Hello LEVIATHAN’19 Team! As MUNTurkey.com, we feel so proud to work with LEVIATHAN’19 as a Media Partner! LEVIATHAN’19 is going to be the first Historical Themed Conference in Turkey for the 2018-2019 education years. We are so proud of you and we are looking forward to seeing your conference!
1.MUNTurkey.com: It is going to be the first annual session of LEVIATHAN’19. However, there are many famous MUNers in your team. We also know that you have organized HISTANBUL conference twice. Could you please tell us more about the Academic and Organization Team of LEVIATHAN’19?
LEVIATHAN’19: Hello! Firstly, thanks for inviting us to this interview. This is indeed going to be the inaugural session of LEVIATHAN, but we as the team behind this conference have already organized the HISTANBUL conference for the last 2 years. Our goal with both conferences has been and still is taking what we consider to be the best aspects of MUN – the negotiations, roleplay, international relations and politics and history, and beyond them all that whole feeling of representing someone and doing something, shaping our society in your own image in a thrilling if somewhat limited way – and bolstering them with an ad hoc attitude, removing the barriers and limitations presented by the procedural ineptness of the United Nations. Two years ago, we dreamt of a simulation where the participants had the power to actually change the world instead of running around in suits and ties and talking about how we should change the world with the power of urging and supporting things as most of us are very well acquainted with from General Assembly committees. In the days since then, our dreams have twice become reality in the form of HISTANBUL. But honestly, they have become reality dozens of times in the countless conferences we have attended: Our Curator-General has almost 30 conferences under his belt, including chairing positions at THIMUN-affiliated conferences and a dozen crisis member / Head of Crisis experiences. Our Director – General and organization team similarly have around 20 conferences each, including chairing, press, crisis team, organization team (Mostly PR) and other experiences in high school as well as university-level conferences. Our beloved Curators include current and former Secretaries-General of at least 3 different conferences (And dare I say, future Secretaries-General of many more!), the infamous Serbian Armadillo Fatih Can Işılak, and Berkay Adanalı(a.s.) who was chairing Joint Crisis Committees in 2016 – back when the US Dollar was worth only 3 Turkish Liras. (Those were the days indeed…) The crisis team, meanwhile, has the right honourable Bilge Arın Konuksay – who has made quite a name for himself – for a Head of Crisis, along with around a dozen underlings who do not shy from eating bepanthol and are known for their affinity for sandstorms. Even our Secretary-General, Mr Zülfikar Vombatoğlu has been to 12 conferences or so, and he’s a plush wombat for Allah’s sake!
2. MUNTurkey.com: LEVIATHAN is not a usual name to be used for MUN conferences. What does LEVIATHAN mean and why did you choose it?
LEVIATHAN’19: The honest answer would be “Damned if I know, I think the Curator-General was visited by afakanlar one night and decided to name it that way.”. The official answer is that Leviathan is a huge water dragon in Near-Eastern mythology whose name has basically become a synonym for something insanely grand in scale… Which is, as it would happen, a fitting analogy for a conference with 11 simultaneous joint committees, claiming to be the first of its kind in Turkey. It is also the name of a book by the English political philosopher Hobbes – While we generally disagree with the premises laid out in the book that an absolute, unitarian mode of government is necessary for social order, it doesn’t hurt to give such a defining work of political philosophy a nod or three, does it?
3. MUNTurkey.com: We also know that LEVIATHAN’19 is composed of JCCs. What is the rule of procedures of the conference?
LEVIATHAN’19: Aha, the source of all the hype! Yes indeed, LEVIATHAN ’19 is unique in that the entire conference is essentially a single Joint Crisis Committee with 11 cabinets all running simultaneously. While as a team we are extremely well-acquainted with traditional JCC’s, scaling that experience up to 11 takes some effort and deep thinking. As a result, we are working on a set of procedural and substantive rules that specifically apply to the World War I era. The overall rules are unlikely to change much from standard JCC procedure – with a largely informal procedure, no set points or motions and a preference for substantive rather than procedural debate. As such, if you like the idea of MUN but can’t really be bothered to refer to yourself as “We” all the time and move for divisions of the house three times in a session of 2 hours, LEVIATHAN is the conference for you. :3
4. MUNTurkey.com: Usually we see that JCC or crisis committees are not suitable for the first-timers. Will you accept first-timers to LEVIATHAN’19? How should first-timers get ready for the conference?
LEVIATHAN’19: Excellent question! For the record, we do not believe that “experience” in General Assembly or similar committees (i.e. ECOSOC, UNODC etc.) provide a suitable background for JCC’s and other crisis-based committees since their focuses and modes of operation are entirely different. Furthermore, we believe in general that knowledge and creativity trump experience nine times out of ten. You have 12 “experiences” in various conferences but few awards, none in crisis committees and a poor motivation letter? We won’t be impressed. You have no previous experience but literally named every single mountain pass Roumania had to defend in WW1? Great, welcome aboard! As a result, we have plenty of room for first timers in LEVIATHAN. Especially more so since we accept plenty of history and politics enthusiasts from outside the MUN community as well. As for any advice for them… Well, read extensively and plan extensively. But most importantly, be ready for that moment when all of your plans inevitably crash & burn and all that’s left to do is pick up the pieces.
5. MUNTurkey.com: Could you please give us more information about committees and their agenda items?
LEVIATHAN’19: As explained in question 3, all 11 committees share a single agenda item: The Great War. Each country, however, will have different challenges to overcome and different aspects of the war they’ll have to focus on. Be it the Balkan Theatre with Roumania, Serbia and Bulgaria; the Western Front where Germans and French go toe-to-toe with each other, or Italy with her affinity for switching sides and having trains that run on time, there’s something for everyone. In fact, if you don’t wish to dive head-first into the war immediately, we even have a committee for that: The United States of America begins the conference at peace and their initial agenda will mostly be about the 1916 elections and whether to stay neutral or pick a side.
