Dear MUNers, I’m a 19 year old French second year student in the Euro-American program of Sciences Po Paris at Reims and I am delighted to serve as secretary general of RIMUN 2017. MUN has rhythmed my life since high school, and I’ve since attended 9 conferences in various positions. I’ve particularly appreciated having fun as the delegate of the very controversial Syrian Arab Republic in the disarmament committee at THIMUN and was enriched in the experience of organising my High school’s MUN, INDMUN, in my senior year. I can’t wait to welcome RIMUN’s delegates next March.
RIMUN is a college level conference that has been organised by Sciences Po students for 6 years.
One of the many strengths of our conference is our range of committees, which showcase the creativity and skill of our Script team. In classical committees, such as the UN Security Council, you’ll require your best diplomatic mettle to defend your state’s interests in a range of exciting, innovative scenarios. Our crisis committees will stretch your skill and imagination to their limit by placing you in the command seat of the English Civil War, giving you the power to shape not only the present, but the past. Another strength of the committees is their relatively small size, generally between 25 and 35 delegates, which permits beginner like confirmed Muners to benefit from an active participation throughout the debate.
Our conference also proposes two committees (UNESCO and the Banque Africaine de développement) where the debate will be held in French. That makes it accessible to students who feel more comfortable in French.
MUNPlanet: RIMUN offers first-hand democratic experience to its participants. Do you think that practical experience is more important than theoretical knowledge, and how much?
As a political Science student, I can’t stop from thinking that at college we sometimes focus too much on theory and not enough on practical experience. Theory is important to create a frame in which you can think about geo-strategical issues, but if not successfully balanced with practical knowledge, we can substantially deviate from the real world’s issues. That’s why MUNs are so popular. They permit students to watch theory work in a competitive environment in which the ultimate victory is the securing of your country’s interests. Aside from this realist view of the world, I truly think that MUNs can help youth find their calling. The topics that you will debate can help you to decide what you want the meaning of your life to be: the protection of the environment, the fight against terrorism or assisting refugees? Your call.
The Collège des Jésuites was built in the early 17th century. It was harmoniously renovated in order to host the Euro-American and Euro-African programs of Sciences Po in a way that keeps the charm of its history and the modernity of our world. A number of rooms are listed as historical monuments, notably the old library and the staircase. The mythology of the place is strengthened by the fact that Jean-Baptiste Colbert, one of Louis the XIV’s principle ministers, and Nicolas de Condorcet, a famous revolutionary, were both educated between these walls.
MUNPlanet: This will be the largest RIMUN edition to date continuing the association’s dedication, eloquence, and community. Where do you see the conference in the next 3, 5, and 10 years?
We expect approximately 400 students this march, which would make it slightly larger than last year’s conference which welcomed 360. The conference is bound to go in the next years with the increase of the student population on campus, which will host most of the Sciences Po graduates by 2018, and will see the construction of a 600 seats large amphitheatre. RIMUN is definitely going to stay France’s second largest MUN conference, and maybe eventually compete with PIMUN for the first place.
MUNPlanet: RIMUN is a well-structured conference with complex organization. Could you introduce us to this structure? And, please, share some organizing tips with our community.
Making sure every pole is aware of what they have to do is very important to keep things moving. But what I think is the key to a good organisation is a transmission between the senior members and the junior members. Indeed, in every pole are present both second year members and first year members, the first which train the former for their responsibilities when they will be head of pole.
At Sciences Po we often feel that we’re in our political sciences echo chamber. However, I know for a fact, that many people do like business and economics as well and they often feel like MUN might not cater to them. I think what’s at the core of MUN is knowing how to debate in a codified manner. That applies to UN type committees, but debating and arriving at compromises is also a natural exercise in many other fields. In executive boards, one needs to negotiate, bargain; and within boards, actors need to strategically implement their preferred goals. It’s a great climate for conflict of interests and it pushes delegates to strike deals, which often makes for interesting committees. We picked McDonald’s because we did not want to make it inaccessible; it’s pretty easy to get accustomed with the company. It’s also true that McDonald’s has some good qualities for a MUN committee: it’s international and it is currently going through an identity crisis of some sorts. We’ll have different topics around business life that cater to different sensibilities: consulting the company, developing new technologies but also focusing on workers’ rights. Even though the topics are schematic, we think they encompass different sides of the business world.
MUNPlanet: You have a very interesting League of Nations committee. What will it deal with and what type of delegate would you recommend this committee to?
Historical committees are a staple of MUN. In my opinion, what makes a good historical committee is the possibility for delegates to rewrite and change history rather than how popular the event is. The Abyssinia Crisis is just that: an international fiasco. Our committee will mainly deal with how could the League of Nations and international actors have acted differently to better enforce sanctions against Italy, and/or prevent Italy from defecting to Nazi Germany. Usually, we like to say that historical buffs and idealists should participate in historical committees. However, I also think the committee needs delegates who actively do not want to change history and who will be ready to play devil’s advocate. To make it brief, we need experienced delegates but most of all delegates who will want to endorse the position they’re given and who will have no qualms about being the bad guy. Bad guys (and girls) make for fun committees.
MUNPlanet: If someone is thinking of trying MUNs for the first time at RIMUN, which committee would you recommend to them and why? And which would you recommend to more experienced delegates?
RIMUN has both classical MUN committees and crisis/historical/specialised committees. As first time MUNers, I’d recommend that you register for classical MUN committees, so that you learn how working on a multilateral level is. It also makes it easier for you to get accustomed with the rules of procedure, which can become relatively complex. For experienced delegates, I would for sure recommend that you try our “Secret committee”. Its participants learn about their scenario, role, and objectives only hours before the conference begins, pushing even an experienced delegate’s skills to the limit.
MUNPlanet: For the first-time MUNers, do you have any tips or guides on how to prepare for the conference?
Our script team has been working tirelessly to provide you with precious information in the research reports. Therefore you should look closely into them to get accustomed with the great questions raised in the topic, and then look specifically at what your country’s position is on these by looking at their permanent delegation’s UN page for example.
Our weekend will be packed with social events that will make your experience unique. Straight after the Opening ceremony, which will see talk a former diplomat of the UN secretariat, a cocktail will be held. You will there have what Reims produced the best: champagne and biscuits roses. After that you will have the opportunity to go to a bar night in place d’Erlon where you will enjoy very interesting discounts. On Saturday night will be hosted a memorable party in a Art deco style building. The exact location of it must stay secret for advertisement purposes but I can assure you that you will live in a fairy-tale dream with what France offers best.
RIMUN staff can’t wait for the night we prepared for you, without any doubt, it will be special, as it will take place in this beautiful building, where you will be able to feel like time stopped in the Roaring Twenties. The event admission is a part of our Social Pack, available to all the delegates for just 20 euro.
MUNPlanet: What is one thought you’d like the participants to leave your conference with?
I’d like to want to feel like they have learnt something on themselves which can rhythm their lives, in the goal of crafting a more just, sustainable and secure world.
I can’t wait to see you in March!
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