Location: Birmingham, UK
Dates: January 27th – 29th
# of committees: 7
# of delegates: 195
Cost: Delegate Fee – £35, Social Pack – £20 (Early Bird Delegate Fee + Social Pack – £50)
UBIMUN, organised by the University of Birmingham, has for a long time been known for its crisis simulations. This year’s edition offered a high level of debate, including a wide range of committees, but could have improved its organisation and socials.
The Committees at the conference were standard ones (Security Council, DISEC, HRC, ECOSOC, UNEP, UNDP) with topics such as combatting internal and external terrorism and the South China Sea dispute. The Crisis Simulation was divided into an ambitious six cabinets, which focused on the Cold War in the year 1983. The study guides were well written as the information provided was enough to give the delegates a basic view on the topic, but not supplement their research.
Many of the delegates were beginners but the level of debate was generally of good quality. The delegate of Denmark in ECOSOC reflected on her first conference:
“I was not sure what to expect. But, luckily I was not the only first-timer, so everything became clear quite quickly. Overall, I have had a very nice experience for my first MUN and it encouraged me to think about participating in MUN again.”
The opening ceremony took place in a small lecture theatre at University of Birmingham campus. The ceremony was satisfactory; it consisted of short speeches by the secretariat and a long presentation given by Professor Kerry Brown from King’s College who is an expert in Chinese studies. Typical of MUN opening ceremony, his speech was a bit monotonous and hard to follow at times, however, he ended with a livelier Q&A session.
The closing ceremony was more interesting: Sir Stewart Eldon, a former representative of the UK at the UN and NATO, spoke about the election of Donald Trump and reflected on its implications for the wider world. The speech was extremely engaging and the enraptured delegates listened contently. Plus, the speech wasn’t inordinately long, leaving plenty of time for chairs to announce awards.
The Friday evening social was a black-tie event gala/charity organised in conjunction with Oxfam. However, there was some difficult hearing the speeches being made by the invited guests from Oxfam. The free bar was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening – although it was shut for a period of time in an attempt to allow delegates to hear the speakers. This left many thirsty delegates loitering at the bar for a good portion of the evening.
The Saturday club night was held at the Birmingham Student Union. The entry was included in the social pack, but the drinks were not – fortunately SU prices were very affordable. While the social event was enjoyable for those in large delegations, because there was no designated area for delegates, some delegates had difficulty finding one another in the throng of other students.
Venues, Logistics and Communication
The Secretariat received mixed reviews regarding the quality of logistics and communication during the conference. In general, the organisation was smooth. For instance, WiFi was provided throughout the conference for all delegates.
A few delegates complained that their committee rooms were a little too cosy. Moreover, some had difficulty finding transport to the conference from their accommodation in Birmingham, as the university’s campus is located outside of the city centre.
Finally, the Secretariat made a good effort by providing lunch for delegates. Unfortunately, many delegates found the sandwich and bag of crisps a bit Spartan. However, there were other options available to delegates who wished to purchase lunch.
Right of Reply
UBIMUN is proud to be one of the largest conferences in the U.K. run by a single university and we are extremely happy to hear all the positive feedback, especially regarding UBIMUN’s value for money for the conference and socials and also the feedback on our successful large crisis simulation. Moreover, to hear that socials and debates were enjoyed by experienced and new delegates is extremely positive to hear. Many of the points taken here will be worked on for future conferences such as tailoring guest speeches to the wider audience more closely. Regarding transportation, the university has its own train station and is easily accessible however we will stress this more next year.
– Angus Gillan, Secretary General, UBIMUN 2017