The Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) is one of our favorite conferences to liveblog due to the high quality of the conference and its delegates and to the warm hospitality of its staff. The combination makes the conference conducive to producing liveblog content. Last year, ILMUNC set the record for most photos in a liveblog article (which they still hold), and this year they set the record for most photos in a Best Delegate Facebook photo album. Make sure to check it out after reading the article!
Between the Penn IAA conferences, Ryan usually liveblogs UPMUNC and I (KFC) usually liveblog ILMUNC. However, we both attended this year’s ILMUNC to check out the legends, roses, best dressed, and champions.
This year’s ILMUNC Secretariat is filled with legends, at least from the perspective of Best Delegate’s lifespan. That’s because we met many of them during Best Delegate’s first year of liveblogging MUN conferences when they were just freshmen, and it feels like Best Delegate has grown up with this class of leaders now that they are part of the Secretariat. For example, Secretary-General Yadavan Mahendraraj was only a freshmen when we met him and was one of our earliest readers, but Penn IAA and Best Delegate already knew he would be a rising star. Chief of Operations Stephanie Vabre was also a freshman that year and was then a random Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) who was behind the camera of my interview with then-Secretary-General Zach Stone. Even Director-General Alice Kissilenko’s name is legendary, as ILMUNC drew inspiration from her background to make an epic presentation about Bulgaria that I had attended during the WEMUN Expo in China. Penn IAA alumni legends also made an appearance. We spotted Zach Stone, the former President of Penn IAA and the ILMUNC Secretary-General during my first year of liveblogging the conference, and Roashan Ayene, the former Head Delegate of Intercol, Penn’s travel team. Of course, there were many more Penn IAA members on the ILMUNC staff, and it would be too long for us to list everyone here.
And of course, there are a lot of legends-in-the-making among the delegates. Both Ryan and I got to meet many delegates from different teams at the conference, some of whom we had heard of already and knew their last names as they introduced themselves.
Fun and Roses
Penn IAA has a reputation for striking a solid balance between competition and fun at all their conferences, and this year’s ILMUNC was no exception. ILMUNC had extra programming such as Penn Tours, Delegate Fest, and Delegate Dance. They even hosted their first-ever Summer Opportunities Fair, which we participated for the Best Delegate Summer Programs.
But the real highlight were Rose grams and Teddy grams. Some delegates were simply magnets for rose grams, and some of the ones that were read off were hilarious. USGs and chairs also competed to see which committee could get the most rose grams. USG of ECOSOC Devin deSabatino put on a fashion show competition with the help of several ASGs, and one chair made a deal to twerk in front of committee if the committee reached a certain amount. Even Best Delegate got into the fun by delivering a special rose gram to one of our friends who was chairing:
On an unrelated note, we also got to see our Media Associates, Lizzy Rosenblatt and Nikita Barde, on the same day as the Summer Opportunities Fair.
Forget winning Best Delegate — Ryan wants to know who will win the Best Dressed contest. Ryan, who has written about MUN Fashion on the blog and has tweeted about #BestDressed and #MUNfashion delegates in the past, decided to find out who made this list. I’ll just have to note that these photos don’t necessarily represent those who were the best dressed in terms of traditional Western business attire, but rather those who stood out in terms of fashion. Here are some photos from our Best Dressed tweets:
Best Delegate only mentioned ILMUNC as having “championship implications” in passing during a tour schedule article based on early indications from registration and correspondence with advisors. Nevertheless, it seems like everyone on the circuit knew this is the championship this year or at the very least is one of them. One reason is because ILMUNC has traditionally been the tilt between mid-Atlantic powerhouses Horace Mann, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Thomas Jefferson, Langley, Franklin, Moorestown Friends, and others as well as top Latin American teams like Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas and American School of Brasilia.
The other reason is that the conference has grown larger and drew a lot of notable teams this year from outside the mid-Atlantic. This included West Coast powerhouse Mira Costa High School, which was making its first return to ILMUNC since 2007, and the rapidly-rising Gulf Coast High School team from Florida, which was competing at a “most competitive” conference for the first-time ever. Other top teams attending this year included Choate Rosemary Hall, the long-time top team from Connecticut that was making its first appearance out of state; the well-known Sanskriti School from India; the up-and-coming Colegio Marista de Guaynabo from Puerto Rico; and one of the top Central American teams in Escuela Internacional Sampredrana from Honduras. In total, schools from an ILMUNC-record 17 countries attended this year’s conference.
