Decorum Reviews… PIMUN 2017

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Location: Paris

Dates: 31st May – 4th June

# of delegates: 450

# of committees: 18

Cost: delegate fee + social pack €105 (€90 early bird)

As the largest university-level international Model UN conference in France, PIMUN has a lot expected of it. It is also more pricey than many conferences, but is much longer and the delegate fee is included a social pack. Overall, the conference met these expectations with good quality debates and excellent socials, but it was let down by numerous and significant logistical issues.

Interconnectivity
An intense session of one of the “Interconnectivity” committees

Academics

PIMUN’s committees were varied and diverse, with a total of 18 for delegates to pick from. Notably, there were three multi-cabinet crisis simulations, as well as “Interconnectivity”, a series of GA committees which reacted to what other committees had achieved.

PIMUN also featured the Arab-speaking Arab League, the French-speaking UNESCO, and the Spanish-speaking Organisation of Ibero-American States. Finally, the crisis simulations consisted of a two-cabinet UNSC crisis discussing the Taliban in Afghanistan, a “Face-Off” crisis based on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and a massive four-cabinet Historical Crisis based on the 1978-9 Iranian Revolution.

The conferences ended with a Plenary Session, which consisted of all delegates being assigned to a country and being placed together in a big hall, debating one topic. Due to the scale of the session, it was understandably slow and chaotic, though three draft resolutions were eventually produced with one being passed.

Ceremony
PIMUN’s opening ceremony

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony took place at the stunning Theatre de Paris. The ceremony itself, however, was hampered by poor ventilation leaving delegates suffering in the summer heat. Moreover, delegates were forced to wait outside for half an hour. Once inside, participants had to wait another 30 minutes before kick-off, setting the ceremony back an hour.

The ceremony itself followed the standard routine of the Deputy Secretary General introducing speakers, which included the President of SciencesPo Paris, followed by the guest speaker, former Spanish Foreign Minister and lecturer at SciencesPo, Miguel Angel Moratinos. The guest speaker talked about the need for optimism towards diplomacy in today’s uncertain world. Finally, the Secretary-General introduced the conference’s theme, “Pioneering a New World Order” and officially opened the conference.

The closing ceremony was also similarly badly timed. After starting 20 minutes late, the exhausted participants were treated to a 40-minute speech by Professor Bertrand Badie, who tackled many subjects passionately, ranging from income inequality to social disparities. Whilst the content of his speech was fascinating, the excessive length of the address meant participants lost interest, with many falling asleep after an extended week of debates and socials.

Awards were similarly drawn out, with chairs refusing to adhere to the Secretariat’s request for them to speak for only three minutes per committee. This meant that by the time crisis awards were given out, chairs were only allowed to quickly give honourable mentions, with the best delegates not even being invited on to stage.

Pub Crawl
Delegates unwind during the pub crawl

Socials

PIMUN featured a large number of socials, ranging from low-key pub crawls to club nights. Two of the more relaxed events was a cocktail reception after the opening ceremony and a pub crawl. The reception featured free wine and cocktails, which was greatly appreciated after a hot and stuffy opening ceremony. The pub crawl was a nice opportunity to break the ice and meet delegates from every committee, although some groups got strung out and ended up lost in the city.

The second social was a committee dinner, which took place at a location quite far from the university itself. Some delegates arrived before the Secretariat turned up and confusion ensued. The food itself was not included, though it was served remarkably quickly.

There were two club nights, a “cultural exchange” and a visit to Club Haussmann. The cultural exchange was a little pricey, with €5 beers and €7 cocktails, although one free drink was included. There was more confusion with some delegates showing up in black tie, having been informed that this would be a “formal event”. Club Haussmann was beautiful and the drinks prices were more reasonable plus another free drink was included.

The Secretariat also organised a “Touristic Afternoon”, with three themed guided tours of Paris, which was greatly appreciated by those delegates which didn’t take the free afternoon to rest!

Registration
Delegate registration

Venues, Logistics and Communications

The logistics were PIMUN’s greatest weakness. Whilst all the committee rooms were comfortable and WiFi connection adequate, the conference changed venue during the conference. This move was poorly communicated, resulting in delegates turning up late to the last day of committee.

The venues for the opening and closing ceremonies were grand but not easy to reach. For the closing ceremony, the Secretariat notified delegates at the last minute that luggage would not be allowed into the building, something rather inconvenient given that many delegates had to catch flights right after the ceremony. An ad-hoc solution was found but this was not publicised.

The free lunch that was given to delegates every day by the Secretariat was highly commendable. On the first day, some delegates were left waiting for over 20 minutes in a crowded and hot stairway, though this issue was solved in the following days. The Secretariat also kindly gave out pastries for breakfast in committee, something highly appreciated by hungover delegates.

Communication between delegates, chairs and secretariat was poor. The website and social media were underutilised, with updates and news being released far too late or giving partial information. For instance, the room of Plenary Session and Closing Ceremony was shared with delegates but not the building itself, leaving many delegates lost.

The Secretariat have not yet provided a Right of Reply.

 

 

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