Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Dates: 13th – 17th March
# of delegates: 2,250
# of committees: 20
Cost: Delegate fee $150, Social pack $100, Night Zero Social $15
Harvard World Model United Nations is one of the largest college-level conferences in the world. Hosted in a different city each year, the conference is organised jointly by Harvard and a host team. This year’s edition was held in Montreal, with Dawson College as the host team.
The weeklong conference is expensive but offers extremely competitive debate and excellent socials. The conference was also exceptionally well run this year despite serious weather challenges. Unfortunately, the conference continues to be let down by inexperienced chairs.
WorldMUN is well-known as a competitive conference: most delegates are either experienced, well-trained or well prepared. The conference offered a wide range of committees, 20 in total, including seven GA committees, six ECOSOC and regional body committees, and seven historical and crisis committees. Most committees were double delegate, making the average committee size extremely large. This provides a unique and often hectic lobbying experience but lowers the quality of debate.
Sadly, the experience of delegates stood in stark contrast to that of the Head Chairs. The selected chairs were frequently less experienced than both the Assistant Chairs and delegates. Numerous delegates reported Head Chairs who were ignorant of some or most aspects of RoP. This severely limited the overall academic quality of committee sessions.
The opening ceremony was held at a conference venue and featured a large number of speakers from both the organising teams and invited guests. As a result, the ceremony lasted a lengthy two-and-a-half hours, a point that even one guest speaker alluded to. Nonetheless, the ceremony featured many highlights including a pipe band and an incredible (and at points tear-jerking) performance by Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli, a breakdancer who suffers from Arthrogryposis.
The closing ceremony was held at the stunning Maison Symphonique du Montreal, home of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. After a brief performance from a stringed quartet, the organisers launched into a number of speeches thanking those who had helped put on the conference. Next followed three guest speakers, who mercifully kept their remarks brief. After much nervous anticipation, the ceremony eventually moved onto the awards presentations. Naturally, given the large number of committees, chairs were not given the opportunity to speak and the awards were instead presented by members of the Secretariat. Whilst the closing ceremony was fairly lengthy, the excited and friendly atmosphere made the experience enjoyable.
WorldMUN put on an impressive array of socials. For $100, the social pack gave access to five club nights; another $15 allowed delegates to attend the pre-conference “Night Zero” social.
The venues were unique across all five nights. In particular, delegates found were wowed by live dancers at Club Unity, delegation performances at Cabaret, and the massive New City Gas. The cost of drinks varied according to the venue, but only a one or two venues were particularly expensive (for clubs, at least). Delegates initially complained about the need to pay for coat check, given that they had already paid the social pack fee, although the cost was much lower or nothing later in the week.
A traditional highlight of WorldMUN is “Global Village”, where delegations bring food and drink from their home countries and participate in vigorous cultural exchange. This year was no exception. Unfortunately, some delegates enjoyed themselves a little too much, resulting in the party being closed down by the police and chaos as delegates attempted to leave the venue, although this was hardly the Secretariat’s fault.
Venues, logistics and communication
Delegates reported that logistics were exceptionally smooth, despite an unseasonable snowstorm. The conference offered a number of accommodation options nearby the conference venues and most of the social events were located within walking distance of the conference venue. Delegate registration was very well run, with few delegates reporting any issues.
The conference venue was held at the Palais de Congres, a gargantuan conference centre, situated in downtown Montreal. The rooms were adequately sized to comfortably accommodate each committee and delegates had easy access to tables, water and reliable WiFi. Numerous lunch options were provided within the conference venue and the organisers had negotiated discounts are a few of these.
Communication, both by email and in-person feedback sessions, was frequent, fast and accurate. The organisers were quick to respond to any issues that arose and were approachable and courteous throughout the conference.
Right of Reply
The Secretariat could not be reached for their Right of Reply.