Location: Leeds, UK
Dates: 17th-19th February
# of delegates: ~60
# of committees: 4
Cost: delegate fee £12 (early bird)/£15 (standard), social pack £30
LeedsMUN, now in its fourth iteration, is a staple conference in the North of England. This year saw delegates participate in committees such as the Security Council, DISEC, HRC and a two-cabinet Crisis, set during Caesar’s Civil War. Delegates were happy with the socials, though felt that some aspects of committee and logistical organisation could be improved upon for next year.
The choice of committees in this year’s LeedsMUN were fairly standard and well-rounded, with the inclusion of beginner-friendly committees like DISEC and HRC, but also catering for more experienced delegates with the Security Council and a Crisis simulation. Most delegates were happy with the standard of debate, but a delegate in DISEC said that the exclusion of key countries such as China was unexpected and reduced the scope for debate.
Feedback on the crisis simulation was mixed, mainly concerning the shortage of backroom staff recruited by the Secretariat slowing directive responses. But overall, delegates were pleased by the experience in the frontroom.
The opening ceremony saw the guest speaker, Dr. Nir Anielli, give a speech about the Middle East. The address itself gave a very brief overview of the region’s history and some of its legacies in the form of current issues. Unfortunately, the speech lacked a particular focus and some delegates found it difficult to follow. The Secretary General’s opening was much appreciated for her liveliness and brevity.
LeedsMUN’s closing ceremony saw the venue changed to a fourth-floor room in the Student’s Union due to a last minute change of room bookings. The tone was noticeably more enthusiastic, with chairs’ speeches bringing much laughter and cheering. Most speeches were concise, keep the ceremony short and to the point.
Friday’s club night was held at Revolution in central Leeds. Despite some confusion about the location of the social itself (downstairs, away from the main bar), all delegates arrived in good order. Delegates appreciated the private area, meaning that it was intimate yet not crowded. Nick Meadowcroft-Lunn, a chair in crisis, said that the night was “excellent […] even if the alcohol was expensive”.
For the formal dinner on Saturday night, delegates were informed that food would be served at 19:30, though service did not actually begin until 20:00. However, the quality of the food was generally commended, as well as the presence of a private DJ. Each table was provided with two bottles of wine, but a private hotel bar was also available for particularly thirsty delegates.
Venues, Logistics and Communications
The first session of the weekend, on Friday, was set in a maze-like series of rooms in a building many delegates, even from Leeds, found rather hard to navigate. The crisis rooms lacked more than one table, and delegates found the experience disorientating. On Saturday and Sunday, however, sessions were located in the much more straightforward Parkinson’s Building, which had ample facilities and was generally accessible for all delegates. The Secretariat also received much praise for their provision of tea, coffee and biscuits during breaks, which undoubtedly helped delegates power through the final hours of committee. This was especially useful, since there weren’t many cafes open in the area during the weekend.
Communication between delegates, chairs and the Secretariat were generally described as efficient and pleasant. The LeedsMUN website and Facebook page provided regular updates, as did the ‘Decorum’ communication platform (essentially a chatroom) which was praised by delegates as a useful tool, though not all delegates were using it. No major communication hiccups were reported.
Right of Reply
“We are very pleased that the reviewer as well as the participants thought this was a good conference. We aim to provide an accessible and beginner-friendly conference both financially and in spirit while at the same time maintaining the standards of the debate. We are also glad that some of the unique touches of our conference such as the free tea and coffee and the Decorum messaging system were appreciated. The issues with the Friday rooms in a far-from-ideal location as well as the last-minute change of the venue for the Closing Ceremony were found to be unfortunate by the Secretariat itself as these issues were caused within the room booking system out of our control. We are already working closely with the student union to make sure this will not be a repeated issue next year. We look forward to seeing you again at LeedsMUN 2018!”
– Cecily Holt, Secretary-General, LeedsMUN 2017