Back to the Beginning…
By Rowena Lui
The London International Model United Nations (LIMUN) is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current topics in international relations, diplomacy and the functioning of the United Nations.
This is achieved as delegates take on the roles of diplomats, research on and represent the policies of their countries. During the course of the three-day conference, each of the committees debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.
As part of an investigation into the history and legacy of LIMUN, 3 keen and dedicated trustees have kindly agreed to tell us their personal LIMUN stories.
When It All Started
Anthony Moore, 25, is the Advisor Trustee for LIMUN 2013. He remembered that the first people who started LIMUN came up with the idea in 1999 as they returned from a MUN in Cambridge. He recalled casually, “sitting in pizza express, they decided to set up one in London, so half a year later we had the first LIMUN.”
Anthony first joined LIMUN back in 2006 on a university colleague’s recommendation, and he attended as a delegate in the 5th session. Within only one year, he became a chair on the Secretariat for his 7th MUN conference.
This year’s is his 8th LIMUN conference, yet his best most memorable moments remained with the 2007 socials which took the form of a boat party on the River Thames. In his recollection, negotiations had to be made on the night concerning the amount of food and number of people; the Secretariat then had to be moved to ’the pub across the road’; some delegates were ‘jumping up and down on the gangway leading to the boat’; and the party was eventually threatened to be shut down because the boat was simply ‘about to collapse’.
Born in the UK, Anthony has spent the last five years in Germany as a Mathematics teacher at St. Georges School, where he currently leads a 19-member MUN club that came to this year’s LIMUN as he is eager to “share the unique experience with the new generation.”
“An excellent learning experience”
As the Advisor Trustee, Anthony takes on the role to advise and assist the secretariat in the preparation, organisation and running of the event. He reflected that LIMUN is “an excellent learning experience for everyone involved, from the delegates, volunteers, to press, even more so for the secretariat, to gain experience that is not normally possible.”
“When you start with LIMUN, you fall in love with LIMUN.”
It seems that one cannot simply get away from LIMUN. Having started his LIMUN journey very early on, Rahul Agarwal, the Chair Trustee, realised that the people who had been part of LIMUN in the past are “almost like an alumni”, as many of them still share a “passion and love for LIMUN”. “Being a member of the Secretariat especially”, he described with a big smile, “it is almost like creating a baby and watching it grow into what you see today.”
Looking back at the evolution of LIMUN, Rahul remembers that the first ever session of LIMUN was held at University College of London, with 200 delegates over five committees taking part from 15 countries. In 2007, this figure grew to about 500, and later to 700 over 12 committees in 2008. Rahul also remarked the difficulties of having a £300 fund in the first year, compared to today’s ‘five-figure sum’ budget: “It is clear that LIMUN has very much expanded financially, thanks to donations from various embassies, companies sponsorships, and the sale of social tickets.”
Get Involved and Take Initiative!
Working currently as a consultant at Ernst & Young, Rahul considers LIMUN to be an ‘invaluable experience’ that will personally benefit him for his developing career, as he is entrusted to “take hold of an organisation and run it from the top”, taking special care of its financial sustainability.
Thus he would highly recommend young people to “get involved in LIMUN as much as possible, especially to try to get on the secretariat”. He also encourages students to ‘take initiative to start a MUN society’ if there is not yet one at school or university: “You will soon find people who will love to join you… Even if you are a single delegate, that should still not stop you from applying for the Secretariat.”
LIMUN can do nothing but better itself every year. Rahul anticipates even bigger LIMUNs that will offer even more supplies and delegate spaces in the years to come, because London, as a world class city, now has a ‘global reputation’ to uphold. In his plain words, “LIMUN is nothing without London.”
A Fulfilling Experience
Gavin Patti, 24, has participated in LIMUN since 2008, attended twice as a delegate and twice as a chair before becoming a trustee this year to oversee the finances of the charity. Graduated from SOAS in 2011, Gavin now works at PwC Government and Public Sector 24.
He has been to many other MUN conferences around the world, including once debating in Japanese in Japan. As a result of these experiences, Gavin believes that, every year, coming to LIMUN is “a fantastic way to meet new people, learn something different, and just have a great time!”
Best Moments So Far
His funniest moments at LIMUN were when he chaired the World Health Organisation last year and decided to make his committee hold a minute silence for Whitney Houston: “I had to stand up looking very solemn, when I really just want to burst out laughing… And I made sure to have a picture of Whitney in the background with candles and quiet music playing.” Recalling the incident, he laughed, “It was quite a beautiful moment, really.”
In 2009, LIMUN held its first milestone conference at King’s College, celebrating its 10th anniversary with 800 delegates spread over 12 committees. In 2010 and 2011, the event continued to grow by attracting over 1,000 delegates each. New committees were also introduced, expanding to 16 in 2011. 2012 marked a peak, as about 1,200 delegates were spread over 20 committees at Imperial College, which has hosted LIMUN since 2011.
But with over 1,500 delegates from across the world forming 25 committees, 2 of which in Spanish and French this year, LIMUN 2013, is clearly the ‘best one yet’. It is, by a long way, the largest annual university level MUN conference in Europe, set in ‘the world’s most cosmopolitan city’.
Therefore, it is with great excitement and expectations that we look forward to seeing what LIMUN 2014 will bring!
Editor Dobriyana Tropankeva