Joint Crisis Committees ready for NAMUN 2014

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Crisis committees should be challenging to delegates, says Eenslid

BY: Rachel Man

With the Conference closing in the Joint Crisis Committees held their final training session Friday. The Valentine’s Day meeting was their last before the Conference beings, but definitely not the first.

Starting in November 2013, the 35 members of Joint Crisis Committees had been meeting 4 hours every week in preparation for NAMUN 2014. The preparation is intense. During the sessions, they not only decide the crises but also things that delegates would want from the team, including updating maps, keeping track of directives, creating crises and press releases, arranging meetings between delegates, and updating the delegates on the general process of the committee.

"The reason it’s more complicated is because what happens on one side of a crisis affects the other side, which is not something that happens in any other kind of committee," said Jenn Eenslid, the Director of Joint Crisis Committees, adding that being a crisis staffer is no easy task.  “It can get tough to keep track of everything that’s going on."  Behind the scenes crisis staff also have to keeping track of events that have already taken place in the simulation, and events that could occur in the future.

With hours of training time and running mock sessions, the goal has always been to supply the best experience possible for those in crisis committees.

“The delegates should anticipate having their debate skills challenged, brought to the limits of their diplomatic abilities, and being tested on their knowledge of history and policy. I believe that this year we will be delivering a level of committee excellence that will really raise the bar on the Model UN circuit,” said Eenslid.

There will be two joint crises running this year, Change 2008 and From Edo Bay to Pearl Harbour. Change 2008 is all about the 2008 Presidential Election in the United States. Committees working on Change 2008 will be separated to cover the Obama and the McCain campaign. From Edo Bay to Pearl Harbour focuses on relations between Imperial Japan and the United States through the Kanagawa period and the World War II period.

#29 the biggest NAMUN yet

2014 Conference expected to welcome 300 delegates

BY: Kate McCullough

The Conference is less than a week away and the North American Model United Nations (NAMUN) 2014 has more registrants than ever before.

"NAMUN is growing every year in multiple areas – staff, registrations, and sponsorship," said Larysa Workewych, director general for NAMUN 2014, who is responsible for coordinating the recruitment of delegates and promotion of the Conference.

This year, NAMUN expects more than 300 students will participate in the Conference, which runs from Feb. 20 to 23 at the University of Toronto. The conference's registration has grown 30 per cent since 2013, and 70 per cent since 2012.

While most of this year’s delegates are coming from North American schools – about a 50-50 split between Canadian and American delegates – some are coming from further afield.

“We have one delegate from Peru joining us which is exciting, because NAMUN has never in its history welcomed a delegate from South America,” Workewych said.

Workewych attributes much of this year’s success to a strategy that was new to NAMUN this year: “reaching out to Model UN clubs and universities that are active in the MUN circuit but have not attended NAMUN before.”

“The hope was to advertise the conference to schools that might not have heard of NAMUN before, and provide them with any information they might need,” Workewych said. Social media, using the hashtag #NAMUN2014, has also proven to be an effective marketing tool.

“Word of mouth has always been an important component of advertising NAMUN 2014 to the University of Toronto community, but we wanted to really utilize the tools available to us to expand promotion and awareness to as many students, schools, and Model UN clubs as possible.”

NAMUN’s significant growth in participants over the last few years means that the size of the committees, number of staff members, and, of course, sponsorship (LINK TO OTHER STORY - http://www.namun.org/news/2013/11/11/namuns-largest-ever-sponsorship-will-allow-conference-to-grow) must increase as well in order for the Conference to run smoothly.

“When you expand one component of a conference, then you need to expand many others to balance it out,” Workewych said.

“Our team this year has been fantastic. They have worked hard to ensure that the Conference was successful in expanding in all directions.”

Coffee Chats with Secretariat

  William Ye / NAMUN

William Ye / NAMUN

Coffee sessions bring Secretariat, staff together in informal setting

By: Deepa Nagari

In an effort to get more interaction between staff and Secretariat, NAMUN has introduced a series of coffee chat sessions where staff will have the opportunity to meet and talk with one another.

