Decorum Reviews … WorldMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … WorldMUN 2017

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Dates: 13th – 17th March

# of delegates: 2,250

# of committees: 20

Cost: Delegate fee $150, Social pack $100, Night Zero Social $15

Harvard World Model United Nations is one of the largest college-level conferences in the world. Hosted in a different city each year, the conference is organised jointly by Harvard and a host team. This year’s edition was held in Montreal, with Dawson College as the host team.

The weeklong conference is expensive but offers extremely competitive debate and excellent socials. The conference was also exceptionally well run this year despite serious weather challenges. Unfortunately, the conference continues to be let down by inexperienced chairs.

Academics

WorldMUN is well-known as a competitive conference: most delegates are either experienced, well-trained or well prepared. The conference offered a wide range of committees, 20 in total, including seven GA committees, six ECOSOC and regional body committees, and seven historical and crisis committees. Most committees were double delegate, making the average committee size extremely large. This provides a unique and often hectic lobbying experience but lowers the quality of debate.

Sadly, the experience of delegates stood in stark contrast to that of the Head Chairs. The selected chairs were frequently less experienced than both the Assistant Chairs and delegates. Numerous delegates reported Head Chairs who were ignorant of some or most aspects of RoP. This severely limited the overall academic quality of committee sessions.

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony was held at a conference venue and featured a large number of speakers from both the organising teams and invited guests. As a result, the ceremony lasted a lengthy two-and-a-half hours, a point that even one guest speaker alluded to. Nonetheless, the ceremony featured many highlights including a pipe band and an incredible (and at points tear-jerking) performance by Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli, a breakdancer who suffers from Arthrogryposis.

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Maison Symphonique du Montreal

The closing ceremony was held at the stunning Maison Symphonique du Montreal, home of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. After a brief performance from a stringed quartet, the organisers launched into a number of speeches thanking those who had helped put on the conference. Next followed three guest speakers, who mercifully kept their remarks brief. After much nervous anticipation, the ceremony eventually moved onto the awards presentations. Naturally, given the large number of committees, chairs were not given the opportunity to speak and the awards were instead presented by members of the Secretariat. Whilst the closing ceremony was fairly lengthy, the excited and friendly atmosphere made the experience enjoyable.

Socials

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Farewell “Discotheque” at New City Gas

WorldMUN put on an impressive array of socials. For $100, the social pack gave access to five club nights; another $15 allowed delegates to attend the pre-conference “Night Zero” social.

The venues were unique across all five nights. In particular, delegates found were wowed by live dancers at Club Unity, delegation performances at Cabaret, and the massive New City Gas. The cost of drinks varied according to the venue, but only a one or two venues were particularly expensive (for clubs, at least). Delegates initially complained about the need to pay for coat check, given that they had already paid the social pack fee, although the cost was much lower or nothing later in the week.

A traditional highlight of WorldMUN is “Global Village”, where delegations bring food and drink from their home countries and participate in vigorous cultural exchange. This year was no exception. Unfortunately, some delegates enjoyed themselves a little too much, resulting in the party being closed down by the police and chaos as delegates attempted to leave the venue, although this was hardly the Secretariat’s fault.

Venues, logistics and communication

Delegates reported that logistics were exceptionally smooth, despite an unseasonable snowstorm. The conference offered a number of accommodation options nearby the conference venues and most of the social events were located within walking distance of the conference venue. Delegate registration was very well run, with few delegates reporting any issues.

The conference venue was held at the Palais de Congres, a gargantuan conference centre, situated in downtown Montreal. The rooms were adequately sized to comfortably accommodate each committee and delegates had easy access to tables, water and reliable WiFi. Numerous lunch options were provided within the conference venue and the organisers had negotiated discounts are a few of these.

Communication, both by email and in-person feedback sessions, was frequent, fast and accurate. The organisers were quick to respond to any issues that arose and were approachable and courteous throughout the conference.

Right of Reply

The Secretariat could not be reached for their Right of Reply.

