The McGill Model United Nations Assembly (McMUN) is the largest Model UN conference in Canada, and its twenty-eighth edition will be held from January 26-29, 2017. Best Delegate co-founder Kevin Felix Chan sat down to interview this year’s Secretary-General, Ginny Tan. Ginny previously served as a Best Delegate Media Associate and is the third consecutive McMUN Secretary-General with Best Delegate ties. Our team is proud of her and wanted her to share her thoughts leading up to the conference!
KFC: You’re serving as the Secretary-General of the McMUN, the largest annual Model UN conference in Canada. What has the experience been like so far organizing the conference and managing the largest MUN conference staff (600 staffers) in the world?
Ginny: My experience so far has been wonderful! I have an amazing Secretariat team that makes this job incredibly fun. They have been working very hard ever since we started planning McMUN back in March 2016. We are currently training our staffers and I am confident to say that they are all every excited to welcome everyone very soon.
KFC: McMUN is still expecting close to 1,600 delegates despite the fact that WorldMUN is also being held in Montreal this year, essentially experiencing no drop-off in attendance. What would you attribute this high registration to?
Ginny: McMUN is a conference that is very well-known and established across the collegiate circuit. It is always humbling for us, when we hear delegates from other schools being incredibly excited to come to McMUN. For us, a great delegate experience has always been our number one priority. I believe that our high registration definitely has to do with our commitment in delivering a great conference year after year. In addition to that, our registration team has definitely brought their A-game this year and they have been wonderful at their jobs.
KFC: IRSAM, the organization at McGill that hosts McMUN, has consultative status with ECOSOC and sends a delegation to UN Women every year. I also saw that McMUN just signed a partnership with ICAO. How has McMUN’s relationships with the real UN benefited the conference?
Ginny: By fostering a relationship with the real UN, we have been provided with the unique opportunity of gaining a better understanding of how the real UN functions. Many of our dais members have been part of the delegation we send to the UN every year. This year, our partnership with the ICAO has provided us with the opportunity of hosting a session at the headquarters. I believe that there will be a lot of exciting opportunities for our delegates to interact with the actual UN in the future and this is only just the beginning.
KFC: McMUN is known for its social events such as McParte. But I also know your Secretariat seeks to create a well-rounded experience in terms of committees, out-of-committee programming, and social events. What aspects of McMUN should delegates most look forward to this year?
Ginny: This year McMUN has officially partnered with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, and we will be hosting a committee session at the headquarter. I believe this will definitely be an amazing experience for our delegates. Having successfully ran bilingual committees in the past, we are also introducing a brand new Spanish bilingual committee this year. As for our social events, I am also proud to announce that we have a completely revamped Friday night social event, the Olympic Crawl! We have kept elements our delegates loved from the past and brought in new and innovative ideas. There are a lot of exciting things going on this year and I am just going to leave a couple of them as a surprise.
KFC: We chatted about awards policies over the summer. McMUN made some modifications to its awards distribution this year. Could you elaborate on that?
Ginny: Yes! After careful examination of our awards distribution, our team has decided that this year McMUN will be increasing the amount of Honorable Mentions that we will be handing out for our General Assemblies committees. We have decided to make this change because we truly believe in encouraging a positive competitive environment where delegates are recognized for their achievements.
KFC: Your Model UN career has taken you to internships with the US Embassy in Ottawa, the Canadian Embassy in Argentina, and the World Food Programme in Panama. What advice would you give to Model UN delegates hoping to work in international relations?
Ginny: Don’t be afraid of getting rejections or negative feedback; always see them as an opportunity for improvement. I applied to a lot of internships and I have gotten a fair share of rejections, some positions I have had to apply twice to before I got accepted. Internships and jobs in the field of international relations are very competitive and I would also encourage delegates who are interested in the field to test the waters early on. The idea of working for the United Nations and actually working for them is a quite different experience.
Good luck to all the staff and delegates attending McMUN 2017!