A message from the Secretary General: becky wells

As Secretary General I would like to thank all of those Delegates, Chairs and Secretariat members whose hard work and commitment made YorkMUN 2016 both possible and successful. It was fantastic to be work with such talented and dedicated people. 

The conference began with the Opening Ceremony, to which we invited two of distinguished lecturers from the University of York to speak. Dr Nick Ritchie from the Politics Department and Lars Waldorf from the Law School were able to deliver incredibly coherent and fascinating speeches on the Nuclear Problem and Responsibility to Protect respectively. We were very privileged to hear from these inspiring academics on such key topics within the international sphere at present.

YorkMUN 2016 featured three committees: Crisis (1858 Japan), UNSC (South China Sea Dispute) and DISEC (Arms Trade and Repressive States).  All three committees had significant challenges ahead of them and worked hard throughout the weekend in order to reach conclusions. The DISEC Chairs worked hard in order to ensure that Delegates, for many of whom YorkMUN 2016 was their first MUN experience, were able to successfully debate their topic and work towards and pass a Resolution. As UNSC successfully passed a Resolution on their topic before the end of the weekend, the committee transitioned into a crisis scenario, which allowed for a more creativity within the committee. I commend and thank all of the Chairs for working hard to ensure that Delegates in their committee had the best time possible. Members of the Crisis Backroom staff too deserve the highest praise for their hard work and creativity, which led to an incredibly successful Crisis committee. Finally, I’d like to thank all of the Delegates who worked so hard to debate in the interests of their country while promoting the values of the UN and utilising diplomacy to find solutions to complex problems. 

The socials at YorkMUN 2016 were a great success, with many Delegates, Chairs and members of the Secretariat joining us on both socials. The first social saw a YorkMUN dinner held in the opulent surroundings and with the fantastic service of the ASK Italian restaurant in the centre of York. Good food, conversation andcompany made the evening a truly great opportunity for all YorkMUN 2016 participants to socialise. The opportunity for YorkMUN participants and organisers to continue to get to know each other continued at the second social, which featured a bar crawl followed by a club night. 

The Closing Ceremony was a great opportunity for all participants to hear what other committees had achieved throughout the conference. It was fantastic to see the hard work of Delegates, Chairs, the Crisis Backroom Staff and the Secretariat had come together to produce a productive and enjoyable conference. 

Having been re-elected as Secretary-General, I look forward to building on both the success of YorkMUN in the future and to welcoming everyone to York for YorkMUN 2017. 

UNSC: Antoine Lemonnier and Natalie Chung

YorkMUN 2016 Security Council was a great committee with debates of good quality and lot of researched materials. The issue addressed by the UNSC was the South China Sea dispute. Delegates came up with a consensus within the second day of committee sessions which resulted in a unanimous vote in favour of the resolution. The resolution calls upon all states involved in the dispute to respect international law and the Declaration on the code of conduct, it also demands transparency and the demilitarization of the region to avoid escalation of any conflict. The resolution was good, even if some points were unrealistic such as People’s Republic of China accepting a resolution mentioning the Republic of China (Taiwan). On the third day of committee, chairs had to simulate a crisis involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear programme. Delegates were very enthusiastic and sent over a hundred directives to further enhance the crisis. They voted a resolution to condemn and sanction North Korea even if the United States of America has been invaded by a coalition of European countries and leaders such as President Obama and the Emperor of Japan assassinated.

DISEC: Daniel Worby, Emily Evans, and Henry Winckle

The Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) at YorkMUN 2016 featured some engaging debates from all delegates present, many of whom had never done MUN before the conference. The topic that was discussed was “The Question of the Arms Trade to Unstable and Repressive States”, which all delegates and chairs found to be both simulating and relevant. Points which were raised within the committee included forming a UN body to monitor the international arms trade, as well as attempting to define which states and organisations would be classified as ‘unstable’. After an enjoyable weekend of engaging speeches, fruitful debates and interesting working papers, a position paper was developed that appeared to be supported by the majority of the delegates. Though DISEC didn’t feature the deaths of any Japanese officials, it was still a pleasant committee to chair, and all of the participating delegates seemed to enjoy themselves as well. In particular, the delegate representing the USA distinguished herself throughout the conference with excellent speeches, as well as her leadership within the committee during caucuses. As such, she was awarded Best Delegate, an achievement made even more impressive by the fact that she was originally representing India, before changing to the delegate of the USA, a nation with a controversial history regarding the possession of arms, and one essential to debating this topic. Other delegates who performed especially well (Russia, Italy and Algeria), also received the awards for Highly Commended Delegates.

Crisis Directors: David-Jan Bosschaert, Jesse Harrington, and Thomas Ron

Backroom: Adela Iacobov, Andrew Weeks, Jack Seaton, India Nash, Miro Plückebaum, and Nadine Nassar

In this crisis we simulated the Japanese coup d'état by the Emperor over the Shogun in 1858. Despite a slow start where delegates sought to quell Northern raids by Russian forces before realising that their troops were without boats and sitting on the shoreline in the face of cannonade fire, the delegates eventually fell into full-blown backstabbery as one Daimyo was assassinated by his own bodyguards and the Shogun committed Seppuku (ritual suicide) after being taken ill in a Cholera epidemic. With the Shogun dead, delegates scrambled to declare for either the Emperor or the new Shogun, resulting in a civil war.

All 26 delegates adapted well to the dynamic situation, with the best delegate award going to Robert Gordon who headed the new Shogun Government admirably in the face of an Imperial cabinet led by one of York’s most experienced delegates and winner of the best backroom staff award Andrew Weeks. Delegates also heard of the great fables of Shimazu Nariakira (Mathieu Lohr), Daimyo of Satsuma, who swam 30 kilometres in full Samurai armour after his fleet was sunk by Shogunate forces. Despite this great Shogunate victory the well-equipped Imperial armies, who had sold the entire island of Hokkaido to Russia in exchange for several hundred thousand muskets, marched to Victory at Edo, the capital of the shogunate. It was at Edo that Nariakira took his revenge by leading imperial forces to victory and winning an honourable death before the castle walls. 

For a full view of the crisis, visit it's website below to experience the crisis as the participants did.