"Why does everybody in this country speak goddamn Spanish?" - Max Hammer
Madrid. 2019. Harvard WorldMUN. 21 brave LSE students threw themselves unto the breach once more, and valiantly battled adversaries originating from anywhere between South America and across the street. With 18 delegates and three chairs, #TeamLSE touched down in Madrid and - in what could only be describe as the classic SloMo Bad-Boys-style walk - left the airport to claim Spain's capital for queen and (adopted) country. Sunday, the first full day in Madrid, was spent exploring. #TeamLSE found tourist traps where no man had gone before, as well as royal palaces, churches, and - of course - the Prado. Over the course of the next few days, our exploration would take us even further beyond. It peaked when a small group of four located Madrid's crown jewel: A tiny Tapas bar that served 2L of Sangria for €12.
On Monday, WorldMUN itself began. Held in the IFEMA Conference Centre, famed hosting location of not only the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week, but also the Mercedes Benz Madrid Fashion Week, WorldMUN featured over 1400 delegates from countless nations all over the world, the scale of which only really became apparent during the opening ceremony, when we saw everyone in one place. The ceremony was filled with music, dance, a speech by the king of Spain, and - most interestingly - LSE's classic opening ceremony Bingo game. Two surprisingly acceptable hours later, we set out to visit the highlight of the day: WorldMUN's famed Global Village. The entire delegation excitedly sampled products of the nations of origin of many delegations present, ranging from Venezuelan alcohol to Peruvian alcohol to Moroccan alcohol to Belgian cookies. Their drinks are not to be trusted. However, in the end it turns out we were suspicious of the wrong opponent: #TeamLSE was poisoned after all! The entire delegation came down with flu and even an instance of pneumonia right after the end of the conference. Where might this bio agent have come from?
Tuesday, the real party started. After being kicked out of bed hours before the actual start of debate by Natalie and Matheus, everyone's favourite slavedrivers, all of us quickly came to our senses, and collectively arrived at the conference centre an hour before the actual commencement. #TeamLSE has been drilled well. Over the course of the next four days, the team represented Canada in 10 committees. In discussions about relevant issues such as the migration crisis in Central America, the legality of the 2014 invasion of Syria, or - in a quick shoutout to crisis - whether the ECB should raise interest rates to 3.0% or 3.5%, in 2014. Or was it 2015? No one in that committee seemed quite too sure. Throughout our time at WorldMUN, #TeamLSE lead their blocs effectively, were ALWAYS punctual, and quoted woke bae Justin Trudeau ❤️ many, many times.
Overall, #TeamLSE had a great time at WorldMUN. Many profound insights were gained, such as the fact that trees really are just thick flowers. Much Spanish was learned, amongst it the fact that the Spanish word for meal deal is "mealo dealo". And for some reason, the entire delegation had a weird obsession with Spanish advice on contraceptives, courtesy of our resident Spanish Speaker Matheus Santos.
“I need sliced bread to grow” - Jonas Bokelmann
This adventure was only realised due to the diligent efforts of Supreme Leader and First Bloke Matheus Santos. He invested much time and effort into this trip, but most importantly, he gave us effective advice on what to do in case of mugging: Describe our socio-economic status in Spanish, ask the mugger to calm down (in Spanish), and - of course - kindly request usage of a condom, since we are getting screwed. In Spanish, naturally.
Maxwell Hammer starred as Belgian Centrist Economist and non-cartoon-character Peter Praet (pronounced "Peter Prett") in the Eurozone Crisis of 2014. or was it 2015? His chairs weren't really aware. Neither was the study guide. Or the USG of Crisis. But he had a grand old time in the end, sending one exciting directive after the other (one per three hours, as is WorldMUN law), and using his political power to severely bamboozle Christine Lagarde out of her voting power. Outside committee, Max immortalised himself with his behaviour upon returning to the hotel after an exciting social, with his lanyard still around his neck. When Jonas pointed out that this might choke and kill him during the night, Max calmly responded "That's bad for bitcoin", took it off, and returned to the land of dreams.
Ellie Cottrell & Frederik Braun did their very best to justify the US military intervention in Syria in 2014, which eventually earned them a diplomacy award for their efforts. Ironic. While their committee featured much educated debate, it also contained an inordinate amount of misuses of the ICC and the ICJ, a fact that Ellie would never stop ranting about. Frederik on the other hand made use of his oratory skills as the team's inside delegate and as #TeamLSE's resident producer of curious quotes. Whether it's complimenting Max' fleshy arm or roasting fellow Germans in his committee regarding their humour, he made sure that no #TeamLSE socialising session remained boring. As the MUN Director-elect, Ellie was invaluable help to the current Directors, keeping track of the best quotes of the trip and always having her Deliveroo app open and ready to order takeout whenever the team was too tired to venture out in search of a dining place.