 

 

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Decorum Reviews … CardiffMUN17

Decorum Reviews … CardiffMUN17

Location: Cardiff, UK

Dates: 3rd-5th March 2017

# of delegates: 150

# of committees: 5

Cost: Delegate fee £20 (£17 holiday special), social pack £30 (optional), accommodation pack £50 (optional)

CardiffMUN, hosted by the Cardiff University and held in Wales’ capital city, saw its third edition last weekend. A notable conference at the end of the MUN season in the UK, it featured a high quality of debate amongst delegates, mostly-fun socials and a heart-warming end.

Academics

CardiffMUN offered a selection of 5 committees: UNHRC, UNHCR, ECOSOC, UNSC and Crisis. The first 4 committees seemed to be geared towards beginner/intermediate delegates, discussing topics dealing with current political or humanitarian crises.  The Crisis Simulation consisted of a British, French and Greek cabinet dealing with the influx of refugees into Europe. It was distinct from typical crisis committees – focussing not on directive “wars” but on discussion and resolution-writing.

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Committee study guides were released well in advance and detailed sources were provided by chairs to aid delegates’ research. Another nice touch was a summit on the last day between UNHRC, UNHCR and ECOSOC on the influx of refugees into Europe. Proposed by the co-chair of UNHRC, this allowed for the three committees to interact with the Crisis Simulation. Delegates were especially enthusiastic about writing working papers to add to the treaty being negotiated in the Crisis Simulation.

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony was held at the National Assembly of Wales. Overlooking Cardiff Bay, the view provided a splendid backdrop to proceedings. The guest speaker David Hughes, of the European Commission, delivered an inspirational speech on the future of the EU. Though it was slightly Euro-centric, delegates paid close attention, some even taking notes for reference during committee sessions! The ceremony ended with the Watoto choir, which received a standing ovation from delegates. Comprising of Ugandan orphans, it brought home the impact that the policies discussed during the weekend had real effects outside the conference.

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The closing ceremony was more laid back, with chairs talking about committee dynamics and giving out awards at a leisurely pace – a stark contrast to many conferences, where chairs are either allowed to ramble on for too long or forced to cut their speeches down to soundbites. This inclusive atmosphere was further supplemented by impromptu speeches by delegates, though the Secretariat could have given them more warning beforehand.

Socials

The social dinner on Friday was held at the Jurys Inn Hotel. Though a long walk from committee, it was held in a beautiful ballroom and felt very cosy. The food was delicious, though hungry delegates noted that the dinner service started late and was a tad slow. The choice music playing during the dinner was slightly distracting, but things really picked up pace when delegates started hitting the dancefloor after dinner.

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The casual social on Saturday started in the pub Kokos. It was a less-than-ideal start to the night, as it was packed with patrons watching a live wrestling match on TV, causing some delegates to forgo the pub entirely. However, the optional club night was a better experience. Held at the club Walkabout, delegates had a private space to themselves and cheap drinks allowed them to unwind after the day’s debate. Both socials were well-attended.

Venues, logistics and communications

Generally, the conference ran smoothly with no significant hiccups in the entire operation – for which the Secretariat should be commended. Coffee, tea and biscuits were provided during the breaks, and there were decent places to have lunch around campus.

The Secretariat was prompt in responding to requests and were extremely open to suggestions from chairs. This was especially true with the aforementioned summit, which received an overwhelmingly positive response from delegates.

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The conference venue itself was satisfactory. The rooms were of appropriate size for committees but lacked power sockets, which was essential to the smooth running of the Crisis simulation. Besides that, some delegates initially had problems with accessing the Internet on the first day – though this was mostly resolved by the second day.

The accommodation provided, however, was disappointing. Situated quite far from the campus, the hostel felt slightly cramped. Though it was clean, delegates felt that it was not worth the money they paid for it and it dampened the enjoyment of the conference for some.

