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Five Things You NEED to Know about our Conference Review

Written by Frank Pobutkiewicz

I'm the founder/Managing Director of the All-American Model UN Programs! If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. Happy MUNing!

October 10, 2014

Five Things You NEED to Know about our Conference Review

Ok, I get it. A lot of people will probably take issue with our Model UN Conference Review. For a lot of reasons. And that’s just fine.

Disagreement and constructive debate is a basic tenant of Model UN and the value of it extends beyond committee session. I do not mind people disagreeing with our Review but I do want everyone to fully understand our goals, methodology, analytical approach, and our data collection methods. Transparency has always been very important to me.

So without further explanation, here are the top five things you NEED to know about our Conference Review.

Our Goal is to Provide Information to the Community

Let’s set the record straight and explain what the Review is not meant to do or be:

  • This is not an attempt to punish conference or try to influence conference policies;
  • This is not meant to pit conferences against one another;
  • This is not an unbiased analysis (see Point 5 on this list).

The Conference Review was conducted after several teachers and educators requested we publish information about Model UN conferences in the United States so that their organizations could better choose conferences to attend. Currently, there are few databases with helpful information about conference. We’ve spent two months combing over websites, reviews, and conducting interviews. The Review presents our findings.

Conferences have the Option to Submit Data

When we set out to conduct our research, the very first action we took was to contact all of the conferences on our list and request their involvement. We wanted conferences to submit the most accurate information so that there would be no misunderstandings. I’m happy to report we had 33% of conferences participate in our survey and interviews. While I would have loved to have all conference participate, I understand why conferences may be hesitant to participate, especially in the first year. We will indicate those conferences that submitted their own data.

For those conferences that chose not to participate in the survey, we collected information as best we could from the conference website, review and recap websites such as our friends at Best Delegate, and through information interviews with teachers and students.

The Review will be Rolling, not Annual

We’ve revised the way in which we will unveil the Review. Initially planned to be an annual report, we decided against this approach. Instead, the Review will be much more fluid. We will work to update the Review as we collect potentially more accurate information and data.

This means that conferences will always have the option to submit more data and information to us at any time. As previously stated, our goal is to provide the most accurate information to the community and releasing data only once a year hindered achieving this goal.

These are not Traditional “Rankings:” Lower Numbers Do Not Imply Bad Conferences

You can read about our complete methodology on our Model UN Conference Rankings page. Again, you are absolutely entitled to disagree with our methodology. We felt it a matter of extreme importance to be clear on how we decide upon our rankings.

Which brings us to the main point: these are NOT traditional rankings. Rather, the Review is a combination of many sliding scales. If schools wish to find the most competitive conferences, they may sort by this category. If background guides are the top priority, you may sort by our background guide rankings.

You will notice that conferences in the same Conference Category will tend to be clumped together. Small Single Day conferences should never try to emulate gigantic Major conference policies and procedures. To rank a Single Day conference against a Major conference is impossible and as such, we implore you not to use the Review for this purpose.

Our Analysis is Our Opinion

By its very nature, analysis is opinion support by data. Please keep in mind our analysis is 100% our opinion based on elements that we believe make the ideal conference. Tomorrow, right before we release our Review of the first 50 conferences, we will also publish our idea of an “ideal” conference. Conferences that we review will be compared to this standard.

One of our longer term goals is to provide web tools for teachers and students to define their own “ideal” conference and have our rankings change in relation to those user defined terms. Please bear with us as we develop the technology that will allow you to do this.

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