The third Diplomacy Award was claimed by Lina Jeffcock, the UN Society's very own President-elect. She defended our honour throughout debate in the World Health Organisation, fighting her opponents on the important issue of GMOs and their effects, and striking down the devilish Germany, India, and Iran. Never did she tire of waking up at 7:30 every day to meet her bloc, getting 0 sleep, and writing over 10 pages of amendments. In her own words, "that's fun, right???" But overall, much like the rest of us, she had a fabulously exciting time. Much Sangria was drank, many Spanish Tapas were eaten, and loads of socials were celebrated.
Vanessa & Francis represented the team in SOCHUM. The committee was huge, and roll call took about half an hour every morning, but that did not stop them and their committee from using that time effectively to write and submit three draft resolutions. These were all voted down, but then also all reintroduced. Next, there were five different motions to reorder the DRs, but these were also all voted down. Undoubtedly a very productive and wholesome committee. But in the end it all worked out, because Vanessa and Francis managed to tame the massive beast that is SOCHUM and win a Diplomacy Award. However, this pales in comparison to Francis' personal achievement: being crowned Pepe the Frog by all of his three chairs.
In the Union Council of Ministers, Richard addressed the crisis in India in 1984. After the Sikh religion's most sacred temple was shelled by the Indian government, it was upon him to fix religious relations in the nation and maybe not have Indira Gandhi be assassinated this time. He soon ran into the issue of Canadian hostages in this temple, and proposed the obvious solution of airdropping poutine, Tim Horton's, and IV bags filled with maple syrup. Surprisingly, this was not accepted by the chairs. They are just too close-minded. A few secret meetings later, one of which was interrupted but was quickly concealed as a mere "chai with the bois", Richard won himself a Verbal Commendation. To celebrate (and to start peace talks between Sikhs and the Indian government), his committee proposed an ABBA concert, because what's the point of being transported back to the '80s if you can't even see ABBA live. The chairs elected not to respond.
Horatio & Yasmin had a subtly sneaky committee on their hands. While there was one fellow delegate who would copy and steal ownership of Google Docs whenever Yasmin made one, there was no full-on backstabbing going on. However, both of them mastered the subtlety of intrigue perfectly, and were eventually rewarded with a verbal commendation. After leaving the conference centre, Horatio extended the fruitful relationships gained in the committee room to the local clubs, building previously unheard of romantic international alliances. Yasmin on the other hand did much to coordinate #TeamLSE. As incoming MUN Director, she proved her worth both in terms of debate and in terms of getting everyone to go where they have to.
In SPECPOL, Chris & Camille stood strong in the main bloc to defend Canada's right to ban the idea of Quebecian secession. With grand speeches and strong bloc leadership, they were rewarded with a well-earned Verbal Commendation for their efforts. This bloc contained most of the other UK universities in their committee, since we all know that UK universities are the only trustworthy ones in MUN. During the non-MUN parts of the trip, Chris immortalised himself right after returning home as patient zero of the post-WorldMUN plague through a fun selfie straight from the hospital. He was hit with what we first thought to be Tuberculosis, but, after checking their watches and realising it was no longer the 19th century, the doctors came to the conclusion of mere Pneumonia. Get well soon, Chris.
Matheus' committee was much more romantically motivated. In the United Nations Special Summit on Technology (UNSST), everyone seemed to be crushing on the poor volunteers, which seems to have served as motivation for some quality debate. Matheus himself was sadly of course already taken, but that did not stop him from out-debating the rest of the committee and showing what #TeamLSE's MUN Directors are made of. His final blaze of glory earned him a well-deserved Verbal Commendation for his efforts. Outside of committee, he was leading the charge whenever the gang was roaming the streets of Madrid. As one of our treasured resident Spanish-speakers, he taught us all the previously mentioned relevant phrases.
Jonas represented Canada in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discussing the issue of nothing else but Atomic Energy Advances and had a terrific time, especially since he followed in the footsteps of Chris Matthews from the previous year in promoting cross-strand (LSE-KCL) relations, both in and out of committee. Waking up early every morning to meet his bloc and staying up late to write clauses, he walked away with a Verbal Commendation - perhaps he will return in the following years to avenge this injustice?
