Decorum Reviews…YorkMUN 2018

Decorum Reviews…YorkMUN 2018

Overview

 

Location: University of York

Dates: 2 – 4 February

Number of Delegates: 75

Number of Committees: 4

York Model United Nations is a gem of the North in the UK Model United Nations scene and provides the best of Yorkshire for a weekend conference experience. With a quiet campus location for four committees, YorkMUN offers delegates new to MUN, or those looking for something more avant-garde, a great way to connect with people on engaging topics in a relaxed committee environment.

Academics

27628665_533426770364661_6836065800339670351_o
United Nations Security Council delegates in committee

Two committees were General Assembly and security-based, with the United Nations Security Council (debating on North Korea and recognising Kurdish independence) and the Disarmament and International Security Committee (topics include monitoring the weapons trade of small arms and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea). Beginner delegates made up a significant portion of these committees, however they surely delivered in providing a great way for delegates new to Rules of Procedure and dynamics of debate to engage with more experienced delegates.

 

The Crisis Committee was based on The First Opium War and was widely enjoyed by delegates new and experienced to crisis with a chance to engage in a simulation of naval battles and colonial invasion. Without deviating from the traditional war game of crisis committees, crisis staff and delegates were serious the entire way through with satisfying reviews.

 

The Brexit Negotiations Committee delivered a completely different approach to debate with soft crisis elements of ongoing talks and moderated debate with more leadership and participation in establishing topics and respective national positions. With an ambitious objective of simulating negotiations still in progress, delegates were thrusted in a trial of fire in learning the art of the deal.

Ceremonies

27747744_533433893697282_1473180719797045812_o
The guest speaker, Natalie Bennett, gives the opening remarks

Opening and closing ceremonies were short and sweet, with no unnecessary sections while engaging the entire audience attention. The opening ceremony hosted Natalie Bennett, former Leader of the Green Party, who gripped the room in sharing her views on foreign policy and international issues, followed by the opening of the conference by the Secretary-General without delay. Closing ceremony went by quickly with a wholesome end, featuring a video of candid moments throughout committee sessions and in between.

Socials

The socials of the conference made the most out of York’s finest establishments for the town’s diverse population and added a Northern touch to a good night out. Delegate social pack costed £35, which covered entry into the final venue for Friday’s bar crawl and the Saturday Night Ball, hosted at The Hilton York.

The bars on Friday were interestingly different from each other with a different class to each one, the final venue being the club Society, which was conveniently hosting a student night. The Saturday Night Ball was a great evening with something different, giving delegates a generous 5 free drinks and started off with a live band performing rock and metal classics, before a DJ served tasteful chart music for the dancefloor.  

 

However, there was a confusion of venue location as there were two Hilton Hotels in York and a member of the organisation posted the wrong address, resulting in some people missing out the first half of the social.

Venue, Logistics and Communications

27798294_533426177031387_6429190054486056028_o
The Secretariat take a quick break for their official photograph

All rooms and committees were in the same section of the same building, including the Secretariat room within easy reach. Crisis Committee rooms were on the same floor and there was plenty of space and provision of electric extension cables to go around. Lunch was provided on Saturday with an assortment of sandwiches and all committees were well hydrated. Campus stores and cafes were within reach however there was not a lot of variety because of the considerable distance between the town centre and the university.

Secretariat paid special attention to immediate feedback for chairs and always were committed to seeing the progress of debate. As the organisational aspects went by smoothly, there was always an opportunity to talk to Secretariat and member of other committees throughout the conference.

Right of Reply

The YorkMUN Secretariat would like to say nothing more than thank you for the honest review, we hope to see Decorum Delegates reviewers at future YorkMUNs!”

Acknowledgements

Decorum Delegates thanks the YorkMUN Secretariat for granting permission to use the photographs from the conference. Photo credits to Becky Sparks Photography.

Advertisements

Decorum Reviews…LSEMUN 2018

Decorum Reviews…LSEMUN 2018

Overview

Location: The London School of Economics

Dates: 26 – 28 January

Number of Delegates: 120

Number of Committees: 6

London Security Exercise Model United Nations is a staple of the UK circuit and often draws in delegates that otherwise prefer General Assembly committees elsewhere. The conference featured a broad range of crisis themes for different experience levels, impressive socials and well-run ceremonies.

