Academic quality is a crucial part of an educative Model UN experience…. It is not necessarily the end itself, but it is certainly the means to the end.
Our goal is to inspire the most talented young people and become the best Model UN in China from the very beginning.
It has been 8 years since IMUNC’s first crisis simulation conference took place on July 28, 2009. In these eight years, we, as one of the earliest conferences to focus on crisis simulation, have successfully created a widely-recognized crisis simulation format. At the same time, we have never stopped on the path of academic innovation. From the U.S. Senate in 2010 to the Council of the European Union in 2011, from the UN Secretariat in 2013 to the Diplomatic Corps in 2014 and the League of Arab States in 2015, IMUNC has been consistently advocating for the perfection of the crisis simulation model. Today, we will continue on the paths taken by our predecessors and finished this journey to excellence.
After the conclusion of each crisis simulation, we have always taken some time to think about how crisis simulation could be better developed. We are not even sure whether the answer to this question exists, but since we have chosen the arduous journey of excelling ourselves, we will move forward with confidence. To us, past glory is both honor and bottleneck. We learn lessons from our past mistakes and absorb experience from past achievements, and we will facilitate our delegates to become their better selves by higher-quality and more logical academic designs. Thus, no matter how great our past designs are, we will always have room to improve.
2016 is the ninth year of our conference. It is a brand new start. We will uphold the principles set by our predecessors and spare no effort in designing a crisis simulation system that is closer to perfection based on years of experience and feedback.
We will also be welcoming a dynamic change at IMUNC this year. IMUNC UN Division will be officially renamed to Innovation Division. From 2015, we have been experimenting different conference settings and rules. During these experiments, we have constantly received feedback and support from our delegates on rules of procedure, committee design, agenda setting and means of discussion. These different voices encourage and inspire us to change. We have discovered that only by tirelessly innovating, by creating and designing conference based on the actual need of each and every committee, by abandoning the banality hidden behind the negative peace during sessions, can we truly reflect the actual international environment. It is for sure not a sea of serenity, but a battlefield of multiple dimensions where interests are exchanged and wars are fought. The Innovation Division of IMUNC 2016 will focus more on how designs and settings could facilitate the efficiency of the debate, how innovations can provide delegates with an immersive and panoramic experience. No matter our topic is about politics, history, economy or international cooperation, our constant pursuit is to enable delegates to experience a more realistic learning experience in real world settings.
For our Law Division, the stereotype of boring traditional courts has never been our label. In IMUNC 2016, we will continue to work closely with our academic partners, Prelawyer Association of China University of Political Science and Law, and Jurisprudential Association of Youth of East China University of Political Science and Law, to spread the notion of rule of law. They will form the academic team of the Law Division with other elite students from renowned institutions. As law enthusiasts, we believe that laws should be believed in. Our academic team will create an ambience and environment of rule of law for delegates through refreshed conference design and experience. We will help our delegates understand how to respect the law in arguments on legislation and how to revere the rules in trials. In this year’s conference, we will not only, as we have always been doing, guide delegates to focus on the present through delving into the past, but also encourage delegates to transcend the present. Delegates will wander between the past and the future, pander between national interest and personal rights. Through this process, they will learn to observe the tangible frontiers of social development in a redesigned and refreshed view of the world and explore the prospect of law.
Since its foundation in 2008, IMUNC has been known for its unique conference designs. IMUNC is the indisputable leader in the field of Model United Nations for the eventual purpose of education, and we are constantly improving upon our conference designs to help our delegates become their better selves. The design of IMUNC is based on a fundamental and unique concept, that is, we care more about whether our academic designs bring delegates educational purposes than whether our simulation of the world is accurate in every details or not.
Aiming for achieving educational impact through Model United Nations completely changed IMUNC’s overall academic design. No matter our delegates play the roles of national leaders in the Crisis Division, individuals or states in the Innovation Division, or participants of the rule of law in the Law Division, the academic structures of the committees are always serving for the purpose of maximizing the educational experience for delegates. The structure of IMUNC is thus fundamentally different with other Model UN conferences.
