Decorum reviews…CanterburyMUN 2018

Decorum reviews…CanterburyMUN 2018

Overview

 

Location: Canterbury

Dates: 2nd-4th March

Number of Delegates: 60

Number of Committees: 5

Cost: Delegate Pack: £25, Social Pack (Optional): £25

 

Having started off as two separate conferences, KentMUN for University level students and CanterburyMUN for High School students, this recently became a collaboration which catered to a wide variety of students. Despite some logistical hishaps and severe issues from the Beast From the East, the conference was praised for its relaxed atmosphere and the way that it catered not only to different experience levels, but also vastly different age groups.

 

Academics

 

The Committees were clearly split into two sections, those which were brought from the High school conference, consisting of the Human Rights Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, and those that were brought from the University Level Conference, including the Crisis and the Human Rights Council.

 

The three high school Committees were all targeted at beginners with many being first time delegates, especially to the university style. Despite this, the high standard of debate was remarked upon with the chairing drawing many first time delegates into the debate and allowing them to flourish. The growing confidence of the delegates as well was particularly noted, with this being across the age range and played an indicative role in the atmosphere of the conference.

 

For the university level delegates, the Human Rights Committee started off to a slow start, with only six delegates turning up, however with the inclusion of some of the more advanced high school delegates, the committee quickly progressed smoothly. The Crisis Committee was based on the Aztecs in 1519, which, despite having the Beast from the East significantly deplete the numbers of staff running the event, provided an enjoyable weekend for delegates which catered to all, whether new or experienced in crisis.

 

The study guides were noted to be to a higher standard than delegates were expecting, despite them only being received in the week leading up to the conference.

 

Ceremonies

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The opening ceremony venue

The Opening Ceremony was held within the grand venue of Canterbury Cathedral, providing elements of splendour to the proceedings. Given the nature of the two conferences merging, time was given to the previous Secretary General of the University Level Conference in her capacity as the Secretary of UNA-UK Canterbury, which was seen as a nice touch. The other speaker was Dr. Carl Wright, who provided a very thought provoking speech, appreciated by many delegates. This was followed by lunch for the delegates, which was greatly appreciated by the delegates considering the cold weather and how far some had had to travel.

 

The closing ceremony was held within a lecture theatre, with chairs being given ample time to speak. There was also a speech provided from the advisor to Middle East MUN, where many of the high school side’s delegates originated from.

 

Socials

 

CanterburyMUN’s social packs consisted of three socials, with the friday night being open to all delegates at the conference. This consisted of a meal at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, providing a night of splendor with the backdrop of Canterbury Cathedral, even if this did mean that there were some slight issues with finding the location itself. The buffet was seen as a noticeable let down, with delegates feeling that the food and drink were not worth what they paid. The whole venue, clearly intended to cater to numbers pre Beast of the East, started to feel quite empty with the departure of the High School delegates at 9pm, meaning many elected to relocate to the local pub instead.

 

For the saturday, there were two socials on offer for the high school and university level delegates. For the High school delegates there was a disco which the delegates thoroughly enjoyed, whereas the University level delegates were treated to an American style house party, which may have accounted for the lack of delegates the next morning who turned up on time. The Secretariat and committee should be especially noted for their efforts in getting delegates home, which was greatly appreciated.

 

Venues, Communications and Logistics

 

Held within various buildings of the university, the changing rooms everyday seemed to somewhat confuse the delegates who often arrived up to an hour late, or were found stumbling round the campus before being rescued by Secretariat members. Other issues arose when the advised restaurant for some committees did not serve food on a saturday, but members of the university found alternatives for their committee for the sunday.

 

Delegates highlighted that communication before the conference was noticeably lacking, with some only receiving committee allocations a few days before the conference, and chairs and head delegates noting that they would not receive communication for up to months at a time, leading to confused delegates. While this improved within the last couple of weeks leading up to the conference, it was noted that most of the information head delegates received were through unofficial channels. 28870007_553653665005190_5438380481747877888_o

Right of Reply

“We are grateful for this review from Decorum Delegates. This feedback and minutes from committee meetings discussing it will all be passed on to future Secretariats. We are glad to have received feedback on areas which need improvement for next time. We hope that delegates overall felt they had an enjoyable weekend in an historic city.”