 

Academics

27710247_1176601242475215_8798437547505373251_o
A delegate in the Harry Potter Crisis plans his next move

The conference featured 6 crises committees. For lovers of fantasy, there was a Harry Potter committee that role-played the Second Wizarding War. For beginners looking for a more traditional crisis experience, the conference offered two different crises: The dissolution of the USSR and the Spanish Civil War. There were two historical crises on offer that generally had more experienced delegates. One dealt with political and military tensions over British Hong Kong in the 1980s and the other was set in Japan, during the Boshin War.

Perhaps the most innovative crisis at the conference was the US Election crisis where every seat counted towards the final presidential victory. Although the delegates weren’t really able to send directives on the last day of the conference, the televised elements of the crisis and the anticipation of final results provided adequate entertainment.

27503718_1176597025808970_5974368455484912935_o
The President-elect of the USA is sworn in

Ceremonies

27629063_1176605242474815_4407877577135386527_o
The Secretary General officially opens the conference

Both the opening and the closing ceremonies went by smoothly despite some expected initial delays and the secretariat successfully stuck to the schedules. The location, whilst largely unremarkable was the same for both ceremonies and at the site of registration which was rather convenient for participants. The closing ceremony featured a series of heartfelt speeches by the secretariat and a video of conference highlights that served as a good conclusion to a very dynamic conference.

 

Socials

27788397_1176589809143025_5250466753851647817_o
Members of the Secretariat at the Saturday night social

The socials were a real highlight of the conference. LSEMUN allowed delegates to purchase £25 full social packs for both Friday and Saturday nights or a £15  half-social pack for the first night only. Friday’s social was held at Bloomsbury Lanes, a short bus ride from the conference venue. A social pack included entry to the venue as well as 2 drinks vouchers and pizza. The venue featured 5 private bowling lanes, a karaoke room, arcade games as well as pool, foosball and ping pong tables. One participant described the night as ‘the best social they’ve been to in London”. Many stayed until the 2 AM closing time.

 

Although Saturday night’s social had a hard time living up to the first night, the conference still managed to secure a semi-private area for conference participants at Tiger Tiger London in Piccadilly and provided 2 drinks vouchers that somewhat offset the steep price of drinks at London clubs. The night also benefited from being generally less busy than you’d expect a central London club to be on a Saturday night.

 

Venues, Logistics and Communications

 

All crisis committees were based in the same building, which was great for seeing both old and new friends no matter what crisis they were participating in. The location also had convenient public transport links and had a good variety of restaurants for delegates to choose from during lunch. The secretariat were generally easy to find and provided snacks and bottled water throughout Saturday. Pre-conference communication was also good with emails swiftly notifying delegates of any room changes.

 

The only noticeable issue was that some rooms were particularly smelly due to issues with sewage in the building which were only partially fixed by the end of the conference, although that is hardly the fault of the secretariat.

 

Right of Reply

“Thank you again for another year of positive feedback! As one of the few crisis-centric conferences in Europe, we always try to focus on improving the delegate experience and we are glad that our better-value socials, more immersive crises, and beginner training session were so well received. While room booking complications and external logistics out of our control meant that some delegates had problems with their room, we tried wherever possible to move delegates to better locations. On behalf of the Secretariat, thank you for your kind review and we look forward to welcoming delegates again next year for our 10th edition of the London Security Exercise Model United Nations Conference.”

 

Acknowledgements

Decorum Delegates thanks the LSEMUN Secretariat for granting permission to use the photographs from the conference. Photo credits to Zeina Dowidar.

Decorum Reviews…SGMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews…SGMUN 2017

Overview

Location: University of St Gallen

Dates: 9-12 November, 2017

Number of delegates: 67

Number of committees: 4

Cost: delegate fee €99 (early bird), €115 (normal price), €54 (without accommodation), social pack €45

SGMUN, held at the Swiss city of St Gallen, saw great success in its inaugural edition. Despite being run for the first time, delegates praised the well-run committees, smooth conference organisation, and high quality socials. On the whole, this year’s edition has joined the select few newcomer conferences that hold great promise for the future and has the potential to become a mainstay of the European MUN circuit.