6. MUNTurkey.com: We also would like to know more details about your social activities and MUN party. What kind of social activities will there be in LEVIATHAN’19?
LEVIATHAN’19: Thought you’d never ask! As history and culture buffs, we literally adore theme parties and the early 20th Century theme lends itself very well to… Well, parties. While the exact details are yet to be ironed out, we have plenty of ideas ranging from a Roaring 20’s Flapper Party to “Hey guys it’s Bresla-oops I meant Midilli! Wanna bombard Sevastopol sometime?” (a.k.a. Boat Party). Our PR Team will also be hard at work with several different challenges prepared for our participants, including all-time favourite “How would you divide the Middle East?” Challenge. And let’s face it, you can’t do a worse job at it than the British and French did in our timeline.
7. MUNTurkey.com: -Süleyman Doruk Dörücü, Curator General states in his letter that “This is where I belong. This is where I need to be.” For LEVIATHAN’19. How are you going to make it possible?
LEVIATHAN’19: Another excellent question. For us, LEVIATHAN is a concept. An ideal. It is held together not by some common school or organization, not by ambition or a desire for profit or anything else of the kind. Yet I’m not going to call it “A Family” either, because one does not choose their family. No, LEVIATHAN is held together by a different bond altogether: That of belonging. When you go through those doors you step into a world of the past. Yet you also step into a world of friendship. We as a conference have precious little regard for protocol, proper behaviour and social norms. We instead cherish a light-hearted attitude, a somewhat dark sense of humour and respect for merit beyond all. We aim to be a collective before anything else – a conference made by its participants and for its participants, and not merely for the couple dozen people at the “top”. And if you too would like to participate in an organization where the Curator General can joke with participants and admins about how Austrians fought Italians twelve times over the same God-damn river, while enjoying some good-quality chicken & rice and hot spicy ketchup… Well, then there is no need for us to make that possible since it has already happened and will continue to happen so long as we are alive.
8. MUNTurkey.com: LEVIATHAN’19’da bir de Türkçe komite olduğunu gördük. Türkçe komiteniz ile ilgili bilgi verebilir misiniz?
LEVIATHAN’19: Hocam merhabayın, son bakıştığımızdan beri o bir komite çoğaldı, iki oldu. Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’na ek olarak Bulgaristan’ı da Türkçe yaptık. Türkçe komitelerin esasında diğer komitelerden herhangi bir farkı yok, işleyiş açısından tamamen aynılar. Aynı savaşta yer alıyorlar, İngilizce işleyen komitelerle görüşme ve elçi alma – verme durumları var vb. Ancak tek farklılıkları savaşı İngilizce yerine Türkçe yürütecek olmaları. Ki bu durum katılımcılarımızın hoşuna gitmiş olacak ki gelen başvuruların 3’te 1’inden fazlası Türkçe komitelere yönelik. Bu yüzden ne yazık ki Türkçe komitelerde çok fazla yerimiz bulunmuyor, hatta son dönemde bazı başvuruları reddetmek durumunda kaldık. Her halükarda bu komitelerin de pek âlâ biçimde işleyeceğine güvenimiz tam.
9. MUNTurkey.com: As you know, we have started a new project named MUNFashion! We are curious about the dress code. Could you please briefly inform us about the dress code of the conference? Furthermore, what else can you say about the fashion of MUN?
LEVIATHAN’19: Hey hey, the dress code… Or rather, the dress principle. That’s because we don’t exactly have a specific dress code for LEVIATHAN – and most certainly don’t prescribe the oh-so-dreaded Western Business Attire. In the past, participants have appeared in full suits as well as shirts, t-shirts, kimonos, poorly-sewn Crusader tabards, togæ prætextæ and whatever else you can think of. However, we do highly encourage our participants to refrain from wearing jeans and printed apparel (Yes, Kaan, that does include the metal band t-shirts… No, not “ABİ METAL! MALTEPE! >:3” ). In a sense, everything does not overly interfere with the historical atmosphere is fair game. However, participants who decide to go the extra mile and wear full historical apparel (Uniforms, top hats, that sort of thing…) are highly, highly appreciated as well. As for MUN Fashion in general, well… Honestly, we think it’s too uniform, too conservative and too grey-black-white for our taste. When you look at the real UN, suits and ties do dominate but there is also a fair amount of variation – especially from places like South Asia, Arab States and Sub-Saharan Africa, but also amongst diplomats in general. We can’t help but feel that certain distinctions of the UN’s informal “Rules of Fashion Procedure” are lost in the MUN community.
10. MUNTurkey.com: Thank you very much for this great interview. We are sure you would like to add more about yourself or MUN world. And, last but not least, what can you tell us about MUNTurkey.com? Do you think MUNTurkey.com contributes to the development of MUN conferences and students’ self-improvement?
LEVIATHAN’19: Ah well, obviously we believe that MUNTurkey.com is a force for good and a contributing factor to the recent increase in MUN-related content. However, due to our general approach to the MUN community, we primarily focus on the accountability of conferences. In this regard, MUNTurkey.com has also been a positive influence, especially with its MUN Review function. But it is our sincere belief that more could be done to regulate local conferences – especially when it comes to conference financing, transparency and chair recruitment. In any case, we are watching developments in the MUNTurkey.com organization and the Turkish MUN community at large with great interest.