Right of Reply

“CardiffMUN17, our third and biggest edition to date, has aimed to build on previous years’ experience and provide delegates with a fun and productive weekend. We wanted to introduce some new elements — such as the performance of the Watoto Children’s Choir — in order to make it an exciting experience even for the most experienced of delegates. But most importantly, we wanted to give CardiffMUN17 the personal touch that many conferences lack. The Secretariat has couch-surfed all the members of the chairing team and has been in constant contact with the delegates, trying to answer all their queries and facilitate all arrangements to the largest extent. Most of the issues raised here were, unfortunately, out of our control — such as a sporting event drawing a loud crowd to the pub on Saturday — but we did try to act on the feedback we received from delegates on Saturday regarding the hostel and got in contact in an attempt to coordinate and resolve all complaints to the best of our ability. Nonetheless, we are definitely going to take everything into consideration when planning next year’s conference.”

– Casandra Boruzescu, Secretary-General, CardiffMUN17

Decorum Reviews … ScotMUN X

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View over Edinburgh, ScotMUN’s host city

Location: Edinburgh, UK

Dates: March 4th – 6th

# of delegates: 350

# of committees: 12

Cost: Delegate pack £40 (early bird £29), social pack £30 (half social pack £10)

Celebrating its tenth year, Scotmun X is one of the largest conferences in the UK. It is organised by students of Edinburgh University and held at venues across the city. ScotMUN is a little pricey but provides a fun, engaging and, most importantly, Scottish experience. There were, however, some aspects of communication with delegates that could have been improved.

Academics

The committees on offer this year were very similar to those last year and are seen across many MUN conferences. There were options for all levels from DISEC and WFP to advanced committees such as the ICJ and a three-cabinet crisis. Three conference also featured a double-delegate UN Security Council. The quality of debate was reasonably high across the conference.

Study guides were released very early and provided all of the useful information required for writing position papers. Some committees who were not expecting to hand in position papers were asked for them at a later date, leading to some left rushing to hand them in or missing them all together.

Ceremonies

Both ceremonies were brief. The Opening ceremony was held at the majestic Balmoral Hotel, which offers a lovely view of the famous Edinburgh castle. The speaker, the right honourable Sir George Reid, provided a very entertaining and engaging speech about globalisation, bringing together his experience in both domestic politics and global humanitarian efforts. The opening ceremony captured the excitement of the conference and saw many happy reunions between delegates and chairs alike.

The Balmoral Hotel . . . ScotMUN’s opening ceremony venue

The closing ceremony took place in a lecture hall that, whilst less inspiring than the Balmoral, was conveniently located next to the committee rooms, allowing a quick transfer between the end of committee and ceremony. There was minimal pomp and ceremony and most of the time was given over to awards. The atmosphere was jovial but a little muted, perhaps due to the delegates’ exhaustion.

Socials

The social pack included a Friday night dinner and dance and a Saturday club night.

Friday’s social was a black tie dinner at the Balmoral. The dinner was generally well received, although the vegetarian option left a few delegates feeling hungry. The dinner was followed by a ceilidh (traditional but accessible Scottish dancing) which helped delegates get acquainted as they twirled each other around the dance floor. Unfortunately, the grandeur of the Balmoral came with drinks prices to match – one bottle of sub-par wine set you back £25. But for delegates more interested in the ceilidh, the provision of free, iced water provided a welcome way to cool down. Delegates’ main complaint with the evening was that it ended quite early – at around midnight (earlier than in previous years).

The Balmoral shortly after the opening ceremony, transformed for dinner

The Saturday social was a club night at the Caves nightclub. The venue was a maze of stone-lined, underground basements which provided a novel atmosphere for clubbing. The Secretariat took it upon themselves to DJ but perhaps a professional would have been better. The night was more affordable overall: drinks prices were much more reasonable than Friday and there was a free drink included in the social pack. The event was slightly less well-attended than the Friday social but the assembled delegates and chairs had a great time nonetheless.

Overall, the socials provided very good value for money and let delegates relax and get to know each other outside of committee.

