Location: London, UK
Dates: February 24th – 26th
# of delegates: 1600
# of committees: 35
Cost: Delegate fee £70 (£65 early bird), social pack £30 (£25 early bird)
Now in its 18th year, LIMUN 2017 continues to serve as Europe’s largest MUN conference. Organised by an inter-university secretariat and hosted by Imperial College London, this conference is pricey (both in terms of conference fees and its London location) but provides an experience that is difficult to match in the UK. Highlights included the diverse range of committees, excellent (if expensive) socials and a speedy closing ceremony. Issues included some logistical difficulties and a drawn out opening ceremony.
This year’s conference boasted a 35-committee smorgasbord of MUN. The staples were included, of course: UNSC, DISEC, UNHRC and all the rest. But it was committees including the International Olympic Committee, the Global Health Cluster and 5 separate foreign-language committees that distinguishes LIMUN for other conferences on the UK circuit.
A nice touch were the “summits”, in which select delegates from certain committees came together for a short midday session before reporting back to their original committees. The conference also featured a 4-cabinet crisis and a fantasy “United Nations Commission on Sokovia” from the Marvel universe.
Moreover, these committees were spread out across beginner, intermediate and advanced tiers, giving delegates of all abilities the opportunity to participate. Study guides were praised as being comprehensive, but crucially, delivered in plenty of time before the conference.
Friday’s social was held at the Pulse Vault nightclub, a large venue with multiple dance floors, bars and “chill out areas”. Drinks were reasonably priced for a London club night with £4 pints and £6 spirit mixers. While the event was a little under-attended, delegates lit up the main dancefloor, which was adorned with national flags. It was a little odd that the social began at 9:15pm, given that committee sessions only ended at 9pm and the venue was at least 30 minutes away from the conference!
Highlights from LIMUN 2017
Saturday saw delegate’s put on their finest attire for the “Royal” LIMUN Ball. The venue, the Grand Connaught Rooms, certainly lived up to its name: an elegant staircase invited delegates into a cavernous main room and dance floor. The Secretariat also laid on a photobooth and plenty of food for delegates. Unfortunately, the lavish venue had drinks prices to match (£4.60 for a bottle of beer) and the two bars struggled to cope with hordes of thirsty delegates. Fortunately, this didn’t kill the party vibe and the dancefloor was packed into the small hours of the morning.
LIMUN’s opening ceremony was held at the iconic Central Hall Westminster, located beside the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The venue was particularly apposite given that it hosted the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1946. Highlights of the opening ceremony included a parade of flags and a nicely-shot countdown video, which set it apart from standard MUN conferences. The opening also included three guest speakers, H.E. Mogens Lykketoft (former President of the UN General Assembly), H.E. Danilo Türk (former President of Slovenia and former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN) and H.E. Kate Gilmore (Deputy High Commissioner for Human Right of the UN). While all three are highly decorated international statespeople, their speeches were lengthy and delegates were visibly restless by the end.
LIMUN’s closing ceremony was mercifully short. This was an exceptional feat given that the awards of 35 committees had to be announced, and was achieved by not inviting a guest speaker and making chairs keep their speeches concise. The ceremony was held at the Royal Geographical Society which was far too small for the assembled delegates. As a result, most delegates had to watch the closing ceremony from considerably more austere rooms throughout Imperial’s campus. As a result of this, the Secretariat made delegates sit with their committee, leading to some awkwardness as awards were announced.
Venues, logistics and communication
Imperial’s labyrinthine campus provided plenty of space for the conference but the quality of committee rooms varied greatly. Many delegates found themselves in pleasant and well-appointed surroundings, others in decrepit lecture theatres. There were also issues with WiFi which was limited to Eduroam (which at one point was temporarily overloaded) and The Cloud (extremely temperamental).
On the whole, the Secretariat were extremely responsive to requests from delegates and chairs throughout the weekend, making the conference experience smooth. The Secretariat was particularly praised for providing delegates with lunch on campus, included within the delegate fee.
The most significant logistical issue arose from the collection of social packs on Friday evening. Many delegates were not able to collect theirs at registration and as a result had to wait until after committee session to pick them up. However, the need to ID delegates made the process lengthy and poor communication resulted in a long, slow and disorderly queue.
Right of reply
The Secretariat chose not to exercise its right of reply.