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Decorum Reviews…SWMUN 2018

Decorum Reviews…SWMUN 2018

Location: Bristol

 

Dates: 9-11 February

 

Number of Delegates: 70

 

Number of Committees: 4

 

Cost: Delegate Pack: £15 (£10 early, £20 late) for Partners, £17 (£15 early, £23 late) for

Non-Partners

Social Pack (Optional): £30

 

A unique collaboration between the Universities of Bristol, Bath and Exeter, SWMUN has provided a welcomed, varied experience. With a committee for every level of experience, wrapped within its status as a beginners conference, and with an impressive social, SWMUN has offered a new experience for people from their 1st to 5th to 50th MUN. The conference was praised for its high standard of academic debate, providing a welcoming environment for newcomers, despite some logistical weaknesses.  

 

Academics

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Delegates in committee at SWMUN

The Committees were arranged by experience level, with European Council for Beginners (tackling the Stance on Space and Closer Integration), DISEC for more Intermediate delegates (topics including Drone Warfare and Landmines) and Security Council for Advanced delegates (debating Myanmar and the Central African Republic), with the option of a Crisis based on the Nixon-Kennedy Election ran by Golding Games and Events.  

 

The study guides were noted to be to a high standard and presented professionally, even if only provided twelve days before the start of the conference. There were some noted departures from the Rules of Procedure, especially within the more advanced committees, leading to mixed and confusing chairing styles, though following closer by the sunday afternoon.

 

The Crisis was unusual in not having directives, not commonly seen within the UK, however,  it was said to be too restrictive and boring in its comparison, leaving delegates disappointed. The conference was halted both days for Presidential Debates, lasting 45 mins, which were remarked to be particularly dry by the other delegates, resulting in most committees electing to skip the second.

 

Ceremonies

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The Secretary-General gives his opening remarks

The Opening Ceremony was relatively short, with Guest Speaker Dr Mark Allinson being a Professor of the University, speaking on the topic of Uses of Referendum. The speech, while providing much local interest, felt too close to a lecture, and perhaps could have been shortened from its forty minute length which saw many delegates lose interest. This was followed by the Secretary-General, who quickly wrapped up the ceremony.

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The guest speaker, Dr. Mark Allinson, delivering his keynote address

The Closing Ceremony was held in a lecture hall, which had some challenges with audibility, leaving delegates, even at the front, struggling to make out speeches. The whole ceremony went by quickly with an acceptable amount of time given to chairs.

 

Socials

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Delegate and chairs participate in the black tie social

SWMUN’s £30 social pack consisted of two socials, with only the friday being included in the cost, making the best of the places Bristol had to offer. The Friday night ball was a veritable hit with the delegates, being held in the iconic Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. A free drink was provided on arrival, which slightly offset the hefty cost within the establishment. This was accompanied by a three course dinner, followed by a live band and Ceilidh, providing many hours of merriment and being rounded off by a tasteful waltz. The Secretariat then led the group to a local pub, continuing on the festivities for a few more hours. The Saturday was a trip to the Student Union bar, followed by a local club in the heart of Bristol, which received positive responses from delegates, if not their chairs the next morning.

 

Venues, Communications and Logistics

 

The rooms were all within a couple of floors of each other and, despite being in different locations than advertised, were quickly found with only a minor delay. The Secretariat member being provided to each committee was commented upon as a nice touch, allowing for easy access when problems arose. Lunch became a minor issue when the Student Union Restaurant’s kitchen closed, but the Secretariat quickly rectified this on the second day, with their chosen pub providing for the large group.

 

A smaller welcome pack in comparison to previous years was remarked upon, with many preferring the previous approach. However, the provision of writing equipment was appreciated by the delegates.

 

Feedback was acted upon quickly and effectively, and despite some noted strains between the Secretariat, the level of communication between them and the delegates before was of a quick and organised manner, with email responses being marked in their timeliness.

 

Right of Reply

“Thank you for a positively constructive review! Though SWMUN is in its third edition, it is imperative that we learnt from the best practices of other conferences, which the reviewer has fairly picked up upon. However, we are grateful that the reviewer has also identified our shortcomings, which will be a priority for our successors to learn from – for it is only through experience on the MUN circuit that these mistakes can be avoided. Nevertheless, we welcome all delegates to come to next year’s edition of SWMUN in Bath, where it will certainly mature into a South-Western MUN circuit staple.”

Acknowledgements

Decorum Delegates thanks the SWMUN Secretariat for granting permission to use the photographs from the conference.

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