ILMUNC certainly took note and mentioned its championship status during Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The delegates felt it too; I spoke with delegates from several top-25 ranked teams shortly before Closing Ceremonies and their remarks included “the conference was a lot harder than I expected it to be” and “this has got to be the championship.” Ryan and I rarely liveblog together — we do so about once or twice a year — and we both decided to visit the conference this weekend to check out all the action.
Here are photos of delegates and staff in action from the conference. We posted a lot more on our Facebook photo album!
Awards and Analysis
(Disclaimer: all analyses are my own and tallies are unofficial)
The competition at ILMUNC was deep and championship-caliber as delegates from 40 schools received individual recognition during Closing Ceremonies. Nevertheless, the perennial top-25 ranked powers took the vast majority of the awards, and there were a lot of rivalry story lines in the results.
Both the Horace Mann School and Mira Costa High School were recognized with the Best Large Delegation trophy. Both teams did extremely well and I believe had exactly or near 100% of their delegates receive recognition. Horace Mann represented the United States and won gavels in ten committees en route to the highest weighted score at the conference. Mira Costa brought a larger delegation with China and Israel as their country assignments and according to my unofficial tally had slightly more delegates win individual awards.
From a writer’s perspective, the result was another twist in this emerging bi-coastal rivalry between the New York and Los Angeles powerhouses, and it’ll be interesting to see how they fare in the future. From a rankings perspective, the methodology primarily takes into account weighted score which would give Horace Mann an advantage here, but in the big picture the difference is marginal since final rankings take into account scores from each team’s top four results. And finally from an educational perspective, I hope both teams are able to respect each other for their successes during the weekend and in turn earn the respect of other teams as well.
Virginia rivals Langley High School and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology also contended for a large delegation award. Langley, which represented the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, placed third overall in terms of weighted score and is having one of its strongest seasons in recent history. TJ brought one of the largest delegations to the conference with five country assignments (France, Bangladesh, Belarus, Italy, and South Africa) and finished fourth in terms of weighted score. However, TJ also had the most verbal commendations of any delegation, and if those were counted into the weighted score, then Langley and TJ actually tied. We think this close finish is pretty fitting for a championship rivalry.
New Jersey neighbors and rivals West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North also put in strong performances with SouthMUN pulling off the Best Small Delegation. SouthMUN placed fifth overall, which is a testament to the quality of its delegates as it was the only team among the top six to not represent a P5 nation (they had Switzerland) and to compete as a small delegation. NorthMUN represented the Russian Federation and finished sixth overall in terms of weighted score, although it actually had more award-winners than SouthMUN and if verbal commendations are counted, then their two scores are actually tied. Again, this close finish is pretty fitting for a championship rivalry.
Gulf Coast High School from Florida won the Outstanding Small Delegation award and Instituto Cumbres de Caracas from Venezuela received the Best International Delegation. Gulf Coast only started traveling recently and is competing at its most competitive conference ever, and the team made great work of its Portugal delegation to solidify itself as one of the nation’s elite teams. Instituto Cumbres de Caracas was particularly strong in the General Assembly committees as Holy See and continued to show the world why Venezuelan teams are a force to be reckoned at both the high school and college levels.
Other teams that performed well include Brooklyn Friends School, Franklin High School, Upper Merion Area High School, Princeton Day School, Newark Academy, Wootton High School, Great Valley High School, Irvington High School, Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas, Sanskriti School, and Staten Island Academy among many others.
It would be premature to declare that ILMUNC is the championship since many competitive conferences have yet to take place and we don’t know the full lineups of teams attending those conferences yet, but ILMUNC figures to make a significant impact on the final rankings.
Congrats to all the delegates and staff on a successful conference! Don’t forget to check out the Facebook photo album!
Thank you to Secretary-General Yadavan Mahendraraj, Director-General Alice Kissilenko, Chief of Staff Morgan Motzel, Chief of Operations Stephanie Vabre, Business Director Jeffrey Nadel, and the entire ILMUNC Secretariat and staff for having us visit!