While conferences in Australia remain small compared to their American, European and African counterparts, they continue to deliver incredible debate.
Model United Nations in Australia is characterized by its diversity and its innovative nature. Major conferences are held across the continent, and attract an increasing number of informed and passionate high school and university students. Scores of delegates travel across the country to debate topical and contemporary issues. MUN at the university level is entirely driven by students through university societies.
Each society holds speaker events and small debates regularly throughout the year. They then send delegations to conferences to compete for the society. Conferences tend to run a very homogeneous set of rules of procedure. Formal and informal structured debate within committees is emphasized. Plenary sessions are rare in the Australian circuit.
Conferences in Australia tend to introduce innovations with each new year. In the past, conferences have included a Group of Covert Agents who infiltrated various committees and fed information to their country leaders, various conference-wide crises including nuclear bombs hitting New York, and various social projects including anonymous rose-giving and coffee runs.
A fundamental part of MUN in Australia is the university mascots. Each society has a mascot who travels around Australia and the world with them. A stolen mascot is often treated as a more coveted prize than even “Best Delegate”
University of Western Australia Mascot
I’ve put together a list of key conferences for you to keep an eye out for in Australia. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it serves to give you a general indication of the Australian MUN calendar.
The year kicks off with the Victorian Model United Nations Conference (VicMUN). It is held in Melbourne and runs for four days. This year’s Secretary General was Phillip Mallis. While plenary sessions are rare in the Australian circuit, VicMUN adventurously holds one. Delegates benefit from the large-scale debate.
The Brisbane Model United Nations Conference (BrizMUN) is run annually by a collective of three of Queensland’s leading universities. This year’s Secretary Generals were Thomas Parer and Scott Voevodin. This conference is well-structured for both experienced and inexperienced delegates. Given its early timing, it is often delegates’ introduction to MUN.
The Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC) has a long history. It is an annual travelling conference for university students. This year’s Secretary Generals are Xiandi Ooi and Zi Jing Ooi. This year the conference is being held in Kuala Lumpur. It runs for five days, and is generally a great platform for MUN initiatives including the Group of Covert Agents and Bloc committees, which allowed delegates a more comprehensive platform for coordinating bloc policy and handling new issues.
National Capital Model United Nations Conference (NCMUN) is held during the week-long university break in the latter half of the year. The road trip to Canberra is, for many, an integral part of the conference. NCMUN introduced rose-giving to the Australian circuit: Delegates are given the opportunity to send a rose and humourous note to other delegates during the conference. This is the youngest conference currently held in Australia, with its inauguration in 2014.
The Sydney Model United Nations Conference (SydMUN) is Australia’s largest domestic conference. It attracts over 250 university students from Perth to Brisbane. This year’s Secretary Generals are myself and Aidan Quinn. SydMUN hosts a wide range of committees which tend to be tailored to topical issues.
The success of MUN in Australia can be attributed to the wonderful people who participate so passionately in it. If you would like to hear more about the Australian circuit please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.