VICS XXI Conference Recap

by Aaron K on April 12, 2016

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The Secretariat and staff of VICS XXI

Last weekend, more than two hundred college students gathered on the Grounds of the University of Virginia for the 21st annual Virginia International Crisis Simulation (VICS). VICS XXI combined debate on an assortment of serious and engaging topics and issues with many social events outside of committee aimed at rounding out each delegate’s weekend in Charlottesville. On Thursday and Friday, delegates were graced with the attendance of Charles Blaha, the Director of the Office of Security and Human Rights in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. In his keynote speech, Blaha discussed the issue of migration in the Western Hemisphere and encouraged delegates to adopt a frame of mind that embraced being open to opposing viewpoints. Blaha also hosted a breakfast on Friday morning during which he interacted with delegates and shared his experiences working in the foreign service. With Blaha’s words of advice introducing the conference, VICS XXI commenced and an amazing weekend began!

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Charles Blaha, the Director of the Office of Security and Human Rights in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor giving the Keynote speech at the opening ceremonies for VICS XXI.

This year, VICS XXI offered one of the largest sum of committees it has ever had- nineteen. VICS was committed to expanding the scope of what a crisis committee can do and offered both innovative and interactive committees, historical and contemporary. Among the most popular committees was the Peloponnesian War and the Future of Chinese International Relations, committees that tested a computer program designed by one of our crisis directors and aimed at conducting the entire committee from crisis notes to directives to crisis updates all on the computer. VICS also had two joint-crisis committees- the Space Race and the Spanish Civil War- and two ad hoc committees- the Secretary General’s Good Offices and the Directors General’s Good Offices. Delegates enjoyed the fast-paced nature and arrange of interesting topics of VICS’s crisis committees this year.

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Delegates at VICS are known for sending in high volumes of personal and committee notes throughout the weekend as seen by the numerous notes scattered on the floor.

Outside of committee, VICS XXI was proud to deliver amazing social events to couple with the delegates’ in-committee experiences. On Thursday night, VICS hosted a head delegate social at the house of the USG for External Relations, where head delegates had the chance to interact with each other and members of the Secretariat and the International Relations Organization’s Executive Board. On Friday, Bar Night was a huge success at Cafe Caturra, with great drinks, lively music, and a dance floor. VICS’s FratSim changed locations this year back to Phi Sigma Kappa. Delegates joined staff on Saturday night to commemorate a great conference. A live DJ and a packed dance floor made VICS XXI’s FratSim the best yet!

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Delegates in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association committee writing directives and participating in a moderated caucus.

On Sunday morning, delegates gathered in Old Cabell Hall for Closing Ceremonies. After speeches about the impact of VICS and the weekend’s charitable contribution to the International Rescue Committee, awards were given out. Before highlighting the delegation awards we would like to recognize some of the unique individuals awards with historical significance to VICS.

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Editor’s note: VICS is known for giving ‘Jefferson Cups’ in place of gavels for individuals winning best delegate. This is a picture of Katie Conley’s Best Delegate award. Katie participated as a member of the College of William and Mary’s International Relations Organization. This was Katie’s last competitive conference in her 10 years of participating in Model UN.

The Spirit of VICS award is unique because of its historical significance to the conference and the University of Virginia. This award is in dear memory of Brian I. Gomez, a passionate member of Secretariat for VICS XV in 2010 who died in his second year from a rare form of cancer. The award is meant to commemorate his life and the impact he had on the conference. He was known as a great Model United Nations competitor, but more importantly, when session was out, he was committed to making sure that everyone was happy and having the best experience they could have at VICS, regardless of their committee or school. Thus, the delegate who claims this award embodies the ideals and values of VICS, meaning he or she is professional and polite, yet ambitious, in committee and is outgoing during social events and eager to get to know other delegates, staff, and the Secretariat. He or she is obviously passionate about Model United Nations and shows a strong desire to work cooperatively with others in order to achieve diplomatic ends. This year’s recipient is Kyle Wolfe. Kyle is a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In attending the last five VICS conferences, Kyle has demonstrated a sincere passion for VICS and all that the conference entails. Throughout his years as a delegate, Kyle has been incredibly helpful and supportive with VICS Secretariat. His enthusiasm and dedication is best represented by his desire to attend VICS XXI as a single-person delegation as his graduate school did not wish to send a delegation.

"This award has always been important to me not only because of its uniqueness, but because it exemplifies the qualities that I think delegates should strive for. These are values and ideals [that] translate to real life and make us better leaders for the future." Kyle S. Wolfe received the Spirit of VICS award this year.

“This award has always been important to me not only because of its uniqueness, but because it exemplifies the qualities that I think delegates should strive for. These are values and ideals [that] translate to real life and make us better leaders for the future.” Kyle S. Wolfe received the Spirit of VICS award this year. Photo and quote proivded by Kyle S. Wolfe.

The University of Florida walked away from VICS with more awards than any other school this year. UF received 11 awards out of the 32 delegates the team sent. Picture provided by Jon Munoz. Jon is the President of UF’s Model UN team for the 2016-2017 academic year.

VICS XXI is proud to announce the school awards as follows:

Outstanding Small Delegation: Vanderbilt University

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Vanderbilt’s Team with the Outstanding Small Delegation award. Picture provided by Will Stewart. Will is Vanderbilt’s Head Delegate.

Best Small Delegation: New York University

Outstanding Large Delegation: Florida State University

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FSU’s World Affairs Program with the Outstanding Large Delegation award. Picture provided by Nick Matos. Nick received four Best Delegate awards for the four conferences he attended during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Best Large Delegation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The UNC Chapel Hill Model UN team with the Best Large Delegation award. Picture provided by Will Stelpflug. Will is one of UNC Chapel Hill’s Head Delegates this year.

Congratulations to all and VICS would like to thank everyone for an incredible weekend. The VICS Secretariat looks forward to seeing everyone next year at VICS XXII- the twenty-second session of VICS, which will unquestionably be even better!

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