 

23415349_500025030363744_1666991482664762392_o
Delegates at the pre-conference training session

 

Academics

SGMUN’s committees were notably varied and innovative given the smaller size of the conference. Apart from two main branch committees (DISEC and WHO), the conference offered a three cabinet Joint Cabinet Crisis simulating the War of the Pacific in the late 19th Century, featuring Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. Delegates thought that both the main branch and crisis committees were well run.

The highlight of the conference, however, was the Brexit Negotiations committee, run using the structure of main branch RoP but containing novel aspects that simulated the scheduling of negotiations as well as incorporating the press into the debate. Two “teams” of negotiators, representing the British and EU sides, negotiated over various aspects of the final settlement. Throughout the session, delegates were held to account by press briefings, where they were questioned on what they had agreed upon. Delegates were impressed by the innovative format of the committee, with one delegate remarking during feedback sessions that it was the “best committee [he had] ever been in”.

Ceremonies

Both ceremonies were held in unglamourous but practical settings. The opening ceremony featured two speakers, Jessica Graf, a professional consultant, and Dr. Dirk Lehmkuhl, a professor at the university. The first speaker was gave an uninspiring and disjointed speech, talking about her personal career, from working in NGOs through to the transition into the private sector. Her speech ended with her telling the audience to stay away from a career in the UN and to join the private sector. The speech was overall rather controversial but contained no real point to it. This aimlessness was made worse by the speaker’s monotonous tone. Dr. Lehmkuhl provided a slightly more lively and content-focused talk on the European Union and its future which was better received by delegates, though the consensus was that the opening ceremony was too long and felt more like a series of lectures.

The closing ceremony was held in another lecture theatre, which was modern and well-lit. Beginning with fellow delegates advertising their own conferences, the ceremony then proceeded to the conference’s third guest speaker, Sabine Fankhauser, a former UN Youth Delegate who relayed her experiences in the United Nations to the audience. The talk was personal and quite interesting, though due to the international nature of the conference some participants found it less relevant than it could have been. Finally, the chairs gave their remarks and presented awards, followed by the Secretary General officially closing the conference after a brief speech.

 

23415330_500026610363586_3148160240963216279_o
Participants enjoy traditional Swiss fondue at the Thursday social

 

Socials

SGMUN’s €45 social pack consisted of 3 socials, starting with a Fondue Night on Thursday. Participants were split up into small groups of approximately 5-6 and given addresses of hosts. This novel idea was well received by participants, who complimented the fact that the personal setting helped them to get to know each other more. This was followed by an informal drinks session held at a bar in the city. The social may have benefited from more coordination between the hosts and non-local participants, some of whom got lost in the city with no data signal.

The second social was a bar crawl, organised by committees, which started off a little slowly because delegates failed to turn up to the starting venues on time. However, once people showed up, the atmosphere became much livelier, culminating in all groups joining up at the university’s student bar.

Saturday’s social was held at what was described as a “frat house”. Dinner in the form of burgers were provided, as was copious amounts of free alcohol in a well-stocked fridge. Despite lasting for almost five hours, there was still a significant amount of beer in the fridge. Participants stayed in one place until they were directed to the club night, which was enjoyable but very crowded.

The social pack overall was great value, given the astronomical cost of living in St Gallen.

23550100_500606423638938_878531794398966183_o

Venues, Logistics and Communications

The conference’s venues were spread out over the main library building. Delegates reported that committee rooms were often too cold, though the Secretariat could do little given the university’s central heating system. There was also a lack of extension cords on the first day, though this was soon remedied.

Also commendable was the preparation the conference had for international delegates. Plug adapters were readily available throughout the conference, making committee sessions much more convenient for participants. Communications were maintained between the Secretariat and participants for the most part, though some delegates had issues with country allocations being given quite late.

SGMUN was also notable for offering 4 days’ accommodation with its delegate fees, which streamlined the conference organising process for delegations coming from overseas and was much appreciated. Free lunch was also provided on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Right of Reply

First of all we would like to thank our delegates and chairs for coming and making our conference possible and awesome! After reviewing the overall positive feedback we received from the participants we are happy to announce that we decided to organize a second edition of the conference next year! We hope to again bring you a great value proposition, as we recognize that Switzerland is an expensive country to visit, and provide you with great academics, warmer rooms and an even better and smoother organization! See you again next year in St. Gallen!