Interview with Philippe Lefevre
Today we are chatting with Philippe Lefevre, Secretary-General of Southern Germany’s largest MUN, Isar Model United Nations (IsarMUN).
The conference, in its 12th edition, will be taking place on November 21st to 24th in Munich, Germany, and feature some new and exciting committees, fantastic academics, and boisterous socials.
Philippe, thank you for joining us, to start, what do you think differentiates IsarMUN from the whole host of other MUNs taking place in Europe happening around the same time?
Thank you for inviting me!
Well that’s a multi-faceted answer but I’d like to focus on three main things which you have already highlighted in your introduction:
- Creative and Challenging Committees
- High Standards of Academics
- Roaring Socials with a cultural twist!
To begin with, we like to take creative directions with our committees and academics at IsarMUN, always bringing in new ideas and topics with the very best team behind them. Through this, we can keep a very good balance between beginners, intermediates and advanced, giving all delegates the type of committees they want as well as a fresh challenge for those more used to MUN.
Next, I’d like to focus on our high standards of academics we keep across the conference from beginning to end. We prioritize this in this year’s edition by taking only one topic per committee, allowing for a more in-depth discussion over the 3 days of the conference. Furthermore, with three chairs per committee and an expert Professor or Academic working with you, you’re guaranteed excellent chairing and guidance throughout the committee allowing you to really get to the meat of the topics, which in other conferences you might lack.
Lastly, I just want to stress our roaring socials too, no conference would be without them! This year we’re really harkening back to our roots, with a Bavarian Dinner to bring out the culture Munich is known for, a diplomatic cocktail to meet and greet all the diplomats among you, and a formal gala, renowned for its suave costumes and great atmosphere!
Thank you, one thing I want to probe further.
What else makes your academics so strong compared to other conferences?
we’re committed to keeping our committees small, and our workshops large. We’ve found from the experience of our secretariat (almost over 100 conferences between our staff !) the smaller committees of 20-30 delegates really allows all delegates to discuss and debate amongst themselves, and get involved in the committee. Compare this to huge committees of 60-100+ and you find that delegates just don’t get the same attention! With the workshops, we love to get a broad swathe of the delegate experience by having not only Rules of Procedure Workshops, but an advanced MUN workshop and specialised workshops for the specialised committees! This way all delegates can gain from the workshops, not just beginners. Furthermore this year we are bringing in a new expert system for each committee. Each committee will have an expert of their field discuss and debate with the committee at a point during session, receive the finalised resolutions, and give detailed feedback to the delegates. This is a great way to know that your work is used to actually inform the cutting edge researchers of the day, as well as pioneer your academic career!
Wow, with so much put into the committees, which committees are you offering at this year’s edition?
We have a total of nine committees this year, with a fantastic mix for all delegates involved. For beginners, we have the Human Rights Council, ECOSOC and UN Women, all classics of MUN for the starter delegates. Between intermediate and beginner, we also have the UN Commission on Science and Technology, a unique committee simulated for the first time to allow those with a little more science than politics to get involved with MUN. For Intermediates, we have the NATO Committee as well as the ACP-EU Summit, again a unique simulation of a vital multilateral summit, for those who love regional committees. Finally, at the advanced level, we pull out all the stops with the International Court of Justice, Historical Security Council and the Yemen Peace Negotiations, where delegates will represent real peacemakers in one of the most violent wars currently raging. As you can see, there’s really something for everyone, and all supervised by an amazing press team which you can also join for a reduced fee!
All of our committees are also united under our theme this year of Rebooting the International System, have you tried turning it on and off again? With the globalized and connected world, we find that gradual reform hasn’t worked. So delegates this year are tasked with how can you reboot the international system when it isn’t working? Come along to find out!
Great, so are the topics out yet?
All the topics are out and have been decided by the delegates themselves! We had a unique method this year where the delegates voted online for which topic they preferred, and the one with the most votes won. We’re very proud of the interaction we’ve had with delegates and we’re sure it’ll really help inspire many. You can find all the topics on our website IsarMUN.org
An example of our voting on facebook! Only the top voted topic was chosen
So enough with the academics.
Tell us a little bit about the fun side socials going on at IsarMUN this year.
Give usa sneak peek, what are you planning?
Well, we’ve got a rollercoaster of a weekend for delegates socially. All kicking off with the diplomatic cocktail after the opening ceremony, where we will be inviting real diplomats to discuss with delegates as well as providing a fantastic atmosphere for all delegates to get to know each other. Friday is our breakthrough Bavarian evening, where a night at a real Brauerei will have you drinking Weissbier and eating Wurst, what better day to have an evening in Munich? Lastly, on Saturday we really pull out all the stops. Our Formal Gala, where the fanciest of dresses and suits combined with this year’s theme of a Masquerade Gala! So bring your masks and reveal you’re true selves at the ball!
This all sounds really nice.
Before we wrap up, is there anything else you want to highlight?
At IsarMUN we’re committed to making MUN affordable, that’s why this year we’ve charged our lowest fees yet, which include the social pack in them so no hidden fees! Furthermore, applying as a delegation gives you a whopping €10 reduction on each delegate, so bring your friends along! We also want to thank NATO and the Technical University of Munich for being our key sponsors this year, and they will be at the conference too.
Sounds like IsarMUN is a fantastic conference, where can people go and sign up?
Thanks very much!
You can find the registration link here: https://www.isarmun.org/registration/ and you can find all the information about our committees on the website too. Also, please follow our social media and keep up to date with all the exciting news ahead!
IsarMUN 2019, 21-24th of November in Munich, Germany