During the one hour coffee session, staff and secretariat members have the chance to talk in a more relaxed and informal environment. Staff members have the chance to ask the secretariat members (and each other) questions about school, classes, and the conference itself.

“Everyone gets an opportunity to talk to people from other committees, and to learn what other committees are doing, their status, and to talk to each other at a personal level, “said Peter Tross, Director of Staff Engagement for NAMUN 2014.

“The idea is that the conference will go better if people know each other, make friends, and then have a chance to be working with friends, ” Tross said.

Because of the intensive and fast-paced nature of the four days, staff members really get a chance to work closely with each other,” said Sammy Lau, Secretary General of NAMUN 2014. “In the previous years, by the end of the whole conference, staff members and Secretariat became really close,” he said.

In a campus as large as the U of T, we're bringing together a unique group of students who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet and work together,” said Lau. Making NAMUN  am inclusive community will not only go a long way to creating those friendships, but ensuring that the conference runs smoothly as well, he said.

“These opportunities are more for the staff to feel like they know that the Secretariat are really approachable and friendly,” said Lau. “It was a great event to run. Hopefully we can run them earlier next year, but it has been a success so far,” he said. 

In-House Joint Crisis Conference Another NAMUN First

  Natalie Workewych / NAMUN

Natalie Workewych / NAMUN

In-house joint crisis committee provides training for NAMUN, UNSOC ahead of Conference

BY: Deena Allam

On January 17th, members of both the United Nations Society (UNSOC) — a University of Toronto Model UN club— and NAMUN’s Joint Crisis Committees participated in the first formal collaborative effort between the two student organizations, running the Edo Bay to Pearl Harbour Joint Crisis Committee simulation.

This year is filled with NAMUN firsts, and the training session held last week is no exception. Sammy Lau, Secretary General of NAMUN 2014 said the event was an attempt to form a collaborative environment between NAMUN and UNSOC.

“This year we’re going to be cooperating more and this is just one example of how both of our organizations are able to work together, where they can practice for NAMUN, and UNSOC can practice for our conferences,” said UNSOC president Angelo Gio Mateo.

This sentiment was further echoed by Jenn Eenslid, Director of Joint Crisis Committees for NAMUN 2014. She said that while there was a lot of work put into preparing her staff for this training session, “it was worth it so that they don’t go in dry to the actual conference, a problem we’ve had in the past.” The idea is that these kinds of joint training sessions will serve to make a smoother conference come February 20th.  

The training session saw the UNSOC delegates and the NAMUN moderators divided between three rooms, the American delegation, the war room, and the Japanese delegation.

The Japanese room was adorned with an alarmingly accurate hand-drawn map of Japan courtesy of Hrayr Tumasyan, a fifth year Political Science, History, and East Asian studies student who “just likes staring at maps,” he said.

The atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation since, as first year History and International Relations student Sevda Sparks said, “everybody knows what the United States is going to do but Japan is special and nobody knows what’s going on inside.”



Bill Graham to deliver 2014 Keynote Address

Distinguished U of T graduate is the perfect fit, says Director General

BY: Kate McCullough
 
The North American Model United Nations has featured an impressive roster of Keynote Speakers over the years – Stephen Lewis, Preston Manning, and Brian Tobin, to name a few – and this year proves to be no exception. NAMUN 2014 has announced that former Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Bill Graham, will be joining an estimated 350 staff and delegates as NAMUN 2014's keynote speaker for the Conference's Opening Ceremony February 20.
 

“We wanted someone that is recognizable to Canadians but also around the world because we have a lot of American delegates,” said Larysa Workewych, Director General for NAMUN 2014, who is responsible for organizing the Keynote Speaker. “Bill Graham fits all of this criteria.”
 
A five-time Member of Parliament representing Toronto Centre, Graham served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2004, and as Minister of National Defence from 2004 to 2006 – two important offices at a very crucial time.

“He was in Parliament right after the aftermath of 9/11, so he’s dealt with a lot of the issues that still remain in global politics today,” Workewych said. Graham was also appointed interim leader of the Liberal Party and Official Opposition in 2006. 

Graham played a large role in Canada’s decision not to join the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, but remains candid about his involvement.
  