Venues, Logistics and Communication

In the build-up to the conference, the Secretariat provided was quick to respond to questions. However, there were a couple of occasions on which delegations were given contradictory information by members of the Secretariat, which had to be cleared up.

The conference provided delegate packs with a cloth ScotMUN X bag, lanyards, a handbook, a pen and some sweets, with placards being provided at the first committee session. The Secretariat provided lunch for delegates on Saturday, including a range of sandwiches and biscuits which was greatly appreciated by all. Tea and coffee was also available – although this wasn’t well advertised to delegates.

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50 George Square is full of modern and spacious rooms

All of the committees were located in a single university building in the heart of the city. The rooms were modern and adequately sized, with the exception of the crisis rooms which were located in an attached but outdated building. One major issue was the distribution of crisis rooms: the three cabinets were split over two floors and the backroom was located nine floors above them, which slowed the crisis down. There was a serial problem with a lack of power sockets but this was resolved quickly after the Secretariat ran out to buy extension leads. Eduroam was available for university students but there were also a limited number of additional logins for those who couldn’t access the WiFi. These were provided upon demand although it took some time for some of committees to get access.

Right of Reply

“ScotMUN X, as the tenth anniversary of our conference, aimed to be the most enjoyable of our conferences to date, and I hope we achieved that for our delegates. We wanted to improve on last year’s well-received conference, introducing a new Saturday social in a stunning venue, providing lunch for free and generally improving communication across the board. Some of the issues raised here are sadly out of our hands (the ‘outdated’ nature of David Hume Tower is much maligned amongst us as well) however we are happy to take on board the comments presented and move forward to an even better conference for ScotMUN 2018.”

– Robert Kemp, Secretary-General, ScotMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … LIMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … LIMUN 2017

Location: London, UK

Dates: February 24th – 26th

# of delegates: 1600

# of committees: 35

Cost: Delegate fee £70 (£65 early bird), social pack £30 (£25 early bird)

Now in its 18th year, LIMUN 2017 continues to serve as Europe’s largest MUN conference. Organised by an inter-university secretariat and hosted by Imperial College London, this conference is pricey (both in terms of conference fees and its London location) but provides an experience that is difficult to match in the UK. Highlights included the diverse range of committees, excellent (if expensive) socials and a speedy closing ceremony. Issues included some logistical difficulties and a drawn out opening ceremony.

Academics

This year’s conference boasted a 35-committee smorgasbord of MUN. The staples were included, of course: UNSC, DISEC, UNHRC and all the rest. But it was committees including the International Olympic Committee, the Global Health Cluster and 5 separate foreign-language committees that distinguishes LIMUN for other conferences on the UK circuit.

A nice touch were the “summits”, in which select delegates from certain committees came together for a short midday session before reporting back to their original committees. The conference also featured a 4-cabinet crisis and a fantasy “United Nations Commission on Sokovia” from the Marvel universe.

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The delegates of African Union take a vote

Moreover, these committees were spread out across beginner, intermediate and advanced tiers, giving delegates of all abilities the opportunity to participate. Study guides were praised as being comprehensive, but crucially, delivered in plenty of time before the conference.

Socials

Friday’s social was held at the Pulse Vault nightclub, a large venue with multiple dance floors, bars and “chill out areas”. Drinks were reasonably priced for a London club night with £4 pints and £6 spirit mixers. While the event was a little under-attended, delegates lit up the main dancefloor, which was adorned with national flags. It was a little odd that the social began at 9:15pm, given that committee sessions only ended at 9pm and the venue was at least 30 minutes away from the conference!

Highlights from LIMUN 2017

Saturday saw delegate’s put on their finest attire for the “Royal” LIMUN Ball. The venue, the Grand Connaught Rooms, certainly lived up to its name: an elegant staircase invited delegates into a cavernous main room and dance floor. The Secretariat also laid on a photobooth and plenty of food for delegates. Unfortunately, the lavish venue had drinks prices to match (£4.60 for a bottle of beer) and the two bars struggled to cope with hordes of thirsty delegates. Fortunately, this didn’t kill the party vibe and the dancefloor was packed into the small hours of the morning.

