We just finished a massive update of our Conferences page for the 2012-2013 school year. A good number of the Fall conferences around the world for both the high school and college circuits have announced their new dates already, and a few of the major conferences in the Spring have done so as well. The conferences page will be periodically updated as we get new information.
For MUN junkies who like to get a big picture view of the global circuit, here is an analysis of the trends in conference scheduling and growth of the Model UN activity.
1. November 9-11 is always the busiest weekend in the Fall because it’s Veteran’s Day weekend in the United States. Several conferences moved into this weekend while a few moved out. So far, this weekend’s lineup includes: McGill SSUNS, Brown BUSUN, Penn State PHUNC, Southern United States SUSMUN, Stanford SMUNC, Vanderbilt VUMUN, and William & Mary WMHSMUN. Notably, Virginia VAMUN moved to the beginning of November to avoid the conflict with neighboring WMHSMUN, while Rutgers RUMUN moved to a week later after the scheduling conflict with the New Jersey teachers’ convention last year. UCLA BruinMUN, which usually falls on this weekend, has not announced their dates yet. One more note: it seems like most of these conferences have cut down the number of attendance days with only SSUNS and RUMUN retaining a four-day schedule.
2. Texan schools take note: MUNSA and CTMUN are swapping time slots. San Antonio MUNSA is moving from November to January 9-11, and Texas CTMUN is trading spots by moving its January conference to either October or November (exact dates have not been announced yet). This should be noted by Texas schools since both conferences are among the largest in Texas.
3. Qatar is becoming the hub for Model UN in the Middle East. Instead of sharing a week with THIMUN Singapore, the THIMUN Qatar conference is now sharing a week with THIMUN in The Hague. If anything, this is an indicator of the growth of Model UN in the Middle East region as there are enough delegates to fill THIMUN Qatar even though some teams may travel to THIMUN. Further looking down the list of conferences, there are many held in Qatar throughout the year including the new THIMUN-affiliated DCMUN — the country is quickly becoming the hub of Model UN for the Middle East.
4. High school cartels. Due to centralization of information on Best Delegate and due to the creation of MUN rankings, we’ve seen many of the most competitive high school programs start “cartels” where they would all attend the same conferences together. This has had both positive and negative effects to the conferences. Cartels aren’t likely to go away in the near future as the top teams want to compete with each other at the same conferences (and that should be applauded for teams that want to challenge themselves), but Best Delegate will help minimize the negative effects to conferences, especially those that tend to draw delegates looking for a more educational experience, with measures such as modifying the rankings methodology. We’ll announce more information in the future.
5. Notes on several other large conferences with 2000+ delegates:
- U.Penn ILMUNC and Yale YMUN are both on the January 24-27 weekend.
- The Hague THIMUN will be held from January 27 to February 1.
- Harvard HMUN moved to a weekend later and will be on January 31-February 3.
- U.Chicago MUNUC and Johns Hopkins JHUMUNC share a weekend: February 7-10.
- Nationals NHSMUN (March 6-9) and Berkeley BMUN (March 8-10) share a weekend as well.
6. The musical chairs in October has led to weekends with pairs of conferences. CMUNNY and SCSY are on October 4-7, BarMUN and CIAC are on October 11-14, and Washington DC becomes the center of the Model UN universe again during Halloween weekend as NCSC and NMUN DC take place from October 25-28. The empty chair is October 18-21. That just means more time to
research make Halloween costumes.
7. UPMUNC is back in November, but don’t sleep on regional action the week after either. UPMUNC is back on its traditional Veteran’s Day weekend in November and should be bigger than last year. However, the weekend after that is packed with conferences too with lots of regional action including Southern Regional SRMUN, Duke DISCon, Northwest NWMUN, UCSB SBIMUN, and American AMUN.
8. November is the United Kingdom’s month. With Oxford OxIMUN moving from its traditional October date to November, the November calendar is now filled with mostly conferences in the UK, including Nottingham NottsMUN and London Metropolitan METiMUN.
