Welcome back to Decorum Delegates! Another season of MUN is beginning and we’ll be at conferences big and small across the UK and beyond, letting you know exactly what goes down.
We’re really excited to kick things off with ManMUN, one of UK’s first conferences of the season and our first time reviewing a conference two years running!
Location: Manchester, UK
Dates: 20th – 22nd October
Number of committees: 6
Number of delegates: 150
Cost: delegate fee £35 (£30 early bird), social pack: £35 (£30 early bird)
The University of Manchester Model UN society returns this year to provide a thoroughly well-organised and professional conference. The conference has built on its strengths from last year and has successfully improved on many of the issues that took away from last year’s conference. A few problems remain, but these were minor and did not prevent the conference from being of a very high standard.
The committees were a healthy mix of conventional committees such as DISEC, UNHRC, and UNSC, as well as a few niche and advanced committees, such as the IMF and a Crisis Committee. The variety meant there was something for everyone, regardless of experience. Topics were fairly standard, varying from freedom of expression in the media, and women in election to specific issues such as an arms embargo in South Sudan and nuclear weapons disarmament in the Middle East. The Crisis simulated the Genpei War in Japan.
Chairs in beginner committees took care to explain RoP, and overall the chairs were usually forgiving of mistakes in RoP in all committees. In an improvement to last year’s conference, detailed RoP were provided on the conference website beforehand. For new delegates who may find the high level of detail daunting, intuitive flow diagrams outlining the structure of debate and resolution writing process were handily provided in the delegate handbook. Such improvements show a clear effort to improve and make the conference accessible in all areas. However, some briefing papers lacked bloc positions that would have been helpful in structuring debate.
The main highlight of the opening ceremony was a panel discussion with three University of Manchester lecturers: Dr. Shogo Suzuki, Dr. Japhy Wilson, and Professor Peter Gries on the topic of ‘The New World Order’. Delegates and chairs were invited to ask the speakers questions and engage in the dialogue focusing on the topic of a rising China. The opening ceremony was then addressed by the SG. Though the discussion kept the audience engaged, at times it felt a little bit like an IR lecture.
The closing ceremony kicked off with the screening of a conference video featuring clips from the three days of debate. This was followed by a humorous announcement of conference awards such as ‘Best Dressed’, ‘Manmeme’ (the best meme posted on the ManMUN’s twitter account), and screenshots of some of the Secretariat’s favourite tweets. The committee awards were then presented, followed by a closing speech by the SG. The absence of a guest speaker was a good choice, keeping the closing ceremony short and sweet.
The socials on Friday and Saturday were decent overall and met delegates’ expectations. The Friday lounge evening was very relaxed and enjoyable. The venue of the Slug and Lettuce was pleasant: the top floor was reserved for delegates and included access to an outdoor balcony area. The most notable aspect of the evening, however, was the reasonably priced drinks, along with one free drink for each delegate.
The Saturday formal featured a ‘Casino Royale’ themed three-course dinner. Dinner was delayed slightly but this did not seem to harm the joyous mood of the evening. The issue of space was anticipated in advance and dealt with appropriately, with overflow tables being provided for those who were unable to sit with their committee. The dinner also had a photo booth that kept many delegates entertained. After dinner, the tables were moved to make room for a dancefloor for delegates to enjoy.
Venues, Communication, and Logistics
The conference did a much better job of dealing with the size of the University of Manchester this year by having all the committee sessions take place on different floors of the same, easy to locate building. This made it extremely convenient for delegations to meet up after committee sessions and meant no hungover delegates were getting lost on Saturday or Sunday morning. Committee rooms were suitable and tables were able to be rearranged to better suit debate.
The Secretariat did an excellent job of managing logistics for the conference. Much of this was down to careful preparation and intelligent room choice. In addition to this, maps, itineraries and lunch suggestions were posted on the various committee Facebook pages to help delegates find their way and to make the conference run smoothly.
Right of Reply
“Thank you for the kind review of ManMUN 2017! We are grateful that the efforts we have made to improve the conference have been noticed. We will certainly take in the constructive criticism. For ManMUN 2018, we will provide the chairs with a clearer format to follow vis-à-vis bloc positions. As for the opening ceremony, as this is our first attempt in hosting a panel discussion rather than the usual lecture style speech, we will definitely work towards having a more diverse group of speakers. Overall, thank you for the generous review!”
– Secretary-General, Guillaume Pans, ManMUN 2017