Principle of Minimal Intervention
One aspect of the change stemming from our focus on providing an educational experience is the change of the role of Academic Directors. In many other Model UN conferences, Academic Directors play important parts, with rights of approving all documents, deciding the order of speech of delegates, ruling an action as “out of order”, guiding delegate discussions, among others. However, that also means that they take grave responsibilities, some of which they are not able to shoulder. Contrary to common belief, Academic Directors usually do not know what is happening in all corners of the conference. Even their understanding in certain areas of the topic may seem shallow compared to delegates who have conducted extensive research in that field, not to mention their rights of approving documents and arranging speech orders which have inherent flaws. In short, intervention from Academic Directors at times has only negative impacts.
We believe Model UN is about connecting great delegates and deciding to change. Therefore, we try our very best to give delegates maximum space to act, present, and imagine. Academic Directors at IMUNC play the roles of observers and advisors, instead of moderators. That means delegates rather than Academic Directors control how the conference develops. However, this is more than a simple “downgrade” of Academic Directors. Our academic designs revolve around how to train delegates, rather than Academic Directors, to take on responsibilities and get the most out of the conference.
In fact, “Out of Order” simply does not exist in IMUNC. During the conference preparation process, delegates will be constantly reminded the rules of procedures of the conference and the importance of writing documents. Regarding the agenda, delegates will be able to decide where the discussions are headed. Delegates, rather than Academic Directors, determine the eventual outcome of the conference.
While the Principle of Minimal Intervention sounds risky, it has become a great success. Delegates understand that they are shouldering great responsibilities. Thus, they fully devote themselves to the conference and perform exceptionally. Our eight years of experience makes this mechanism great.
IMUNC started its digitalization process in early 2010. Our initial goal is to cut the amount of paper used in conference to protect the environment and save cost. However, we gradually realize the potential and many more advantages of a fully digitized conference. Info Flow allows us to present our conference in an unprecedented way with great efficiency, real time connectivity, and complete coordination among committees. You must be curious how this mechanism is possible: after all, we will have to ensure that a massive amount of information can flow freely across committees, that all delegates can access the news portal in real time, while preventing any security breaches.
Info Flow is our answer.
Info Flow is an information linkage system developed by IMUNC. It originated from a brilliant idea. In fact, Info Flow is like an online portal for all things IMUNC during the conference. Here, all news reports, editorials, latest resolutions of the UN, public statements released by cabinets, and speeches made by presidents are uploaded and pushed to delegates in real time through our website. With Info Flow, we allow delegates to utilize their electronic devices to connect with other delegates, the Academic Directors, and the entire conference. Meanwhile, delegates can communicate with each other through Info Flow in real-time from any place in the conference area. This replaces the traditional “pages” and provides great convenience for our participants. Delegates have access to their accounts of Info Flow, and their latest statements and decisions may flow instantly across the conference.
We also advocate in expanding the functions and improving the stability of Info Flow. In 2012, over 1,000 news reports and documents were published through Info Flow with an uptime of 99.994%. In 2013, we brought updates to real-time communication and significantly improved platform performance. There were no service failures during the conference and the uptime was 100%. Through the integration of past successes, the payload of Info Flow decreased over 50% during IMUNC 2014 and deep integration with IMUNC’s next-generation conference management system, iPlacard. In 2015, while continuing the tradition of 100% uptime, the optimized Info Flow achieved unsupervised automated operation. Meanwhile, the sister project of Info Flow, single committee information linkage system, was implemented for the first time.
Network at the venues has been the bottleneck of improving Info Flow performance. IMUNC began purchasing Wi-Fi routers since 2013, and currently possesses 48 routers to compose iNetwork, our conference wireless network. All IMUNC conferences have free Wi-Fi coverage, and we are continuing to purchased 3G and 4G routers to improve broadband connection capability. In IMUNC 2016, we will, for the first time, manage our network on an infrastructure level: Info Flow will be operating in an intranet, and instant, low-latency information linkage would be made possible.