the efficiency of the event.

Socials

The Friday social, held at the historic Ashmolean Museum, was lovely – perhaps the highlight of the weekend. All the delegates had the opportunity to put on their tuxedos, ball gowns and drink wine whilst discussing MUN at one of the most famous museums. The jazz band added to the lovely atmosphere of the social, and the canapés were delicious.

However, on Saturday night the delegates were disappointed to learn that there would be no formal dinners – a highlight of past conferences. Instead, every committee had to organise their own dinner at a restaurant of their choice. Making such arrangements at the last minute on a Saturday night was predictably difficult. Moreover, the club social did not start until 10:30pm, which meant that quite a few people decided to go home and sleep instead (as some committee dinners were between 6:30pm and 7:30pm).

Venues, Logistics, and Communication

Overall, the conference was enjoyable, yet some of the communication prior to the conference was somewhat patchy, and some delegates did not receive welcome emails from their chairs. The allocations were also delayed. Reportedly, these problems were the result of many chairs not receiving contact details for their delegates which meant they were unable to get in touch. This issue also resulted in great confusion with regards to the submission of position papers which were, in effect, cancelled at the last minute.

The queue for registration was understandable, as all societies arrived pretty much at the same time. The disappointment came when Head Delegates kept emerging with just name tags – no welcome pack, no goody-bag, nothing extra to remember the conference by. This, unfortunately, disenchanted some members of various delegations, who have travelled around the world to participate in MUNs, and have always enjoyed the nice gesture of a goody bag and welcome pack. This was also especially surprising given the high cost of the conference.

Right of Reply

The Secretariat could not be reached for their Right of Reply

Decorum Reviews… CUIMUN XXIII

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Quick Facts

Location: Cambridge University

Dates: 27-29th October

# of delegates: 400

# of committees: 11

Cost: delegate fee £45, full social pack £35

A mainstay of the UK circuit, this year’s CUIMUN offered a wide variety of committees, headed by experienced chairs and attended by enthusiastic delegates. A well-rounded conference overall, delegates found CUIMUN to be a weekend well spent, debating and socialising in the picturesque city of Cambridge.

To see how this year’s conference compared to the previous edition, check out our review of CUIMUN XXII.

Chairing
Chairs share vital information with delegates

Academics

CUIMUN offered a large range of committees, 11 in total, ranging from the World Bank to the Security Council. The number of committees meant that whilst delegates were given a wide variety of choice, GA committees were also rather large.

In an interesting change from previous iterations of the conference, CUIMUN 2017 had two 2-cabinet crises rather than one large simulation. Whilst the Historical Crisis (aimed at experienced delegates, simulating the Chinese Civil War) was well-received, the Fictional Crisis (designed for beginner crisis delegates, focusing on the Trojan War) saw complaints about the running of the crisis, particularly during the conference itself.

Overall, however, delegates appreciated the professionalism and organisation of their chairs. Position papers were required by the conference for non-crisis committees.

Closing Ceremony
The closing ceremony at the Cambridge Union

Ceremonies

Both the opening and closing ceremonies were held at the main chamber of the Cambridge Union, a historic venue in the centre of Cambridge. The opening ceremony saw an ex-Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Julian Huppert, who spoke about his time at Cambridge University and his role in founding Cambridge’s Model UN society. This was followed by Alex Mayer, a Labour MEP, who talked about her election as well as the future of the UK with regards to Brexit. Both speakers were personal yet concise and insightful, leaving participants intrigued and keeping them fresh for the committee sessions. This was followed by the Secretary-General officially declaring the conference open.

The closing ceremony was even more efficient, without a guest speaker present. Chairs were concise in summarising what took place during committee sessions as well as presenting awards. Despite being short and to the point, the prestige of the venue made the proceedings enjoyable as well as quick.