Ceremonies

LIMUN’s opening ceremony was held at the iconic Central Hall Westminster, located beside the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The venue was particularly apposite given that it hosted the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1946. Highlights of the opening ceremony included a parade of flags and a nicely-shot countdown video, which set it apart from standard MUN conferences. The opening also included three guest speakers, H.E. Mogens Lykketoft (former President of the UN General Assembly), H.E. Danilo Türk (former President of Slovenia and former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN) and H.E. Kate Gilmore (Deputy High Commissioner for Human Right of the UN). While all three are highly decorated international statespeople, their speeches were lengthy and delegates were visibly restless by the end.

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Deputy Sec-Gen Emanuel Spahrkas addressed delegates at the opening ceremony. Background: guest speakers, Secretariat and chairs

LIMUN’s closing ceremony was mercifully short. This was an exceptional feat given that the awards of 35 committees had to be announced, and was achieved by not inviting a guest speaker and making chairs keep their speeches concise. The ceremony was held at the Royal Geographical Society which was far too small for the assembled delegates. As a result, most delegates had to watch the closing ceremony from considerably more austere rooms throughout Imperial’s campus. As a result of this, the Secretariat made delegates sit with their committee, leading to some awkwardness as awards were announced.

Venues, logistics and communication

Imperial’s labyrinthine campus provided plenty of space for the conference but the quality of committee rooms varied greatly. Many delegates found themselves in pleasant and well-appointed surroundings, others in decrepit lecture theatres. There were also issues with WiFi which was limited to Eduroam (which at one point was temporarily overloaded) and The Cloud (extremely temperamental).

On the whole, the Secretariat were extremely responsive to requests from delegates and chairs throughout the weekend, making the conference experience smooth. The Secretariat was particularly praised for providing delegates with lunch on campus, included within the delegate fee.

The most significant logistical issue arose from the collection of social packs on Friday evening. Many delegates were not able to collect theirs at registration and as a result had to wait until after committee session to pick them up. However, the need to ID delegates made the process lengthy and poor communication resulted in a long, slow and disorderly queue.

Right of reply

The Secretariat chose not to exercise its right of reply.

Decorum Reviews … LeedsMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … LeedsMUN 2017

Location: Leeds, UK

Dates: 17th-19th February

# of delegates: ~60

# of committees: 4

Cost: delegate fee £12 (early bird)/£15 (standard), social pack £30

LeedsMUN, now in its fourth iteration, is a staple conference in the North of England. This year saw delegates participate in committees such as the Security Council, DISEC, HRC and a two-cabinet Crisis, set during Caesar’s Civil War. Delegates were happy with the socials, though felt that some aspects of committee and logistical organisation could be improved upon for next year.

Academics

The choice of committees in this year’s LeedsMUN were fairly standard and well-rounded, with the inclusion of beginner-friendly committees like DISEC and HRC, but also catering for more experienced delegates with the Security Council and a Crisis simulation. Most delegates were happy with the standard of debate, but a delegate in DISEC said that the exclusion of key countries such as China was unexpected and reduced the scope for debate.

Feedback on the crisis simulation was mixed, mainly concerning the shortage of backroom staff recruited by the Secretariat slowing directive responses. But overall, delegates were pleased by the experience in the frontroom.

Ceremonies

The opening ceremony saw the guest speaker, Dr. Nir Anielli, give a speech about the Middle East. The address itself gave a very brief overview of the region’s history and some of its legacies in the form of current issues. Unfortunately, the speech lacked a particular focus and some delegates found it difficult to follow. The Secretary General’s opening was much appreciated for her liveliness and brevity.
LeedsMUN’s closing ceremony saw the venue changed to a fourth-floor room in the Student’s Union due to a last minute change of room bookings. The tone was noticeably more enthusiastic, with chairs’ speeches bringing much laughter and cheering. Most speeches were concise, keep the ceremony short and to the point.

