From the 7th to the 9th of November 2014, one of Europe’s premier Model UN conferences lit up the streets of Oxford. The 12th edition of the Oxford International Model United Nations (OxIMUN) served up a bigger and more daring menu of committees, putting on one of its biggest conferences yet. 600 delegates from over 60 countries converged on the city, bringing a whopping 20 committees to life over the weekend.
The chatter was on as delegates streamed into St Aldate’s Church for the opening ceremony. Model UN regulars flitted around in various reunions. Newcomers made new friends. Delegations took obligatory group photos.
Guest speaker Antonios Tzanakopoulos, an associate professor of Public International Law at Oxford, kicked off the opening ceremony in style as he treated the audience to a witty and energetic talk on the United Nations. True to his academic pedigree, he served his zinger of a speech up lecture-style, quite possibly giving new Model UN participants the most interesting introduction they’d ever get to the UN, and experienced delegates plenty of fodder for questions. Sure enough the questions came thick and fast; it was all in all a particularly lively opening ceremony.
The delegates of Crisis X, in particular, had a ball of a time as they leapt headfirst into OxIMUN’s intriguing little experiment. Other committees had Friday sessions, and Saturday sessions, and Sunday sessions – but the delegates of Crisis X had only one long weekend; when the gavel pounded the conference’s opening on Friday evening they were off to the races.
Crisis X delegates were told that anything could happen, even in the middle of the night, according to OxIMUN Secretary-General Samaikya Karri. And yet, through all the sleep deprivation and twists, delegates had a phenomenal time.
He also singled out the ICAO as a personal favourite of his, feting the committee’s more technical premise and praising the delegates’ tackling of the ‘Passengers and Airspace Security’ topic.
“Picking up a subject and investigating it the same way a bunch of engineers at a crash scene would – it was very interesting. It’s a very specific niche and we expected lots of engineering students, but we also got a lot of politics students – and they ended up doing pretty good, actually!” he related.
The socials were, as always, classic Oxford. From an evening reception at the Town Hall, to their signature College dinners, to a rocking after-party at Camera, there really isn’t a better (or classier!) way to get acquainted with the city than getting a ticket to the OxIMUN social experience.
All good things come to an end, though, and soon enough we found ourselves at the Sheldonian Theatre; the gavel came down one last time and OxIMUN 2014 was over. MUN Society Belgium, reigning champions, kept their Best Large Delegation title for another year; UCL took home the Best Small Delegation prize.
“Oxford 2014 was an interesting experience. What I feel is that we’ve expanded OxIMUN, expanded it more to things other countries and conferences haven’t tried yet. The feedback for Crisis X was extremely good, better than expected for an experimental committee. You’ll definitely see a reappearance of some Crisis X elements in Oxford 2015, we’ll definitely be carrying that through,” said Samaikya when asked what he thought of the conference he’d put a year of his life into.
Some thoughts from of Best Delegate’s Media Chairs on their experience during the conference:
Nicholas Wong (UNCCC Director): This was my second OxIMUN, and the great thing about it is that the conference and the city just has such character that returning to it doesn’t feel like a retread. I had the privilege of chairing an absolutely wonderful committee, perhaps one of the most participatory and fun ones I’ve been in ever! Everyone just gelled really well together and some of us went out for dinner and drinks at the local pubs. My co-chairs David and Bryan were phenomenal as well and I really couldn’t have asked for a better break that weekend. Major, major kudos to the OxIMUN Secretariat for pulling it all together.
Annie Kowalewski (ICJ Director): This was my second OxIMUN, and, as Nicholas mentions, the character of the conference is palpable. Some of the character of the conference is found in the historic town of Oxford itself: the beautiful town hall, the graceful college buildings, and the poised dining hall, where you’re able to enjoy the company of other MUNers in a classic setting. Another great thing about OxIMUN is that it keeps its committees small, allowing participants to really get to know one another and dive deep into the issues. But what really makes OxIMUN, I think, is the participants. I’ve chaired the ICJ twice at Oxford, but each time has been so unique. OxIMUN has a way of attracting some of the most passionate, brilliant people – which makes each OxIMUN so enjoyable every time.
Stefano Obata (Delegate, Crisis X) : OxIMUN 2014 was an incredible experience. I was a delegate in the Crisis X committee, which was an expanded version of Crisis whereby the delegates had to be available to be called upon at any given moment to ‘return to committee and address the crisis in real time’. This meant while our friends in other committees were off having fun at the socials, we were pulled back to game at obscene hours of the night and weren’t given a moment of pause until about 2 am. The crisis itself was orchestrated magnificently, with a scoring system and a map; a real life version of the game Risk if you will. The cabinets were the DEA, the Mexican Sinola drug cartel,and the Chinese triad. In the end the Triads won, through brutal territorial reclamation tactics and Machiavellian orchestration, but my cabinet (the DEA), managed to take out many a crime boss and cause crippling damage to the syndicate. Within my own cabinet, I assassinated my way to the top and ended up winning an award, though my divisive actions were probably to blame for the downfall of the lawful institution I represented. All in all it was one of the best MUN experiences of my life.