the University of Chicago’s traveling Model United Nations Team launched its own collegiate conference, ChoMUN, with the objective of providing delegates the opportunity to discuss and debate a wide range of issues in the context of unique, innovative, and diverse committees.
In the past twenty years, ChoMUN has grown to become one of the premier conferences on the collegiate Model UN circuit, specializing in unconventional and often unprecedented continual crisis committees. While the number and type of committees we run vary each year, certain core elements have come to be recognized as the essence of ChoMUN.
Since 1998, ChoMUN has featured committees that vary across time, space, and theme. Variety is the trend this year as well – ChoMUN XXI’s committees span nearly all continents as well as a wide assortment of themes and time-periods. Yet, ChoMUN goes beyond picking fascinating themes. We also endeavor to translate these themes into inventive committees that promote interesting and engaging debate. Chairs, Crisis Directors, and ChoMUN Secretariat work together to ensure that the substance and theme of each committee is carefully matched to the structure for which it is best suited.
One of the core tenets of ChoMUN is that international relations and foreign policy are not solely the responsibility of transnational and international organizations. Corporate bodies, editorial boards of newspapers, government cabinets, and Security Councils are all capable of debating and determining foreign policy, albeit in different settings and contexts. ChoMUN’s committee-mix reflects this notion. For instance, ChoMUN XXI’s the Court of Emperor Haile Selassie demonstrates the challenges faced by the ruling Ethiopian cabinet as they deal with overlapping threats of internal conflict, external invasion and an international community that is not ready to practice what it preaches.
Crisis forms the core of every ChoMUN committee – large or small, historical or modern. Consequently, the crisis room is where the heart and pulse of ChoMUN lies and where the creativity and innovation of the staff comes to fruition. ChoMUN’s Crisis Directors undergo rigorous training and think about crises through a multidimensional rather than linear lens. This ensures that they account for and respond to the wide variety of actions that delegates might take in committee, thereby leading to truly engaging crises.
In addition to working towards creating interesting and interactive committee-wide crises, ChoMUN staffers place a high premium on improving each delegate’s experience by creating individual crises. Crisis Directors ensure that every delegate has the opportunity to be involved in debate and is able to take action, irrespective of his/her position. This year, our staff will be trained more than ever before to provide personalized crises and respond to delegate actions. Our staff-to-delegate ratio of 1:4 is part of the reason why a truly individualized experience is possible at ChoMUN.
ChoMUN’s backbone and biggest strength is its staffers. ChoMUN has always been the medium through which students at the University of Chicago have been able to find and realize their academic interests. As a result, staffers almost always develop a personal stake in their committees and work tirelessly to create an authentic and memorable experience for their delegates. This is evidenced by the creative presentations of our background guides, which often come in the form of intelligence reports, newspaper articles, private correspondences, and so on. The passion and dedication of our staffers has always been and continues to be the driving force of the conference.