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Saturday’s social was held at Kuda

Socials

CUIMUN’s Friday social took place at Vodka Revolution, with the “spooky” theme being revealed on the day. Delegations met up before heading to the social, meaning that most participants turned up ready to enjoy the night. The Secretariat had rented out a private room, allowing for conference participants to mingle with each other. The wristband included one free drink which was appreciated, though prices for drinks were not unreasonable themselves. Delegates enjoyed this social, and stayed until the early hours of the morning.

The Saturday night Formal Hall Dinner was spread out over St John’s and Darwin Colleges. Delegates at St John’s College were not allowed to bring in alcohol, and none was served during the dinner. Meanwhile, delegates lucky enough to be allocated to Darwin College were given 3 glasses of wine for free. After the dinner, delegates gradually made their way to the club night, held at Kuda. The club night was enjoyed by some delegates, but others were disappointed by the low turnout and the quality of the club itself. Delegates arrived in small groups at different times, quickly leaving when they did not find anyone. This made the club night a rather disappointing exception to the quality of the overall conference.

Crisis
Historical Crisis participants pose for photos

Venues, Logistics, and Communications

CUIMUN’s committees and simulations were spread out over multiple constituent colleges of Cambridge University. Delegates reported that the rooms were generally good, though some committees were located a significant distance apart. Due to the size of the conference, however, it would be unrealistic for all committees to be located centrally.

The Secretariat performed well with logistical issues. The usual problems with Wifi access were quickly solved, with alternate college visitors Wifi access being procured by the Secretariat. Overall, delegates and chairs felt that the Secretariat were helpful and responsive.

Communications were another strong point of CUIMUN. The Secretariat were in constant contact with delegates and chairs, ensuring that any issues were quickly resolved before the actual conference began. During the conference, the Secretariat were maintained contact with the chairs and committees, though this was hampered by the physical spread of the committees.

Right of Reply

The Secretariat decline to provide a Right of Reply

Decorum Reviews … ManMUN 2017

Welcome back to Decorum Delegates! Another season of MUN is beginning and we’ll be at conferences big and small across the UK and beyond, letting you know exactly what goes down.

We’re really excited to kick things off with ManMUN, one of UK’s first conferences of the season and our first time reviewing a conference two years running!

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Location: Manchester, UK

Dates: 20th – 22nd October

Number of committees: 6

Number of delegates: 150

Cost: delegate fee £35 (£30 early bird), social pack: £35 (£30 early bird)

The University of Manchester Model UN society returns this year to provide a thoroughly well-organised and professional conference. The conference has built on its strengths from last year and has successfully improved on many of the issues that took away from last year’s conference. A few problems remain, but these were minor and did not prevent the conference from being of a very high standard.

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Delegates lobby during an unmoderated caucus

Academics

The committees were a healthy mix of conventional committees such as DISEC, UNHRC, and UNSC, as well as a few niche and advanced committees, such as the IMF and a Crisis Committee. The variety meant there was something for everyone, regardless of experience. Topics were fairly standard, varying from freedom of expression in the media, and women in election to specific issues such as an arms embargo in South Sudan and nuclear weapons disarmament in the Middle East. The Crisis simulated the Genpei War in Japan.

Chairs in beginner committees took care to explain RoP, and overall the chairs were usually forgiving of mistakes in RoP in all committees. In an improvement to last year’s conference, detailed RoP were provided on the conference website beforehand. For new delegates who may find the high level of detail daunting, intuitive flow diagrams outlining the structure of debate and resolution writing process were handily provided in the delegate handbook. Such improvements show a clear effort to improve and make the conference accessible in all areas. However, some briefing papers lacked bloc positions that would have been helpful in structuring debate.

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Winners of the “Manmeme” competition are revealed at the closing ceremony

Ceremonies

The main highlight of the opening ceremony was a panel discussion with three University of Manchester lecturers: Dr. Shogo Suzuki, Dr. Japhy Wilson, and Professor Peter Gries on the topic of ‘The New World Order’. Delegates and chairs were invited to ask the speakers questions and engage in the dialogue focusing on the topic of a rising China. The opening ceremony was then addressed by the SG. Though the discussion kept the audience engaged, at times it felt a little bit like an IR lecture.