“It was a defining moment for Canada and Canadian foreign policy…but the decision was the Prime Minister’s. It’s like a Shakespearean play: I wasn’t the king, but I was one of the Earls. It was a very important moment in Canadian history, and anyone involved was glad they were,” Bill Graham told The Globe and Mail in March 2013 – exactly one decade after the invasion.
 
“Canada's decision in the Iraq War really defined the last decade of foreign policy,” said Sammy Lau, NAMUN 2014’s Secretary General. “I think Bill Graham will be perfect in terms of shedding some light on what decisions politicians in that area have to make and how they go about making those decisions.”
 
Not only has Graham had years of experience at the helm of Canadian policymaking on both national and international levels, but he also has a strong affiliation with the University of Toronto, something that Lau and Workewych stressed when considering keynote speakers. Graham received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Toronto, and currently serves as the Chancellor of Trinity College. “We wanted to showcase who it is that has come out of our university,” Workewych said.

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Keynote Speaker. For press information, please contact Larysa Workewych at larysa.workewych@namun.org.

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New bursary program open to thirty delegates

Discounted delegate fees to make it easier for students to attend NAMUN conference

 

BY: Deepa Nagari

After the success of last year’s conference, NAMUN is looking to expand the model UN community by introducing a new bursary program.

The goal of the program is to raise awareness about the conference within the University of Toronto.

The program will be launched in the coming weeks, and applications will most likely be due in the middle of January, with the recipients of the bursaries being selected by the end of January. Those hoping to apply should check the NAMUN website in the coming weeks for further details.

This program is being introduced mainly because several U of T students may be hesitant to participate in the conference due to the costs.

“We understand that some conference fees can be quite daunting and those students that haven’t had a chance to experience Model UN may be hesitant to commit. By offering our delegate fee at half the cost, our hope is to give students an opportunity to experience model UN,” said Larysa Workewych, Director General of NAMUN 2014.

Also, according to Workewych, the majority of the University of Toronto students take part in the organizational team. The new bursary program will give the students the opportunity to take part in Model UN instead.

“The goal is to give students at the University of Toronto a chance to experience the Model UN community that may not otherwise have the time or ability,” she said.  

WestJet renews partnership with NAMUN

 

WestJet offers 10 per cent off flights to NAMUN delegates

 

BY: Rachel Man

WestJet is renewing its partnership with NAMUN, offering 10 per cent off flights scheduled between February 13, and March 2.

Mariela Libedinskythe Deputy Secretary General of Operations of NAMUN 2014, said the airline has been very understanding and cooperative with NAMUN in the past, and has partnered with NAMUN for the last two years.

"WestJet has been known to be very generous and helpful with student groups, and they haven't proven us wrong yet," Libedinsky said. 

Community investment is one of WestJet's social services that they take pride in. Every year, the company supports different charities and non-profit organizations with an in-kind (non-cash) gift-of-flight donation. 

"Having airline partners is what we need to give our delegates the best experience possible," says Sammy Lau, Secretary General for NAMUN 2014.

It is crucial to have a partnership with large corporations, especially as the conference continuously grows, says Lau.

The Marriott is back!

 

Delegates of NAMUN 2014 will be welcomed into the newly renovated accommodation offered by Marriott Hotel.

 

BY: Rachel Man

The Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel is continuing to be NAMUN's partner, providing accommodations for delegates to stay during the conference period in February.

"We’re happy to be back at the Marriott. It’s been a great partner for us, " said Sammy Lau, Secretary General of NAMUN 2014, "Delegates love it. Staff love it."

Last year, the Marriott Hotel also partnered with NAMUN and was highly complimented, one of the main reasons why the hotel was chosen again.

The Marriott provides a short distance from the venue of the conference, which “helps us keep most of our activities in a small radius which is nice, considering the conference is in the winter," said Mariela Libedinsky, NAMUN's Deputy Secretary General of Operations.

The hotel will be finished renovations just before the conference starts, adding to the excitement of NAMUN participants.

"We will be one of the first users of the Marriott renovations when that’s done in January." said Lau.