Socials

Friday’s club night was held at Revolution in central Leeds. Despite some confusion about the location of the social itself (downstairs, away from the main bar), all delegates arrived in good order. Delegates appreciated the private area, meaning that it was intimate yet not crowded. Nick Meadowcroft-Lunn, a chair in crisis, said that the night was “excellent […] even if the alcohol was expensive”.

For the formal dinner on Saturday night, delegates were informed that food would be served at 19:30, though service did not actually begin until 20:00. However, the quality of the food was generally commended, as well as the presence of a private DJ. Each table was provided with two bottles of wine, but a private hotel bar was also available for particularly thirsty delegates.

Venues, Logistics and Communications

The first session of the weekend, on Friday, was set in a maze-like series of rooms in a building many delegates, even from Leeds, found rather hard to navigate. The crisis rooms lacked more than one table, and delegates found the experience disorientating. On Saturday and Sunday, however, sessions were located in the much more straightforward Parkinson’s Building, which had ample facilities and was generally accessible for all delegates. The Secretariat also received much praise for their provision of tea, coffee and biscuits during breaks, which undoubtedly helped delegates power through the final hours of committee. This was especially useful, since there weren’t many cafes open in the area during the weekend.
Communication between delegates, chairs and the Secretariat were generally described as efficient and pleasant. The LeedsMUN website and Facebook page provided regular updates, as did the ‘Decorum’ communication platform (essentially a chatroom) which was praised by delegates as a useful tool, though not all delegates were using it. No major communication hiccups were reported.

Right of Reply

“We are very pleased that the reviewer as well as the participants thought this was a good conference. We aim to provide an accessible and beginner-friendly conference both financially and in spirit while at the same time maintaining the standards of the debate. We are also glad that some of the unique touches of our conference such as the free tea and coffee and the Decorum messaging system were appreciated. The issues with the Friday rooms in a far-from-ideal location as well as the last-minute change of the venue for the Closing Ceremony were found to be unfortunate by the Secretariat itself as these issues were caused within the room booking system out of our control. We are already working closely with the student union to make sure this will not be a repeated issue next year. We look forward to seeing you again at LeedsMUN 2018!”

– Cecily Holt, Secretary-General, LeedsMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … LSEMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … LSEMUN 2017

Location: London, UK

Dates: January 10th – 12th

# of crises: 6

# of delegates: 110

Cost: Delegate fee £25, social pack £25

LSEMUN, an entirely crisis-focussed conference, is in its 8th year. The conference was well received, with delegates praising the quality of the crisis cabinets (including the use of the Deus crisis software) and good value socials. However, there were some issues with delegate training and the closing ceremony.

Academics

The crises offered were all extremely interesting and received rather enthusiastically by the delegates. From the Cuban Revolution to Ancient Egypt to a Star Wars cabinet, there were crises for every taste. Naturally, such a chaotic environment led to a few glitches in the sending of directives and information between the different cabinets and the backroom. One delegate in the Star Wars crisis said that, “with a small team responding, there were bound to be a few hiccups. But it went well largely”.

This year, LSE decided to modernise the method of communication with the use of Deus, specialised crisis software. This allowed for fast and effective transmission of directives and information to the backroom, though the system was vulnerable to failing internet connection. But the system surely allowed a quicker clean up after the conference!

Some beginners, however, complained of a lack of guidance on how to proceed in such a peculiar setting. One delegate from Nato vs Russia reported:

“I wish someone could have told me what I needed to pay attention to in the first place, like implications with funding and military strategies”.

The secretariat should think about implementing a quick learning session at the beginning of conference for the future. Most delegates viewed the study guides as detailed and accurate enough for the purposes of the conference.

Ceremonies

While traditionally, opening ceremonies should contain guest speakers, LSEMUN’s ceremony had none – we believe this was an excellent call due to the peculiar nature of an all crisis conference, making keynotes an irrelevant element.

