Decorum Delegates reviews . . . OxIMUN 2016

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Quick Facts:

Location: Oxford

Date: Early November

# of delegates – 600

# of committees – 22

Cost: Delegate fee £55, social pack £37.50

The University of Oxford is known for hosting one of the most extravagant conferences in the UK. It caters to all experiences, be it a beginner or a veteran with 20 conferences under their belt. While Oxford is one of the most costly conferences out there, the prestige and standard of debate make it all worth it in the end.

Academics
OxIMUN offered a wide range of committees: 22 to be exact! For those delegates that enjoy a fast-paced and spontaneous environment, a Joint Crisis Committee on the 1913 Suffragette Movement was on offer; OPEC, a committee of heated debate and controversy was also available as well as the regular, intense and passionate Security Council. Beginners could improve their skills in diplomacy and debating in committees such as DISEC, WHO and UNEP, as the chairs were not only helpful but encouraged all delegates to take part at various points of the debating sessions. It is worth a mention that different levels of delegates, beginners or advanced, were more spread out in OxIMUN committees, so most committees had a couple that stood out from the start.

The study guides were of a high standard, with each topic well-laid out. For crisis, the backroom worked tirelessly; most notably, directives were never paused throughout the three days. One crisis delegate, who managed to debate in all three cabinets commented that it was one of the best crises they have ever been part of. However, delegates in some committees felt that their chairs could have done more to explain the rules of procedure for first-time delegates.

Ceremonies
The opening ceremony was held at the Oxford Town Hall and upon entering it, one could easily feel an aura of grandeur. Delegates were seated both on the ground floor and balcony, with chairs at the front, near the podium. The theme this year was “Where Is The Next Frontier? Looking Beyond Europe”. The ceremony was short and sweet, with the guest speaker being Sam Daws, the Director of the Project on UN Governance and Reform. Mr Daws spoke of the challenges that the new UN Secretary General faces, particularly in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Although some delegates did complain about the AV-issues which plagued Mr Daws’ speech and the Q&A session afterwards

Both the Secretary General, Shalaka Phadnis, and the DSG of Personnel, Owen Rapaport made speeches, with emphasis on co-operation, as Owen closed his speech with saying “It’s all about working together and finding common ground, that’s what OxIMUN is about”.

The closing ceremony, similar to the opening ceremony, was central, and at the Sheldonian Theatre, which again had an aura of grandeur about it. However, unlike opening ceremony, the closing ceremony was twice as long, but it was to be expected as there were 22 committees to give awards for. It is worth noting that the chairs had a good amount of time to reflect on their committee and explain how the awards were chosen in their individual committees; this was great for getting a feel of every committee and how their weekend went.

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Socials
The socials certainly appeared to live up to their name and the £37.5 price of the social pack! Friday night was the reception night at the Examination Halls; the architecture of the hall along with the red carpets certainly make the environment feel majestic and magical. What was so wonderful about this was that everyone was in the same place, so one could mingle with delegates, chairs and even the Secretariat! There was an open bar for drinks, which included both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments, and the bar staff were very generous with their portions.

On Saturday, as in previous years, different committees were in different dining halls for the committee dinners. This was great for almost every committee as the delegates and chairs were together, although crisis had to be separated into several different locations. Delegates and chairs were allowed to bring in their own wine for the dinner, or buy a bottle at their respective colleges, though the price per bottle was £15! Overall, the dinners were a hit, and everyone was felt the quality of the food and ambience were of excellent quality. For the club, chairs and delegates received free drinks vouchers, which made the overall price of the social worthwhile in the end.

Logistics and Communication
Prior to the conference, there was mixed feedback regarding the communications with the Secretariat, with some of the worst cases being that the delegates list was given to the chairs 3 days prior to the conference and there were cases of multiple delegates being assigned to the same country.

During the conference, however, the Secretariat were quick to sort out any issues with rooms, helped everyone with direction and guidance, and were of an impeccable standard overall. It is fair to say, any slip-ups that happened prior to the conference, were made up for with the faultless performance during the conference.

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