The Montreal United Nations Conference (MUNC) opened its doors in November 2013 with a bold vision of transforming the Model UN landscape in Canada. It featured a Blue Division composed of committees for delegates in secondary school and college, in addition to an Orange Division for university students. It rapidly became the only conference in Canada where students of those three levels of education could be reunited in one setting. It was also one of the first conferences on the academic year, providing a great opportunity for newcomers to experience Model UN. Many delegates, including myself, often refer to MUNC as their first conference.
MUNC was by founded by the faculty coordinators of Dawson College Model United Nations (DCMUN), Chris Bourne and Ted Irwin. DCMUN was started in 2009 and has since become the largest extracurricular academic activity at Dawson College. DCMUN provides students with opportunities for personal growth and international political awareness through training and participation in Model United Nations conferences in Quebec, in Canada and around the world.
DCMUN held its first conference in 2010 which evolved into MUNC by 2013. The launch of MUNC in 2013 was an immediate success. With 200 participants in its opening year, the transformation of the Canadian Model UN landscape was in the making. The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of MUNC 2013 was Kathryn White, President & CEO of the United Nations Association in Canada in addition to Vice-Chair of the World Federation of UN Associations. In the years to follow, MUNC would continue this rich tradition of high quality speakers by inviting François LaRochelle, President of the United Nations Association in Canada (Greater Montreal Branch), and Manon Gauthier of the City of Montreal.
The secretariat and conference staff were made up of individuals from different schools – a defining feature of MUNC that continues to be present in each subsequent conference edition. Today, all the major universities in Montreal are represented on the conference staff. The first Secretary-General of the conference was Daniel Etcovitch, a graduate of Dawson College in Liberal Arts and now studying at Harvard Law School. Daniel’s brother, Jason Etcovitch, was the Graphics Coordinator from 2013-2014, providing the iconic visual designs for the conference including MUNC’s logo.
From the beginning, MUNC would become known for its creative and authentic committee experiences focused on the United Nations and real-world issues. In 2013, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee simulation invited delegates to collaborate with each other on issues of global security resulting in the implementation of an information-sharing database, in addition to improving security capabilities among Member States.
For a new conference, MUNC was organized professionally and received great praise for what it offered participants. Daniel Etcovitch was succeeded by his Undersecretary-General of Internal Affairs, Lea El Houssami. Under her administration, the conference participation doubled resulting in a larger staff, new committees and more social events including a pub crawl in downtown Montreal that was covered in local media. MUNC was now an established conference on the Canadian circuit and it would only grow larger from here on out.
In March 2015, I was appointed the Secretary-General of MUNC 2015 and have held the office since. In five years, the conference has grown to become international with delegates coming from all over the world. Our 2017 conference has over 500 participants registered with a conference staff of 80 individuals. The rapid growth is remarkable, and the path is certainly bright for MUNC in the years ahead.
MUNC is continuously innovating the experience and setting the standards for Model UN conferences in Canada. One of the achievements I am the proudest of is the continued engagement of our participants year after year. Many of our staffers have been organizing MUNC for numerous editions now and were previously delegates at the conference before then. This level of commitment is a testament to the experience and values we each share at MUNC. We are a group of individuals dedicated towards putting together incredible committees for delegates to enjoy. The delegate experience comes first.
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