Evan & Eugene carried LSE's banner into DISEC. With innovative ideas and groundbreaking rhetoric they did not only manage to shatter the glass ceiling, but - in collaboration with our trusted friends from MSB - even managed to shatter a glass table by sitting on it. The immense weight of the raw oratory power contained within these two delegates was simply too much for it to bear. In addition, DISEC saw heavy battle regarding Panel of Authors. Western Europe, Central Europe, US, Canada, and many others became part of heated debate and repeated voting. But in the end, all were brought together again by Holy See's minute of silence for the victims of mass violence. Touching.
While at first one may think that the words blockchain and fun are antonyms, Anderson Tan and Alec Caruana still made it work. Being one of the very few that had actually understood the inner workings of blockchain technology, they managed to spread facts and logic throughout their committee and disprove the delegate that persistently claimed that the Euro was backed by the Gold Standard, as well as those delegates under the impression that bitcoin's value was backed by "computing power". Outside of committee, it was these two team members that located and booked many of our dinner restaurants, so had it not been for them, much of the team would have perished of starvation before even getting a chance to succumb to the previously mentioned Peruvian bioweapon.
Jack spent his time fixing the issues of ECOFIN. Despite being called away for health reasons halfway through the war, he spent that first half working hard and positioning himself as the committee's prime climate change solver. With a chair that was "surprisingly qualified" and a committee full of interesting interactions between the delegate of West Point and the delegate from Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, he and his committee set out to develop LEDCs once and for all. To do this, they were addressed and inspired by the Spanish Head Minister on the Improvement of Environmental Conditions, who was refreshingly excited about the idea that young people might actually be willing to step up and solve climate change, i.e. clean up the mess of the previous generation.
And of course we have to thank our incredible chairs. Natalie Chung, Yi Jun Mock, and Nicole Trofimov all did their part in making WorldMUN this year as fun and unique as it could have possibly been. Enriching SOCHUM, the WHO, and DISEC, respectively, they not only contributed to their committees, but of course also provided the entire team with quality entertainment outside of debates. Whether it is Natalie's never-ending gossip about past WorldMUNs, Yi Jun's finger hearts, or Nicole's romantic exploits, our chairs never left us a boring minute.
"Cherished friends and Natalie..." - Frederik Braun
In hindsight, WorldMUN will undoubtedly be remembered as very intense by our delegation. It lasted for five days, but they were gone so fast. Many energy drinks were consumed, few hours were slept, loads of new friends were made. It reminded us of the fact that WorldMUN is unique and special in the realm of MUN. The strong opposition brought #TeamLSE to their absolute limits, both in terms of physical and MUN-ical capabilities. And we would not have been this successful, had it not been for the incredible training by our MUN Directors.
And that brings me to one of the final points of the article. Over the past year, #TeamLSE has won 72 awards at 7 conferences. It was due to the dedication, the contribution, and the incredible amount of high-quality support the entire team received from Natalie Chung and Matheus Santos that we were able to outdo ourselves at every single conference we went to. #TeamLSE reached new heights this year, and one can only imagine where we will go in the next one with Ellie Cottrell and Yasmin Frischemeier leading the charge!
Before we adjourn this post, we are pleased to announce our WorldMUN 2018 award winners:
Max Hammer – Diplomacy Award, European Debt Commission
Ellie Cottrell & Frederik Braun – Diplomacy Award, Historical Legal Committee
Lina Jeffcock – Diplomacy Award, World Health Organisation (WHO)
Vanessa Lock & Francis Acevedo – Diplomacy Award, Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM)
Matheus Santos - Verbal Commendation, United Nations Special Summit on Technology (UNSST)
Richard Sathirathaya - Verbal Commendation, Union Council of Ministers, India 1984
Jonas Bokelmann - Verbal Commendation, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Horatio Lyons and Yasmin Frischemeier - Verbal Commendation, Organisation of American States (OAS)
Chris Matthews and Camille Coultrap - Verbal Commendation, Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (SPECPOL)
We would also like to thank our our delegates for their incredible work:
Anderson Tan & Alec Caruana – Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)
Evan Schlosser & Eugene – Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)
Jack Hebb – Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN)
Third, we must recognise our chairs:
Natalie Chung, Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM)
Yi Jun Mock, World Health Organisation (WHO)
Nicole Trofimov, Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)
And with that, only one thing remains to be said to end a gloriously successful year of #TeamLSE: It's been a grand adventure, as per usual.