The closing ceremony kicked off with the screening of a conference video featuring clips from the three days of debate. This was followed by a humorous announcement of conference awards such as ‘Best Dressed’, ‘Manmeme’ (the best meme posted on the ManMUN’s twitter account), and screenshots of some of the Secretariat’s favourite tweets. The committee awards were then presented, followed by a closing speech by the SG. The absence of a guest speaker was a good choice, keeping the closing ceremony short and sweet.

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Delegates taking full advantage of the photo booth at Saturday’s social

Socials

The socials on Friday and Saturday were decent overall and met delegates’ expectations. The Friday lounge evening was very relaxed and enjoyable. The venue of the Slug and Lettuce was pleasant: the top floor was reserved for delegates and included access to an outdoor balcony area.  The most notable aspect of the evening, however, was the reasonably priced drinks, along with one free drink for each delegate.

The Saturday formal featured a ‘Casino Royale’ themed three-course dinner. Dinner was delayed slightly but this did not seem to harm the joyous mood of the evening. The issue of space was anticipated in advance and dealt with appropriately, with overflow tables being provided for those who were unable to sit with their committee. The dinner also had a photo booth that kept many delegates entertained. After dinner, the tables were moved to make room for a dancefloor for delegates to enjoy.

 

Lanyards await collection by delegates

 

Venues, Communication, and Logistics

The conference did a much better job of dealing with the size of the University of Manchester this year by having all the committee sessions take place on different floors of the same, easy to locate building. This made it extremely convenient for delegations to meet up after committee sessions and meant no hungover delegates were getting lost on Saturday or Sunday morning. Committee rooms were suitable and tables were able to be rearranged to better suit debate.

The Secretariat did an excellent job of managing logistics for the conference. Much of this was down to careful preparation and intelligent room choice. In addition to this, maps, itineraries and lunch suggestions were posted on the various committee Facebook pages to help delegates find their way and to make the conference run smoothly.

Right of Reply

“Thank you for the kind review of ManMUN 2017! We are grateful that the efforts we have made to improve the conference have been noticed. We will certainly take in the constructive criticism. For ManMUN 2018, we will provide the chairs with a clearer format to follow vis-à-vis bloc positions. As for the opening ceremony, as this is our first attempt in hosting a panel discussion rather than the usual lecture style speech, we will definitely work towards having a more diverse group of speakers. Overall, thank you for the generous review!”

– Secretary-General, Guillaume Pans, ManMUN 2017

 

 

Decorum Reviews… MUNICE

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Location: Nice, France

Dates: 8th-11th June

Number of committees: 7

Number of delegates: 120

Cost: €70 delegate fee, €40 social pack

MUNICE, hosted at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis in the stunning French Riviera, is a mid-sized conference that juxtaposed the formality of Model UN with a classic summer holiday destination. Overall, the conference could be seen as a “summer experience” rather than just a purely academic MUN conference, though MUNICE did not lack in either department.

Academics

Although fairly small, MUNICE simulated a variety of committees, from normal General Assemblies to a three-cabinet crisis. In addition, two French-speaking committees were present, meaning that there was a substantial presence by local French delegations.

In general, delegates were pleased with the quality of MUNICE’s academics. There were no major issues with chairing. The lack of assassinations and the generally slower pacing of Crisis saw mixed responses, with some bemoaning the loss of traditional crisis elements, whilst others seeing it as an interesting new direction.

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony took place at the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nice, a charming museum close to the university campus. The first speaker was a local politician, who quickly talked about Nice as a city of academia. Following this, the University’s Vice President for International Affairs gave a keynote speech, focusing on counterterrorism and the right to privacy. Though the topic was promising, it felt like a law lecture at times.

Following this was a much more interesting speaker, Colonel Gilles Castel of the French Army and Deputy Directory of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, who gave a keynote speech about conflict-related sexual violence. His speech was also very academic, but much more engaging thanks to his personal experience from his time in service.