NAMUN's first-ever application based committee

 

Mladic on trial at NAMUN’s first application based committee

BY: Trevor Koroll

Select delegates to the 2014 North American Model United Nations will have the chance to put Ratko Mladic, accused war criminal, on trial in the conference’s first ever application based committee.

“The committee will put Ratko Mladic on trial for his involvement in the Yugoslav Wars. Delegates will be assigned a role, either as the prosecution team, defence counsel, witnesses, judges or Ratko Mladic.” said Emily Tsui, Director of Specialized Agencies for NAMUN 2014.

An application based committee requires delegates to submit separate applications in order to be considered for a spot. “This committee is intended to attract head delegates and/or delegates well versed in this conflict,” said Tsui.

“Instead of running 3 topics, this committee will have the sole purpose of putting Mladic on trial. There will be one committee session for preparation and a joint session with the Security Council at the end. There also won't be a traditional caucus format, instead it will follow more direct and cross examination procedures.”

Delegates will be given a case book filled with relevant information in order to prepare them for the trial. “Essentially the committee will function as a mock trial to determine the degree of guilt that Mladic has for his participation in war crimes resulting from that conflict,” she said. “Gowns will be provided for lawyers and judges.”

Tsui said the idea for the committee came out of her interest in participating in an International Criminal Court committee, an interest in the Yugoslav conflict, the Balkans, and international law.

Mladic is accused of war crimes during the Bosnian war and was arrested in May of 2011 in Serbia. His trial began in May of 2012 at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Say hello to the 2014 Team!

Growth in staff means means smoother conference for delegates

BY: Harshita Jagadeesh

Following the great success of NAMUN 2013, this year’s conference has some big shoes to fill.

The new staff, headed by Secretary General Sammy Lau, is stepping up to the task. With the largest staff numbers in NAMUN history, the potential is endless.

Twelve Secretariat members have painstakingly interviewed and selected 84 staff members, for a record total of 96 staffers for the 2014 conference.

“This number will only continue to grow as the conference approaches,” says Sammy Lau.

What does a bigger staff mean for the conference and the delegates? Well in the most basic sense it means more activities, well-hinged committee meetings, and resources for information.

The largest staff expansion has taken place in the Joint Crisis Committees. The real time, turn-based approach taken to the Crisis Committees were a very popular and exciting addition to last year’s conference. The committees consist of two delegate teams that are working towards a specific objective.

Delegates can view how their actions play out as they move towards their goal against another group who are directly in opposition to that goal. The expansion in the Crisis Team for NAMUN 2014 will allow for even faster communication between delegates and crisis staff, as well as faster updates on progress and crisis responses.

NAMUN 2014 also has all new Vice Director positions in place. These positions are for returning staff that displayed great commitment and dedication towards NAMUN. They have been brought forth into a new leadership role.

Keep your eye out for this all-star cast! 

 

NAMUN 2014 announces record sponsorship

NAMUN’s largest ever sponsorship will allow Conference to grow

BY: Kate McCullough

The North American Model United Nations received a $5,000 sponsorship this fall for its 2014 conference from the Student Initiative Fund – double the amount it received last year.

“This is NAMUN's largest sponsorship in history. Sponsorship campaigns in past years rarely surpassed $5000 in total,” said Benjamin Gillard, NAMUN 2014’s Director of Business and Partnerships. Last year the SIF awarded NAMUN a $2,500 sponsorship.

“We have met that with one sponsorship and anticipate many other sponsorships to be renewed. Our sponsorship this year should well exceed $7,500 in total, all things holding equal.”

Gillard said NAMUN has been growing steadily over the last decade, but this year it hopes to grow more than ever.

“These sorts of sponsorships are exactly what we need to get there,” he said. This year’s budget is 25 per cent higher than last year’s, and 33 per cent higher than the 2012 budget.

“The increase of sponsorship that we are seeing is coming at a critical juncture in NAMUN's development as we grow the number staff and delegates and expand our programming.”

In the past, NAMUN has solicited sponsorship through personal connections, but Gillard said NAMUN is now using a more sustainable approach.

“Instead, we use a targeted strategy that establishes permanent partnerships with institutions, funds, departments, and other sources that can be renewed from year to year.”