The Liverpool University Model United Nationals was established a few years ago and this weekend they are hosting their second MUN Conference in the Guild. The Sphinx caught up with LivMUN Public Relations Officer Theodora Katsanouli, who has been organising the conference, to find out more.

Model United Nations societies are popular in Universities throughout the UK and also internationally, especially interesting students of International Relations and Politics. At Liverpool the MUN is comprised of students from many subjects and is a very multicultural society. Meeting every Tuesday to debate a new topic, members (or delegates as they are known) are asked to represent a country that is not their own and debate the topic as their given country. Delegates have the opportunity to speak and propose caucuses (a debate within a debate) with the aim to reach a resolution by the end of the session.

Each topic is announced after the previous meeting so members have time to prepare. Topic subjects vary from Women’s Rights to the Zika Virus, and members often come to meetings to debate topics that especially interest them. One of the most popular topics so far this year has been THE USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES IN MILITARY DEPLOYMENT, which had the greatest attendance of the year.

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All images from LivMUN Facebook page and website.

As the society intends to simulate the UN, it encourages the use of certain jargon such as ‘our delegation’, ‘we’ and referring to other delegates by the name of their countries. The multi-national nature of the society makes it perfect for international students looking to better integrate, as everyone is from another country and you forget who is really from where.

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Matthew Welch at Leeds MUN Conference 2016, winning Best Delegate Award: from LivMUN Facebook page.

As well as weekly meetings and holding their own conference, LivMUN delegates also attend conferences at other Universities, such as Leeds and
Manchester. At this year’s Leeds Conference, Liverpool delegate Matt Welch won ‘Best Delegate Award‘ in the US Crisis Cabinet. The MUN is a great way to learn more about international politics, make friends from different cities and countries, and improve your public speaking. According to Theodora a lot of people are interested in getting involved, yet they worry that they are too shy, or not confident enough to get involved; but the society really helps to build confidence, or if you are really shy you can always watch as a spectator.

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This year the Liverpool MUN conference has grown, bigger and better, with delegates coming from Universities all over the world, several from the UK (York, Manchester, Leeds), and from Belgium, Italy, Iraq, Nigeria, Turkey, India, USA, Ukraine and three Ghanian institutions. The conference is a three day event Friday 11th – Sunday 13th March, consisting of debates between five different committees, each with two topics.

  • DISEC (Committee for Disarmament and International Security)
    • Topic A: Combating Narcoterrorism and Transnational Crime with Emphasis on the Situations in Yemen and Mexico.
    • Topic B: Foreign Military Bases and its Effect on International Security
  • UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council)
    • Topic A: The Effects of Counter-Terrorism on the Enjoyment of Human Rights.
    • Topic B: The Protection and Promotion of LGBT Rights and their Treatment thereof.
  • ECOSOC (The Economic and Social Council)
    • Topic A: The Changing Role of Foreign and Humanitarian Aid.
    • Topic B: The Issue of Improving Internet Access and Reducing its Costs to Improve Economic and Social Development.
  • UNSC (United Nations Security Council)
    • Topic A: The Question of Yemen, the Houthi Insurgency and International Intervention.
    • Topic B: The Question of the Sudan/South Sudan Conflict and the South Sudanese Civil War(s).
  • CRISIS (!!!!!)
    • The year is 2076 and mankind stands at a critical juncture. A human spaceship just beyond the newly-established colony on the moon appears to have made contact with an unidentified, seemingly alien vessel. Delegates’ response to this event will determine the way in which this Crisis unfolds, so only one thing is for certain – the world will never be the same again…

“anything can happen”

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To me CRISIS seems the most exciting committee to be on. An artificial scenario, a ‘crisis’ situation where “anything can happen”. The CRISIS Committee is organised differently from the others; composed of two cabinets, and the chairs of the committee play the parts of Gods, who can affect the discussion in any way. Before Christmas, the LivMUN held a CRISIS topic in their weekly meeting about Artificial Intelligence, which involved the UK collaborating with the EU over the US and bombing the US President.

The conference looks like it will be a really fun and interesting weekend; a great opportunity to flex your debating muscles and connect with students from around the World.

Photo from: Liv MUN website

If you are interested in attending the conference there is still time to register, as admissions closes by Thursday 10th March. £10 members (+ social £30), £20 non-members (+ social £45). Or if you are interested in getting involved in the future, you can find out about Tuesday meetings on the Liv MUN Facebook group or their website, membership costs £4 and can be purchased on the Guild website.

The topic for this week’s meeting is THE DEATH PENALTY, and will be in session 6-8pm in the Guild Library.