Overall, the ceremony ran on time, though having three guest speakers in addition to the DSG and SG may have been a little too much for delegates, some of whom left early.

The closing ceremony was located at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen (CUM). The guest speaker, a former South Korean Ambassador to the UN gave a speech about many topics, including economic inequality, nuclear disarmament, and climate change. Whilst these were individually interesting, the length at which he spoke and the apparent lack of a theme made some delegates, exhausted from the previous club night, lose interest.

Socials

MUNICE’s first social took place at a classy venue in the Old Town. However, this meant that drinks were rather pricy, although one free drink was given.

The second social was a gala night at a hotel in central Nice. The venue itself was small but had great views of the city. Again, prices for drinks were not cheap, but many delegates remarked that the sizes were extremely generous. A glass of sparkling wine and a soft drink was included.

The club night took place at a nightclub located right on the Promenade. The starting time of 12:30 meant that delegates and chairs took to organising their own pre-drinks. Delegates enjoyed the venue, and the late closing time meant that many stayed up into the early in the morning.

Immediately after closing ceremony, a champagne reception was provided for delegates with unlimited sparkling wine. This was greatly appreciated by tired delegates. Later that evening, the Secretariat put on a “rooftop party” with one free drink being provided. As the venue closed at midnight, delegates proceeded to the beach for an impromptu afterparty.

Venues, Communications and Logistics

Placed on top of a steep hill, the campus fairly close to the city. However, the heat and sun made the daily walk up the hill quite unpleasant, though this was hardly the Secretariat’s fault. Some committee rooms had a stunning view of the ocean, but a lack of power sockets hampered some committees.

The conference was organised through MyMUN, though most of the communications took place through the Facebook page. This aspect of the conference was well organised, though the fact that most people did not check MyMUN regularly meant that some messages were missed.

The Secretariat provided pastries and even had two proper espresso machines for coffee breaks. For lunch, sandwiches and pizzas were available for free, something that was thoughtful on the part of the secretariat especially as the university cafeteria was closed. This meant that no time was wasted on delegates having to leave in search of food.

The Secretariat has not yet provided a Right of Reply.

 

 

Decorum Reviews… PIMUN 2017

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Location: Paris

Dates: 31st May – 4th June

# of delegates: 450

# of committees: 18

Cost: delegate fee + social pack €105 (€90 early bird)

As the largest university-level international Model UN conference in France, PIMUN has a lot expected of it. It is also more pricey than many conferences, but is much longer and the delegate fee is included a social pack. Overall, the conference met these expectations with good quality debates and excellent socials, but it was let down by numerous and significant logistical issues.

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An intense session of one of the “Interconnectivity” committees

Academics

PIMUN’s committees were varied and diverse, with a total of 18 for delegates to pick from. Notably, there were three multi-cabinet crisis simulations, as well as “Interconnectivity”, a series of GA committees which reacted to what other committees had achieved.

PIMUN also featured the Arab-speaking Arab League, the French-speaking UNESCO, and the Spanish-speaking Organisation of Ibero-American States. Finally, the crisis simulations consisted of a two-cabinet UNSC crisis discussing the Taliban in Afghanistan, a “Face-Off” crisis based on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and a massive four-cabinet Historical Crisis based on the 1978-9 Iranian Revolution.

The conferences ended with a Plenary Session, which consisted of all delegates being assigned to a country and being placed together in a big hall, debating one topic. Due to the scale of the session, it was understandably slow and chaotic, though three draft resolutions were eventually produced with one being passed.

Ceremony
PIMUN’s opening ceremony

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony took place at the stunning Theatre de Paris. The ceremony itself, however, was hampered by poor ventilation leaving delegates suffering in the summer heat. Moreover, delegates were forced to wait outside for half an hour. Once inside, participants had to wait another 30 minutes before kick-off, setting the ceremony back an hour.

