Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) 2013: Legends, Roses, Best Dressed, and Champions

by KFC on January 28, 2013

Participants enjoyed ILMUNC for its balance between competition and fun

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.

Secretary-General Yadavan Mahendraraj welcoming delegates to ILMUNC

These delegates know to take a photo with a legend when they spot one. In case you’re wondering, that’s former ILMUNC Secretary-General and Penn IAA President Zach Stone.

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.

Best Delegate’s Ryan Villanueva with a Mira Costa delegate during the Summer Opportunities Fair

ILMUNC Director-General Alice Kissilenko stopping by the Best Delegate booth

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:

ASGs delivering roses and ILMUNC swag

A delegate contributed to the crisis of roses being sold out by buying chair Mel Bavaria 20 roses

Rose magnet. Must be the beard.

These three delegates received an impressive collection of Teddy bears and roses

ECOSOC USG Devin DiSabatino putting on an ILMUNC merchandise fashion show with the help of two ASGs

I unfortunately don’t have a picture or video of the rose deliveries but this delegate was a rose magnet too and received the most hilarious rose grams

Overall, ILMUNC swag was very popular

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.

Best Delegate’s Lizzy Rosenblatt, Kevin Felix Chan, and Horace Mann and Langley delegates

Best Delegate’s Nikita Barde and Kevin Felix Chan

Best Dressed

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 Dressed male delegates from The Browning School

Best Dressed female delegates from Second Baptist

Best Dressed female delegates also go out to these J.Crew models

Best Dressed male-female combo with matching outfits from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North

Best Dressed female chair goes to Karla Rivera

Best Dressed male chair goes to Chuck Schmitt. Wait till you see the red pants.


ILMUNC was exceptionally competitive this year

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!

American School of Brasilia

Colegio Marista de Guaynabo

Colegio Puertrriqueño de Niñas

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North

Escuela Internacional Sampredrana

Delegates enjoying ILMUNC

Delegates working on a resolution together

Delegates negotiating during unmoderated caucus

Pan-Arab Security Alliance chair (and Penn Head Delegate) Alex Haber got beat up in the crisis

Crisis time in the Security Council

Delegates presenting their draft resolution

Delegates presenting their resolutions in style

Delegates making new friends at ILMUNC

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.

Mira Costa was one of two teams to receive the Best Large Delegation at ILMUNC (partial team pictured)

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South won Best Small Delegation at ILMUNC

Gulf Coast High School won Outstanding Small Delegation at ILMUNC

Instituto Cumbres de Caracas won Best International Delegation at ILMUNC

Langley High School put one of its strongest performances ever at ILMUNC


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!

Best Delegate’s Ryan Villanueva chatting with ILMUNC Secretary-General Yadavan Mahendraraj and Director-General Alice Kissilenko

  • http://www.facebook.com/meltzerm Matthew Meltzer

    I’ve heard rumors that the result of the Best Large Delegation Award is under review. Does BD know anything about this?

    (I am unaffiliated with any school)

  • Will D

    I think your ranking of schools performances may be faulty. There is no way for a school like WWP North (who brought only 23 delegates) or South (16) to earn as many awards as say TJ or Langley (who brought many more students), so obviously their weighted score would be lower. Rather than analyzing and ranking schools by just weighted points, you should rank them by the ratio of awards to delegates. That is the only fair way to asses how well teams did relative to one another.

    • anonymous


      • Will D

        typo sorry I mean “assess”. And they do not, they only included total weighted points (Eg: Gavel= 3, outstanding =2, honorable=1). They did not include the ratio (Total points/number of students in a delegation)

    • Anonymous

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe they already employ the student-award ratio in the “weighted” systems. Also, I believe langley brought 30 or so kids while TJ brought an enomorous delegation of 100+.

    • kevinfelixchan

      Hi Will D,

      This topic has been brought up many times before but I will summarize here. Neither method is faulty. It all depends on values and philosophy. Our educational philosophy is that everyone should be able to do MUN, so therefore our methodology purposely does not take into account ratios because we don’t want to discourage teams from bringing more delegates to conferences; teams shouldn’t get penalized just because they brought more people to the conference who want the MUN experience. Furthermore, absolute numbers give a better indication into the overall depth of the team rather than just focusing on the elite “starting lineup.” Finally, we’ve seen the usage of ratios before on the college circuit and we believe it has mostly lead to behaviors that haven’t positively impacted the activity.

      • Luis

        Hey Kevin,

        While I totally agree with the fact that MUN’s awards shouldn’t induce schools to limit and restrict students’ opportunities to do MUN, I wonder whether you’d also believe that absolute points can be a flawed metric. If a small delegation is able to go neck-and-neck with a large, shouldn’t they be given some more credit (as, after all, the large school is able to bring its élite and then some.)?

        After all, not every school goes small for the same reasons- some lack the money to go large, others the administrative support, and others the conference roster to justify an additional room (or several). Perhaps analyzing partnerships (to balance the effect of double-dels), or individual country delegations (as I recall you guys did with ILMUNC last year when comparing HMann to WW-PS) has its merits?

        – Luis

  • Luis

    Agreeing with Will D. here- I know the WW-P schools had to fight extremely hard to even come to ILMUNC (due to constraints with Hurricane Sandy and examinations), and given that it’s even more difficult for them to field delegations on the scale of Langley or TJ, which makes it more reasonable to compute a ratio of quality points (say Best = 3, Outstanding = 2, Honorable = 1) to delegates or delegations.

    That being said, congratulations to all who won at ILMUNC 2013! Being in the same committee room as delegates from South, Mira, Horace Mann, Gulf Coast, North, and all the rest was truly a taste of the major league as far as MUN goes, and a credit to these schools!

