IEU Experience

05/04/2024

Debate, negotiation and collaboration take center stage at this year’s international university MUN conference in London.

The London International Model United Nations (LIMUN) aims to advance international dialogue and diplomacy. For over 20 years, the conference has fostered debate and advocacy among high school and university students from all over the world.

The theme for LIMUN 2024 was “Humanity in Diplomacy: Reinvigorating Global Governance.” It acknowledges the unprecedented times in global politics, encouraging decision-makers to find solutions that put people at the heart of policies, legislation and international relations. 

LIMUN 2024

Just as in previous years, IE University sent a winning team to LIMUN 2024. They were well-equipped to represent the university on this elite global stage, showcasing well-thought-out arguments informed by our diverse, innovative spirit. As always, our delegates were drawn from the membership of the IE Debate Club

Getting ready for the London International MUN is a challenging task. It’s one of five top-level Model UN simulations, including the Harvard National MUN, the Universidad Juan Carlos III (UC3M) Model United Nations, and our very own IE University Model United Nations. As one of the premier events in the circuit, it attracts fierce competition from students worldwide. 

“Preparation was both intense and demanding,” says Mario Sans Majuelo, a second-year Dual Degree in Laws + International Relations student and one of IE University’s delegates to the conference. Unsurprisingly, this level of rigor and dedication was necessary to go head-to-head against some of the best debaters in the world. 

Equipped to excel

The process kicked off six months before LIMUN 2024. For first-time attendees, completing the club’s three-month debate training course was a mandatory starting point. Meanwhile, students who had already participated in other IE University delegations—called “legacies”—could proceed immediately to the next stage, the speech contest. Several miniMUNs and the IEUMUN 2023 also allowed the team to build practical experience on stage.

Once selected students were sorted into their delegations, they began in-depth deep dives into the theme of the conference. Apart from Mario, other students who took part in the LIMUN 2024 delegation included Anna Gramann, a second-year student in the Dual Degree in Laws + International Relations; Lucía Asúnsolo Rivero, a fourth-year in the Dual Degree in Business Administration + International Relations; and Ariane Sorensen Albisu, in her first year of the same program.

According to Anna, “We had a two- to three-hour training session every weekend for around four to five weeks before the conference.” They also drafted detailed research briefs on their specific country and committee assignments. And with the help of debate coach Kevin Febres, they identified their debate strategies and started preparing compelling arguments just in time for LIMUN 2024. “It was quite intensive,” she adds, “But this had an immense impact on our overall improvement and confidence in uncomfortable situations.”

Different committees, different focus areas

As is standard practice for MUN simulations, participating students “represented” a specific country in debates surrounding a pre-defined subject. Our delegates at LIMUN 2024 competed under various categories:

Our delegates traveled all the way to London determined to leave their mark on the global MUN circuit. For some, like Mario, it was the ideal opportunity to put everything they’ve learned at IE University into practice. He says, “After taking a Public International Law course with professor Beatriz Eugenia Sánchez last semester, I was lucky to get an assignment where I could delve into the intricacies of modern piracy and the process of codifying international law to identify, regulate and prevent it.”

Others, like Lucia, saw it as a problem-solving exercise on a global scale: this was their chance to tackle important issues from a range of perspectives, opinions and worldviews. “Even though the conference is a simulation, the topics and countries we represent are real. It’s incredibly useful to see how everyone thinks and what solutions may arise.”

But one thing they all noticed was the high caliber of competitors they were up against this year. “Everyone was professional, knew how everything worked, had their own thought-through strategies and, overall, was very well-prepared,” she goes on. This might have made it a little harder to stand out, but IE University’s delegates were more than up for the challenge. 

Taking home the prize

The London International MUN is a celebration of the power of collaborative problem-solving. That said, outstanding students are recognized for the most moving arguments or powerful delivery. This year, our delegates scooped a raft of awards:

  • Mario received the LIMUN Diplomacy Award;
  • Anna received the LIMUN Diplomacy Award; and
  • Lucía received the Most Improved Award.

The LIMUN Diplomacy Award is unique in the conference circuit. It recognizes “exemplary” participation, highlighting delegates who performed best overall in both negotiation and debate, based on three factors: context, contribution and collaboration. Mario explains it best: “The criteria for receiving this award include showcasing not only excellent public speaking and arguing skills, but also trying to get all the delegates on board with your ideas and successfully negotiating with them in an attitude of understanding and diplomacy.”

Lessons from LIMUN 2024

“I’ve always been good at writing and love speaking, but before joining the IE Debate Club, I really didn’t know how to develop those skills or put them together into something powerful and useful,” Lucia admits. Similarly, the other delegates report a noticeable boost in their skill sets after some time in the club and participating in the LIMUN conference. 

They also became more well-rounded, developing competencies that will serve them well into the future. These include critical thinking, public speaking, communication, research and more. Addressing real topics and seeing the real-world implications of these issues brought the importance of their academic programs home, providing a great trial run for their future careers. 

Just as important, these students got to meet new friends, make professional connections and create memories that will last a lifetime. They were honored to help cement IE University’s acclaim on this important, international platform. “There’s a certain feeling of pride when you get the opportunity to represent your university abroad in competitions,” Mario says. “I enjoyed being a part of the delegation that stood for our academic institution.”