The ceremony itself followed the standard routine of the Deputy Secretary General introducing speakers, which included the President of SciencesPo Paris, followed by the guest speaker, former Spanish Foreign Minister and lecturer at SciencesPo, Miguel Angel Moratinos. The guest speaker talked about the need for optimism towards diplomacy in today’s uncertain world. Finally, the Secretary-General introduced the conference’s theme, “Pioneering a New World Order” and officially opened the conference.

The closing ceremony was also similarly badly timed. After starting 20 minutes late, the exhausted participants were treated to a 40-minute speech by Professor Bertrand Badie, who tackled many subjects passionately, ranging from income inequality to social disparities. Whilst the content of his speech was fascinating, the excessive length of the address meant participants lost interest, with many falling asleep after an extended week of debates and socials.

Awards were similarly drawn out, with chairs refusing to adhere to the Secretariat’s request for them to speak for only three minutes per committee. This meant that by the time crisis awards were given out, chairs were only allowed to quickly give honourable mentions, with the best delegates not even being invited on to stage.

Pub Crawl
Delegates unwind during the pub crawl

Socials

PIMUN featured a large number of socials, ranging from low-key pub crawls to club nights. Two of the more relaxed events was a cocktail reception after the opening ceremony and a pub crawl. The reception featured free wine and cocktails, which was greatly appreciated after a hot and stuffy opening ceremony. The pub crawl was a nice opportunity to break the ice and meet delegates from every committee, although some groups got strung out and ended up lost in the city.

The second social was a committee dinner, which took place at a location quite far from the university itself. Some delegates arrived before the Secretariat turned up and confusion ensued. The food itself was not included, though it was served remarkably quickly.

There were two club nights, a “cultural exchange” and a visit to Club Haussmann. The cultural exchange was a little pricey, with €5 beers and €7 cocktails, although one free drink was included. There was more confusion with some delegates showing up in black tie, having been informed that this would be a “formal event”. Club Haussmann was beautiful and the drinks prices were more reasonable plus another free drink was included.

The Secretariat also organised a “Touristic Afternoon”, with three themed guided tours of Paris, which was greatly appreciated by those delegates which didn’t take the free afternoon to rest!

Registration
Delegate registration

Venues, Logistics and Communications

The logistics were PIMUN’s greatest weakness. Whilst all the committee rooms were comfortable and WiFi connection adequate, the conference changed venue during the conference. This move was poorly communicated, resulting in delegates turning up late to the last day of committee.

The venues for the opening and closing ceremonies were grand but not easy to reach. For the closing ceremony, the Secretariat notified delegates at the last minute that luggage would not be allowed into the building, something rather inconvenient given that many delegates had to catch flights right after the ceremony. An ad-hoc solution was found but this was not publicised.

The free lunch that was given to delegates every day by the Secretariat was highly commendable. On the first day, some delegates were left waiting for over 20 minutes in a crowded and hot stairway, though this issue was solved in the following days. The Secretariat also kindly gave out pastries for breakfast in committee, something highly appreciated by hungover delegates.

Communication between delegates, chairs and secretariat was poor. The website and social media were underutilised, with updates and news being released far too late or giving partial information. For instance, the room of Plenary Session and Closing Ceremony was shared with delegates but not the building itself, leaving many delegates lost.

The Secretariat have not yet provided a Right of Reply.

 

 

Decorum Reviews … DamMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … DamMUN 2017

Location: Universiteit van Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam)

Dates: 21st – 23rd April

# of delegates: 120

# of committees: 4

Cost: delegate fee €50, social pack €20

Amsterdam’s first independent Model UN conference, DamMUN, held its inaugural session on the weekend of April 21st. Despite being new to the scene, the conference was excellently organised and brought a refreshing take on the traditional MUN format. Delegates praised the standard of debates as well as the socials.

Academics

DamMUN’s committees consisted of two beginner’s committees (ECOSOC and HRC), an intermediate committee (European Council) and an advanced committee (Historical Security Council, run as a crisis simulation).

