Last weekend, October 18-20th, #TeamLSE set out on the arduous 200-mile trek north to the University of Manchester for ManMUN 2019. Despite being the first conference for several delegates, we worked hard throughout the weekend and the 2019 cohort proved ourselves worthy of the mantle we've inherited.
After checking into our surprisingly rustic hostel (complete with charming features such as indoor smoking areas, and complimentary dirty forks and towels), we made our way across the city to the university. The opening ceremony was characterised by two lectures on the international political economy and changing political geography, which were relished by all of #TeamLSE, as well as the usual opening ceremony features which we marked off on our bingo sheets – a late-starting and half-full ceremony, an uncomfortable lack of questions for the panellists, and a fluctuating level of attention paid by LSE delegates.
Committees began immediately after, and #TeamLSE threw themselves straight into debate. With a variety of topics related to the subject of ‘Global Polarity and Regional Ambitions,’ delegates put their training and research into practice in a wide range of contexts. Some committees put our penchant for social sciences to work, with the African Union discussing continental free trade and DISEC tackling international peace and security related to nuclear weapons. Other committees drew more from their research on current issues; the Arab League took on the Qatar Diplomatic Crisis and UN Women addressed child marriages and FGM in sub-Saharan Africa. After an afternoon of debating and bloc-building, #TeamLSE made our way to the social that evening, where we enjoyed eye-wateringly sour wings and a few rounds of pub quizzing before heading home to carry on the party LSE-style (the girls’ dorm didn’t put their laptops away until after midnight).
The next day brought more challenges, and not just regarding progress along the road to a successful resolution. A number of mishaps occurred, with one delegate accidentally claiming that Italy endorsed homophobia, and another calling for the Arab League to commit war crimes. However, throughout the conference, bloc unity lead to great cooperation within committees; ASEAN managed to pass its first resolution by 2.30pm on Saturday, and a lack of rivalry was not uncommon elsewhere, with other committees working together on one working paper (even if one delegate’s clauses were stolen by an antagonist delegate). However, despite our enthusiasm at the beginning of the day, by 6.30 we were more than ready to motion to suspend debate and made our way back to our hostel-away-from-home to get ready to hit the town for the formal social. After ‘strategic chatting’ our way through the evening at committee tables, some more than others, we hit the dance floor in style and stayed out partying to great British classics the latest of any other visiting delegation, proving that while LSE may work the hardest, we can also play the hardest too.
In the morning, we emerged fresh-faced ready to take on our final day. As well as passing resolutions, there was plenty of time for other events, including a dancing raid on UN Women by the African Union, a ‘moo-off’ and performance of the Cha Cha Slide by UN Women for the Arab League, and even a proposal from one LSE delegate to another!! Another core aspect of the weekend was the relentless and traumatic criticism of #TeamLSE, shockingly in part from the more self-deprecating corner of the delegation. Delegates took to Twitter to roast each other, the chairs, and the conference itself, and the results have become legendary.
#TeamLSE were also proud to sweep the board in the opening ceremony, with fourteen of our seventeen delegates receiving awards within their committees. We also won the prestigious ‘Best Large Delegation’ award, announced as ‘obvious as anyone who can do math’ – thanks, Manchester, we’ll take that as a compliment. After taking the scenic route back to Manchester Piccadilly, #TeamLSE returned to the gold-paved streets of WC2, loaded with gavels and glowing with the pride of another successful, fulfilling and thoroughly enjoyable conference.
We’d like to extend special congratulations to those delegates who picked up awards during the conference:
Clarissa Wang – Outstanding Delegate
Cherie Jia – Honourable Mention
Sharon Zheng – Best Delegate
Natalie Oakes – Honourable Mention
Emily Griffiths – Best Delegate
Elena Gentilini – Honourable Mention
Annabel Alder – Honourable Mention
Ed Unwin – Outstanding Delegate
Mary Samaha – Honourable Mention
Kaiser Kang – Honourable Mention
Leon Soetandi – Best Delegate
Dowon Kim – Honourable Mention
UN Security Council
Lina Jeffcock – Best Delegate
International Monetary Fund
Frederik Braun – Best Delegate
We’d also like to thank our head delegate Lina Jeffcock and all the MUN team who helped us prepare for this conference. For many delegates, ManMUN was their first taste of MUN and we couldn’t have won Best Large Delegation without their support, as well as that of our training officers, and the hard work of all delegates, whether or not they won awards. Onwards and upwards!