  • anonymous

    It has now been officially declared by the ILMUNC Secretariat that Horace Mann is the winner of Best Large Delegation and Mira Costa will receive Outstanding Large Delegation. The original decision was incorrect due to mathematical error.

    • anonymous

      Really? According to who? Can BD refute or confirm this?

      • anonymous

        he is correct, initially there was some dispute over the awards tally because Horace Mann apparently won more gavels with fewer people. ILMUNC has announced that Horace Mann will be recorded as winning Best large. I am not sure whether it is true that Mira Costa will be bumped down one award level.

    • Spencer Slagowitz

      Mira Costa and Horace Mann will share the award.

  • Guest

    It has now been officially announced that a calculation error was wrong and Horace Mann did not win Outstanding Large Delegation. Instead Langley will receive the Outstanding and Horace Mann will not receive any award. The ILMUNC Secretariat supports this decision amidst the controversy that it has created.

    • Anonymous

      Ya, I highly doubt that. But is there any way we can get some Best Delegate confirmation on this whole situation? A follow up article would be very appreciated.

      • Spencer Slagowitz

        Read the updated article…

  • Anonymous

    We at Mira Costa take pride in our ability to be in policy, to create and present specific, realistic solutions backed by quality research. We also demand strong ethical conduct and do not use or partake in prewrtten / plagiarized working papers or resolutions. If the directors of ILMUNC are willing to offer an externally vetted process that provides specific proof that another school deserves ILMUNC 2013 Best Delegation award, Mira Costa without hesitation, will congratulate the winning school on their success and graciously forward the trophy.
    W Knutson R Timberlake Advisors
    2013 ILMUNC Best Large School

    • ilmunc

      There were no substantiated allegations of any compromised resolutions submitted over the course of ILMUNC, and the Secretariat takes such claims very seriously with a thorough investigation process. To the best of our knowledge, all schools in attendance submitted quality and original work over the course of ILMUNC.

      The ILMUNC Secretariat has already reached out to Mira Costa and offered explanations and options for verification via email. We once again apologize for the disappointment our mistake has caused and look forward to resolving any outstanding concerns.

      • Anonymous

        We provided directly to the secretariat, direct evidence of several pre written resolutions and 1 absolutely plagiarized from NAIMUN 2012. The question is if conferences are going to make these claims of no pre written THEN DO IT. Having a shell game , aiding and abetting is nothing more than lip service to feigned integrity. Suggestion , have pre written, as nations would do with policy goals, but make sure to combine and ID sections from each contributor. Integrity would require no plagiarism and with today’s checks that is very doable. To have schools coming in having pre written , four page resolutions, of single spaced, twenty plus operatives or more with in an hour of the second session starting, is a joke supported by a blind eye no matter the conference. Perhaps a discussion with a representative from the University of Pennsylvania and the ILMUNC secretariat is in order. One only has to look at the various matrix ‘s of honor and discipline codes to understand the serious nature of the issues above. Is winning that important to so many that these transgressions are tolerable.

        Faithfully in MUN

        MCHS MUN Advisors

        • ilmunc

          It would seem that we’re working from different sets of facts. ILMUNC takes all reports of plagiarism seriously and is committed to ensuring a fair and productive weekend. Once again, if you have evidence of malfeasance we urge you to get in contact with us through the appropriate channels. Otherwise, we will consider the issue closed.

        • anonymous

          Mr. Timberlake,

          I find it funny that you would call into question another school’s integrity. In the final exam you created for your Model UN Class (http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=mun-quiz-1) you ask in question 111 what the tuition is at Horace Mann. Question 112 then asks whether or not Dalton’s tuition is higher. These questions clearly have nothing to do with Model UN or International Relations and have the sole purpose of making a statement regarding the financial background of students at these schools. Sir, I would respectfully recommend that you take a look at your own integrity before questioning others.

          • munyfunybunny

            How childish of you, Mr. Timberlake.

  • Spencer Slagowitz

    I would first like to commend Best Delegate’s comprehensive and thorough review of ILMUNC. Though I did not attend the conference, I felt like I was there. Next, I would like to congratulate all the teams that participated in the conference. I have been told on numerous occasions that the conference was very competitive and ended up being a great experience for those who went. I believe that the debate provoked by the awards given ILMUNC has utterly eclipsed how well the conference went and the valuable experience it imparted on those who went. This is a powerful example of how obsession over awards takes the focus of Model UN off of the invaluable experience it gives a delegate. At the end of the day, how well we have personally done in model UN cannot be entirely measured by how many awards one has obtained. We, as the Model UN community, have to realize that only the ILMUNC secretariat has the authority to assign awards. Debating whether a team should have won an award or not with each other, cannot change whether the team won or didn’t win. Such issues are best dealt with by contacting the ILMUNC secretariat. I am a supporter of any persons right to express themselves, however in this case, my personal opinion is that debating with each other about who won is above all futile. Above all, ILMUNC seemed like an excellent conference, and all schools and teams who attended the conference should be commended and applauded.

    • http://bestdelegate.com/ Ryan Villanueva

      This was a very thoughtful comment, thank you for this, and for your kind words

  • http://bestdelegate.com/ Ryan Villanueva

    Although this comment thread has raised some good discussion about the role of awards in Model UN, it is also starting to get undiplomatic and bordering on hostile. In the spirit of peacekeeping, I’m going to close this thread and ask all parties to take a step back. If you would like to continue this discussion, feel free to email one another and resolve any remaining issues diplomatically.

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