Even though a large proportion of the delegates were inexperienced, the standard of debate was generally high. However, Raphael Heliot, a delegate in the European Council noted that it was a shame that, “not all countries were represented” in the committee.

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UNSC, DamMUN’s advanced committee

The conference recruited experienced chairs, receiving generally positive feedback. Delegates appreciated the willingness of their chairs to help during committee as well as the overall knowledge of ROP.

The crisis (UNSC) was well received, with delegate Carlen Leonard complimenting the “good crisis directing” and enjoyable experience overall. The use of Deus Crisis Software to handle directives was effective in facilitating a smooth crisis experience.

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony was held in a university lecture hall, but, unusually, scheduled before the registration period. Presenting a keynote speech was Yama Akbari, an Afghan refugee and Ambassador for Hope XXL. Despite her fascinating background, the speech itself meandered around various global issues with no real overarching theme or message.

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DamMUN’s closing ceremony

Nevertheless, the ceremony soon took off once the Secretary General took the floor and introduced the inaugural edition of DamMUN. It was a light-hearted and positive beginning, using this time to expand on the Dutch element of the conference and general housekeeping. After registration, the Secretariat had organised walking tours and an introductory workshop for crisis delegates which were both well-attended.

The closing ceremony was similarly lighthearted and succinct. The chairs gave their addresses, followed by the Secretary-General who gave a round-up of the conference, followed by some photographs from the socials, the less flattering of which generated much laughter in the room!

Socials

The Friday night social took place at the Boom Chicago Comedy Club in Amsterdam, where delegates were treated to a comedy show. This was followed by a night out organised by the Secretariat and local delegates, who helped those from out of town get to know Amsterdam’s nightlife.

Saturday’s club night took place at the Akhnaton Club in central Amsterdam. Though prices were relatively high (€3 for a small beer), this was not unexpected given the club’s location. The night went on until around 2am, when most of the delegates had left.

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Delegates enjoying Sunday’s closing social

The final social came after the closing ceremony on Sunday, where delegates and staff were invited to the university bar to indulge in beer and wine free of charge. This was an enjoyable wind-down after the conference and provided delegates with the opportunity to socialise without the thought of committee debates hanging over their heads.

DamMUN 2017 did not hold a formal dinner, but Daniel Page, Director of the UNSC Crisis, said, “I didn’t mind the lack of a formal dinner,” and that overall, “the socials were good value for money.”

Venues, Logistics and Communications

The conference was held on the modern CREA campus. Though the UNSC was held in a room that was slightly smaller than ideal, there were no other noteworthy issues. The building also conveniently had a bar/cafe area which was appreciated by sleep-deprived delegates. Lunch on both Saturday and Sunday was provided by the Secretariat in the form of fresh sandwiches and fruit, as well as coffee and tea.

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Lunch was provided on both days of conference

For the first 30 minutes of committee on Saturday, delegates were unable to access the university WiFi network which had gone down across campus. This was annoying but hardly the Secretariat’s fault.

Communications were fairly efficient, taking place through the Facebook page, various committee groups as well as MyMUN. The Crisis study guide was published fairly late, with country profiles being distributed either on the day or the day before. One noteworthy addition was the DamMUN Homestay group, which allowed local students to connect with delegates in order to find centrally located accommodation for prices far cheaper than hotels and hostels.

Right of Reply

“Building DamMUN one step, day, and delegate at a time allowed us the opportunity to tailor every part of the conference, and create a MUN experience by and for MUNners: being professional yet youthful, critical yet open, progressive yet classic, and of course, being serious while still having a good time.

Reflecting back on the conference now, I can say without hesitation that DamMUN’s inaugural edition was all that we hoped for and more. Of course, DamMUN hit some minor road bumps, notably half-an-hour without wifi and an eccentric opening speaker; but overall, the high quality of debate, logistic fluidity, overachieving chairs, and truly outstanding delegates made DamMUN a “dam” good conference (according to my mother). Stay tuned for DamMUN 2018!”

– Madeline Lawrence, Secretary-General, DamMUN 2017