Location: Cambridge University
Dates: 27-29th October
# of delegates: 400
# of committees: 11
Cost: delegate fee £45, full social pack £35
A mainstay of the UK circuit, this year’s CUIMUN offered a wide variety of committees, headed by experienced chairs and attended by enthusiastic delegates. A well-rounded conference overall, delegates found CUIMUN to be a weekend well spent, debating and socialising in the picturesque city of Cambridge.
To see how this year’s conference compared to the previous edition, check out our review of CUIMUN XXII.
CUIMUN offered a large range of committees, 11 in total, ranging from the World Bank to the Security Council. The number of committees meant that whilst delegates were given a wide variety of choice, GA committees were also rather large.
In an interesting change from previous iterations of the conference, CUIMUN 2017 had two 2-cabinet crises rather than one large simulation. Whilst the Historical Crisis (aimed at experienced delegates, simulating the Chinese Civil War) was well-received, the Fictional Crisis (designed for beginner crisis delegates, focusing on the Trojan War) saw complaints about the running of the crisis, particularly during the conference itself.
Overall, however, delegates appreciated the professionalism and organisation of their chairs. Position papers were required by the conference for non-crisis committees.
Both the opening and closing ceremonies were held at the main chamber of the Cambridge Union, a historic venue in the centre of Cambridge. The opening ceremony saw an ex-Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Julian Huppert, who spoke about his time at Cambridge University and his role in founding Cambridge’s Model UN society. This was followed by Alex Mayer, a Labour MEP, who talked about her election as well as the future of the UK with regards to Brexit. Both speakers were personal yet concise and insightful, leaving participants intrigued and keeping them fresh for the committee sessions. This was followed by the Secretary-General officially declaring the conference open.
The closing ceremony was even more efficient, without a guest speaker present. Chairs were concise in summarising what took place during committee sessions as well as presenting awards. Despite being short and to the point, the prestige of the venue made the proceedings enjoyable as well as quick.
CUIMUN’s Friday social took place at Vodka Revolution, with the “spooky” theme being revealed on the day. Delegations met up before heading to the social, meaning that most participants turned up ready to enjoy the night. The Secretariat had rented out a private room, allowing for conference participants to mingle with each other. The wristband included one free drink which was appreciated, though prices for drinks were not unreasonable themselves. Delegates enjoyed this social, and stayed until the early hours of the morning.
The Saturday night Formal Hall Dinner was spread out over St John’s and Darwin Colleges. Delegates at St John’s College were not allowed to bring in alcohol, and none was served during the dinner. Meanwhile, delegates lucky enough to be allocated to Darwin College were given 3 glasses of wine for free. After the dinner, delegates gradually made their way to the club night, held at Kuda. The club night was enjoyed by some delegates, but others were disappointed by the low turnout and the quality of the club itself. Delegates arrived in small groups at different times, quickly leaving when they did not find anyone. This made the club night a rather disappointing exception to the quality of the overall conference.
Venues, Logistics, and Communications
CUIMUN’s committees and simulations were spread out over multiple constituent colleges of Cambridge University. Delegates reported that the rooms were generally good, though some committees were located a significant distance apart. Due to the size of the conference, however, it would be unrealistic for all committees to be located centrally.
The Secretariat performed well with logistical issues. The usual problems with Wifi access were quickly solved, with alternate college visitors Wifi access being procured by the Secretariat. Overall, delegates and chairs felt that the Secretariat were helpful and responsive.
Communications were another strong point of CUIMUN. The Secretariat were in constant contact with delegates and chairs, ensuring that any issues were quickly resolved before the actual conference began. During the conference, the Secretariat were maintained contact with the chairs and committees, though this was hampered by the physical spread of the committees.
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