The closing ceremony was a more disappointing affair. After an exhausting weekend filled with homicide, scheming, lack of sleep and a little too much alcohol, delegates had to go through a lengthy closing ceremony, delayed by technical issues and rambling on way too many cabinet plots. All this was not helped by a chilly room.

Socials

Friday night was held in the bar Smiths of Smithfields, where a corner of the room was booked for our socials. It served original and delicious cocktails, greatly appreciated by many delegates. With happy “hour” lasting from 8 to 10pm, the prices were thought to be affordable by most delegates (taking into account that London rather expensive). There were a couple of issues: firstly, the booked space was actually shared with other customers, which led to the sensation of a loss in intimacy between delegates. Secondly, due to the excessively loud music, delegates were not able to properly interact with each other, leading to the early departure of a large proportion of the attendees.

The Saturday social received higher praise from the delegates: formally attired, we made our way to a private room in Sway Bar (small club near the conference venue) with a few couches and a £2500 bar tab, which means no one went thirsty during the night! This setting made the atmosphere much more intimate to dance and scheme with your fellow delegates. An issue on both nights, however, is that the socials were mainly focused on drinking and dancing, alienating non-drinking delegates from the party.

Logistics, Communications & Venues

Overall the conference was run smoothly, despite a few issues. In both opening and closing ceremonies, the rooms were not ready when delegates arrived on the premises, leading to an overcrowded and clogged hallway.

Registration was described by head delegates as easy and efficient. However, some delegates had trouble finding the correct committee rooms. There were also some complaints by head delegates on the ability of the secretariat to respond to pre-conference inquiries.

The conference venue itself, based on the LSE campus, was modern and spacious. Cabinets had plenty of space to scheme and cabinets were generally located nearby one another. In general, WiFi access was good but inevitably a few delegates had issues.

Right of Reply

Thank you for the positive feedback! LSEMUN is proud to be one of the only Crisis-centric conferences, and to have welcomed more delegates than ever before. Unfortunately, many of the logistical issues are ones that pertain to the LSE, not us (for a full list of complaints about LSE, please see Facebook’s ‘LSE Memes’). However, we will seek to implement a pre-Conference training next year and also to ensure conference information is sent out sooner in future. We are especially glad our revamped socials, especially Saturday, were enjoyed by delegates, as was the use of Deus. Thank you for the review – we look forward to welcoming delegates again next year!

– Benjamin Alford, Secretary-General, LSEMUN 2017

 

 

 

Decorum Reviews … EireMUN 2017

Decorum Reviews … EireMUN 2017

Location: Cork, Republic of Ireland

Dates: January 27th – 29th

# of committees: 5

# of delegates: 70 

Cost: Delegate fee €30, social pack €30  

EireMUN, hosted by University College Cork, is the Republic of Ireland’s premier international conference and is in its third year. Broadly speaking EireMUN was a successful event, with a high level of debate and memorable (or in some cases, difficult to remember) socials. However, head delegates lamented a cornucopia of logistical issues, with poor pre-conference communication, flip-flopping on position papers and late allocations.

Academics

EireMUN is a modestly sized conference, but was incisive in its selection of committees. There seemed to be a focus on the more active types of committee, with delegates participating in the UNSC, North Atlantic Council, European Council and UN Women. The crisis simulated the Franco-Prussian War, which one delegate in the French Cabinet praised as ‘interesting’ though at times ‘too slow’ in the processing of directives. Nonetheless, the crisis was reported to be of high-quality, and debate in the other the committees defied expectations given the inexperience of most of the delegates in attendance.

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A delegate gives an impassioned speech

The study guides were well received, and this reviewer was pleased with the clear structure and sufficient content of the UNSC guide. It provided a good amount of information relevant to the debate for delegates to build their own research off of, without constituting an anthology on the issue. However, some delegates, such as Lauren from York University, found that it was “lacking in certain areas”, such as in terms of bloc positions, and many delegates lamented how late they were sent out.