9. The major college players continue to invest in Latin America. HNMUN Latin America launched last year and will continue this year with its new location in Brasilia, Brazil. Meanwhile, NMUN is starting NMUN Latin America at the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Latin American teams have done well at conferences in North America and it’ll be interesting to see if they latch onto these conferences. Both conferences will be held in January.
10. Notes on several other large conferences with 1000+ delegates:
- Harvard HNMUN, the conference that pioneered rose grams, is back on Valentine’s Day: February 14-17.
- Harvard WorldMUN will be held in Melbourne, Australia from March 18-22
- Nationals NMUN’s two conference dates are relatively early this year: March 17-21 and March 24-28.
- McGill McMUN, the largest conference in Canada, will be on January 24-27.
- London International LIMUN, the largest conference in Europe, has not announced their dates yet.
11. Colleges are beginning to enter into the middle school market and are doing so with geographic partners. Middle school Model UN had long been the domain of local YMCAs (especially in the Southeastern United States) with UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms Middle School (GCMS) and Montessori’s MMUN conferences being the national exceptions. Now, there’s a trend of college conference organizers getting involved in the middle school scene, and market forces have naturally paired up geographic partners: William & Mary’s WMIDMUN and George Washington’s GWCIA in the Mid-Atlantic, Michigan’s MIMUN and Michigan State’s RCMUN in Michigan, and Bentley’s and Clark’s middle school conferences in New England. Any organization that is interested in bringing Model UN to the middle school level will find it much more effective with a natural geographic partner to help compound their efforts.
12. Montessori is dividing its conference into two dates for two academic levels next year. Due to the growth of the conference, it no longer is logistically feasible to host both the middle school and upper elementary school committees in the same venue. Therefore, the MMUN middle school conference (grades 6-9) will be April 10-13 and the MMUN upper elementary school committees (grades 4-6) will be April 17-20.
General Growth Trends
13. The growth in Asia continues to attract foreign conference organizers. First, there was HMUN China and HMUN India. Last year, we saw the launch of ILMUNC China and YMUN Korea as standalone high school conferences. Now, NMUN is returning back to China after a short hiatus with its NMUN China college conference to be held in Xi’an in March. But this expansion sounds to be only the beginning — it’s possible to see another foreign conference organizer enter into China within this year, and local partners in India are now jockeying with each other to try to get into the game especially with Mumbai being open again after HMUN India moved to Hyderabad. But foreign conference organizers need to pick their partners strategically as many of these markets are seeing their local conferences begin to cement their size, quality, and spot on the conference calendar.
14. Associazione Diplomatici and United Network are turning Italy into a major Model UN power. Both groups were created after years of experience attending the NHSMUN high school conference and NMUN college conference in New York. Now, these two groups have established their own, full-fledged Model UN programs that include an academy to train delegates, a home conference, and a large travel team that sends high school and college delegates to those two conferences in New York. But these two organizations have developed beyond the normal trajectory for a Model UN organization. Associazione Diplomatic has broken into the United States market by establishing Change the World CWMUN in New York, and United Network has partnered up with IMUNA (the host of NHSMUN) to help organize its conference in Italy. These two organizations should continue to develop and shape the global Model UN landscape.
15. The Model UN summer camps market is emerging. Model UN summer camps have existed for a long time, with Julian Krinsky’s camp in Philadelphia being an example (it’s been around since we were delegates). But recently we’ve seen many other organizations start their own summer camps with Best Delegate being one of these organizations. It’ll be interesting to see how the concept of a Model UN summer camp evolves and if it will grow into mainstream popularity among summer activities.
If you enjoy reading trends & analysis articles, check out these previous articles:
- Top 12 Model UN Conference Scheduling and Market Trends in 2011-12
- Which Countries Love Model UN the Most? Analysis of the G20 Countries of Best Delegate Fans
- The Sudden Rise of Independent Model UN Teams: Homeschool, Community, and Private Travel Teams
- Analysis of College Conference Committees: Should Delegates Be Outraged By Fantasy Committees?
- How Big is MUN? (old case analysis)