This is the kickoff article to the return of the NAIMUN Featured Series which will explore the behind-the-scenes preparation of the conference and what delegates can look forward to at the conference. NAIMUN will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
After being selected as conference executives a month after NAIMUN XLIX came to a close in February 2012, Secretary-General Theresa Lou and Executive Director Cody Cowan started to plan for the 50th Anniversary Conference of the North American Invitational Model United Nations. Theresa had previously served as Deputy Undersecretary-General (dUSG) of General Assemblies, NAIMUN’s largest organ, and Cody had served as NAIMUN XLIX Director of Marketing. Theresa and Cody sought to continue NAIMUN’s legacy of substantive excellence, improve upon delegate experiences, and celebrate the achievements the conference has had over the past half-century. Together, with their experience and vision, they set out to make NAIMUN 50 one of the finest conferences on the high school circuit.
Preparations for NAIMUN 50 began with a series of meetings that culminated in the development of objectives for the conference, and a timeline for Cody and Theresa’s various goals. The co-executive structure provides each executive with the ability to focus on one important aspect of the conference—substantive development for the Secretary-General, logistics and out-of-committee NAIMUN experience for the Executive Director. Despite this structure, Theresa and Cody quickly found themselves working together on the large projects, simultaneously focusing individually on enhancing the unique aspects of their respective portfolios.
After they established the foundations for the conference, the executives turned towards the selection of the Secretariat. Consisting of eleven substantive positions, nine executive portfolios, and the Chief of Staff, the Secretariat began to put together the working pieces of the conference. Chair and Crisis Manager applications provided an array of committee proposals that helped craft the substantive vision of the conference. This selection process derived from the philosophy that committees proposed by staffers with a strong topical interest and experience have a tendency to have greater substantive depth and more passionate execution.
With committees and most of the substantive staff selected, NAIMUN 50 focused on bringing together the NAIMUN family through various staff events. Staff bonding, through committee and organ meetings and full staff social events, is a key aspect of NAIMUN preparation. The conference promotes dedication through friendly inter-organ competition for the coveted NAIMUN Cup. Ultimately, the organ with the best rate of success as judged by turnout for events, quality work, and more, is awarded with the trophy and eternal glory.
Though students got a temporary respite from school with the coming of summer, NAIMUN work never stops. Substantive and general staffers developed and flushed out committee ideas, while Executive staff planned and prepared for many of the logistical details of the conference. Sub-side’s dedication allows for more comprehensive preparation, and Exec-side’s hard work resulted in the selection of our conference charity, Action Against Hunger, and much more.
The return to the Hilltop in the fall saw record number of applicants for the remaining staff positions. NAIMUN 50 worked to welcome these new staffers through a series of staff and organ events. Throughout the rest of the semesters, staffers further developed their respective committees and began working on background guides. Additionally, out-of-committee programming preparations took full force in the fall. Tour spots at the Capitol Building, State Department, Library of Congress, and other DC treasures are available for delegations to visit during the Friday morning break. NAIMUN 50 will also continue the tradition of offering delegations the opportunity to visit foreign embassies. These embassy briefings provide delegates with the chance to talk to professionals who represent countries that delegations are representing at the conference.
Aside from upholding a legacy of substantive excellence and offering unparalleled delegate experience, NAIMUN also hopes to remind delegates and staffers of their own capabilities to make a difference in the world. Thus, with organ and committee meetings ongoing, NAIMUN staffers began to familiarize themselves with the conference charity: Action Against Hunger. For the past few years, NAIMUN has selected an official conference charity (past charities include Free The People and charity:water), and staffers and delegates work together to contribute funds to support the conference charity. Last year, NAIMUN XLIX was able to raise nearly $25,000 for charity:water. NAIMUN hopes that, through the charity, delegates can become a part of something greater than their individual selves both in and out of committee.
One of the defining aspects of NAIMUN is, and has always been, the incredible 200+ Georgetown staffers. Their dedication to the conference is what makes each and every moment of committee so riveting, and without them NAIMUN could not happen. Each Friday night of the conference, NAIMUN staffers, along with some friends from campus put on “Hilltop Madness,” showcasing just some of the best things about being a Hoya. As this year marks both the fiftieth anniversary of NAIMUN and the fifth anniversary of Hilltop Madness, delegates and staffers can look forward to some exciting new updates to the event this year!
As you read this article, NAIMUN 50 is less than a month away. Much development and planning has occurred, but the coming of the conference brings new challenges.
In the coming weeks, look forward to hearing more from the Undersecretary-Generals and Deputy Undersecretary-Generals about the organs of NAIMUN 50. In a short time, you will be part of one of the best experiences of your high school Model UN career. With 200 staffers, 3,000 delegates, and 4 days of the conference, NAIMUN 50 is set to be a landmark conference.