Location: Oxford University
Dates: 3rd-5th November
# of delegates – 500
# of committees – 25
Cost: £102 (delegate fee and social pack, no option was given to purchase separately)
One of the UK’s most prestigious conferences offered a huge variety of committees, with delegates from UK, Europe and the world attending to spend their weekend simulating Model UN. The conference was praised for its high level of academic debate. However, this year’s conference was marred by logistical difficulties and let down by the Saturday night social.
To see how this year’s conference compared to the previous edition, check out our review of OxIMUN 2016.
Committees were generally enjoyable and catered mostly to the intermediate and advanced levels. Even though some delegates had very little prior MUN experience, this did not affect the debate in any way and in fact reinforced the high level of preparation that a lot of MUN societies have. This is a credit to the delegates as a few committees did not receive study guides until the week prior to the conference and that some didn’t receive welcome emails from their chairs. Moreover, the Secretariat cancelled the submission of position papers at the last moment. A consensus also arose that the session on Friday was too long, and could have been shortened if the opening ceremony was held later.
The opening ceremony was somewhat uneventful. The Secretary-General gave a few opening remarks, after which The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP gave an opening lecture. A mixture of the fact that it was too early and that there was no real feeling of grandeur in the opening ceremony made it hard to focus. Needless to say, the ceremony wasn’t too long, which is always nice.
The closing ceremony was held at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre, which emulated the grand Oxford feeling. The ceremony was surprisingly fast-paced, which, as previously mentioned, is always nice. Although there was no “Best Delegation” award, delegates enjoyed the efficiency of the event.
The Friday social, held at the historic Ashmolean Museum, was lovely – perhaps the highlight of the weekend. All the delegates had the opportunity to put on their tuxedos, ball gowns and drink wine whilst discussing MUN at one of the most famous museums. The jazz band added to the lovely atmosphere of the social, and the canapés were delicious.
However, on Saturday night the delegates were disappointed to learn that there would be no formal dinners – a highlight of past conferences. Instead, every committee had to organise their own dinner at a restaurant of their choice. Making such arrangements at the last minute on a Saturday night was predictably difficult. Moreover, the club social did not start until 10:30pm, which meant that quite a few people decided to go home and sleep instead (as some committee dinners were between 6:30pm and 7:30pm).
Venues, Logistics, and Communication
Overall, the conference was enjoyable, yet some of the communication prior to the conference was somewhat patchy, and some delegates did not receive welcome emails from their chairs. The allocations were also delayed. Reportedly, these problems were the result of many chairs not receiving contact details for their delegates which meant they were unable to get in touch. This issue also resulted in great confusion with regards to the submission of position papers which were, in effect, cancelled at the last minute.
The queue for registration was understandable, as all societies arrived pretty much at the same time. The disappointment came when Head Delegates kept emerging with just name tags – no welcome pack, no goody-bag, nothing extra to remember the conference by. This, unfortunately, disenchanted some members of various delegations, who have travelled around the world to participate in MUNs, and have always enjoyed the nice gesture of a goody bag and welcome pack. This was also especially surprising given the high cost of the conference.
Right of Reply
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