Ceremonies

Opening Ceremonies are always a difficult affair, and unfortunately, EireMUN was no exception. The room was about half full, and all of the attendees opting to cluster to the back of the lecture theatre which made it look even emptier. The first speaker, a professor from UCC, gave a lecture on the role of faith in Barack Obama’s foreign policy. While to a student of international relations the topic was an interesting one, the speaker blasted through his material at the speed of sound, making it almost impossible to follow at times. Not only this, but he ended up going on for so long that even the Secretariat looked bored by the end of it. The second speaker, a former Senator in the Irish Upper House, was mercifully brief in his remarks, speaking about his political career serving in various branches of the Irish government.

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The Opening Ceremony

The closing ceremony was another matter entirely. Miraculously the room was almost full, charged with the energy of a hundred hungover but focused delegates. The chairs remarked fondly on the substance of the debate, regaling the audience with stories of bizarre policies, comprehensive resolutions and commendable diplomatic skill. This is with the exception of the UN Women chairs, who were barely able to refrain from throwing shade at some of the more divisive delegates in their committee. The Conference Director and Secretary-General made their final remarks and sent us packing to the airport.

Socials

The socials, too, were a mixed bag. The Friday social was held in a bar called Urban Jungle, a nice enough venue but with prices a little steep for some delegates (5 euros a pint). Moving from the disappointing to the bizarre, we found that while one had to be 18 to enter the venue, on that particular night one had to be 21 to purchase alcohol. Consequently, the atmosphere was remarked as lacking and subdued. Many delegates left early as a result.

Fortunately, the Saturday night formal social was a substantial improvement. This reviewer would place it as quite possibly the highlight of the weekend. Taking place at the Clayton Hotel, delegates massed in their finest dress attire to sip champagne and take photos in the foyer, before being ushered up to an impressive private room. There we were served a quite delicious three-course meal, accompanied by what felt like an unlimited supply of wine.

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Delegates drink up at Saturday’s social

We were seated by committee, which provided a nice avenue to get to know our fellow delegates outside of an unmoderated caucus. With dinner concluded, the party commenced, lasting until the early hours of the morning. The DJ was noted by some delegates to be quite amateurish but by the time he took to the decks many of us were too jolly to care. All in all, the Saturday night was a remarkable success, leading Trinity College Dublin delegate Fiachra Bourke to comment, “it was amazing . . . I could not believe the amount of work and money and detail that was put into it all”.

Logistics, Communications and Venues

It is worth noting at the outset that EireMUN this year, by all accounts, was mired in organisational difficulties. Several of the study guides, including those of the crisis and European Council, weren’t released until the week of the conference, and the conference schedule had not been sent to head delegates until around a similar time. Communication between delegations and the secretariat was slow and plagued with misinformation, including finding out about a week before we flew out that positions papers were not required (after some delegates had already written them.  Delegates such as Joanna from Kent University also were left dissatisfied with the lack of an official website, with the Secretariat operating mainly through the conference’s Facebook page. Even the first speaker at the opening ceremony, in what was perhaps an off-the-cuff comment, remarked that he had been quite a last minute booking.

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Scheming is easier with a map!

That being said, we were impressed with the effective operation of the conference during the weekend itself. There were no significant hitches, replacement placards were procured with almost military efficiency, and one UNSC delegate noted the nice, “added touches such as the leather folders“. It was clear that a lot of pride had been taken by the Secretariat in real-time conference management. Volunteers were helpful and attentive, and issues that we faced were seen to very quickly, and usually resolved in no time at all.

The entire conference took place in the Brookfields building of the UCC campus, a health sciences facility located a little further afield than the site of previous EireMUNs. There were some issues with Wifi accessibility in this building, with some delegates unable to connect to Eduroam (the only available network) and thus being placed at a significant disadvantage in terms of draft resolution writing and bloc communication vis-a-vis other delegates. Aside from this, the room sizes were ample, even feeling a little cavernous for the small size of the committees.

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