McMUN 2017 Interview Series: Media Coordinator Gelila Bedada

To start off, what do you think has been the central message of the conference this year, and have you noticed any tonal difference from past years?

I think it’s really remarkable, because what you have is genuinely optimistic delegates – a very interesting contrast with current events and what’s happening in the world around them. It’s very rare and wonderful that you have this idea of hope towards the future, a commitment to collective empowerment, which is something that the keynote speaker talked about as well. What you witness forming here at McMUN, is a pure desire to be public servants and activists, and to be sort of bold, daring, and to ultimately not be discouraged. I would say that’s the current tone, and it’s very refreshing. In respect to the difference from previous years that tone is just more pronounced now.

That’s great to see! Going off of that, what’s been your personal favourite part of the conference thus far?

It’s been hectic, as per usual, but obviously all the social events so far have been really great because you finally get to interact and have these really great conversations that touch upon everything you’ve done that day, but you’re in a much more relaxed environment. Other than that, every minute is rewarding in its own way.

So we’re now on day three of the conference, what are you most looking forward to before the conference ends?

In a way, every day sort of builds upon the previous day, so we get to closing ceremonies and you have an array of connections that you’ve made, and so it’s not really focusing on one moment you look forward to the most, but by the end of it you get to look back and look at it as a whole.

What do you think has been the Secretariat’s biggest accomplishment this year? Minor improvements, big changes, etc.?

I think this year’s secretariat has done such an impressive job on enhancing what the conference has to offer, and it’s definitely going to be raising the bar for next year’s secretariat. You can tell that the staff and delegates are having fun — and you have to give credit to the secretariat for a lot of that. They’ve gone above and beyond in every single portfolio that they’ve managed. Everything from committees to social media to merchandise has been stepped up.

I’ve noticed that the bar has really been raised this year, and everyone on staff seems a lot more sure and organized, so you’ve all done a really great job with that.

It’s been great, and all these minor details are being really carefully thought out, like making sure the staff is fed. All of the social events are being run really efficiently and there’s been a lot of effort to really improve them a lot for the delegates. These things make a huge difference, and it highlights that the secretariat really cares about everyone having fun and having a positive experience.

It must be really rewarding, especially since you’ve all been working towards this for an entire year.

Yeah for sure, everything has really come together and it’s super rewarding to watch everything fall into place.

So if you had to choose, which one event outside of committee sessions would you say a delegate shouldn’t miss out on?

I feel like I have to say McParté, because it is the social event McMUN is really known for, and it’s such a unique privilege in Montreal to be able to hold such an event. It’s the last major day of committee sessions, so that’s where people really let loose and want to have the most fun they can possibly have now that we’re pretty much done working hard.

Being involved in PR, was there a particular challenge the PR team faced this year?

I’m doing media, so I basically coordinate the needs of the PR team, and what the photographers and videographers need for the ‘behind the scenes’ work, making sure the conference is covered well. It’s really important to have all these different ways that we’re engaging the delegates. It’s an honor to be responsible for capturing memories that people can look back on – to have tangible moments that have materialized into articles and photos. I think it’s been really rewarding to do that because firstly I get to work with incredible equipment, and secondly I get to work with the most talented people. It’s really great to be working with such a high caliber of skill, which also makes my job a lot easier. I know you asked about the challenges, but I really have to just rave about the people I work with, because they’re all amazing. The challenge was more making sure that these great tools and talent culminated into a coordinated vision.

I know that for SSUNS this past November, the PR team was really leaning towards really modernizing the MUN conferences, with technology such as livestreaming. How did that influence the tools you used for McMUN and how you dealt with PR in general?

I think that in terms of technology we’re very metrics driven with media, so when we look at what we’re putting out there and how many people it’s reaching, and sort of crunch the numbers, that’s what we look at most. We’ve really tailored PR after looking at numbers from previous conferences and just tried to take that to a whole new level and amplify it. Reaching our audience as far out as we can is important to us, because we really want to showcase what we’re doing here. That’s the main focus of my job, to sort of make sure that we’re really reaching as many people as possible.

You guys have done an awesome job with media this year! Thanks so much for sitting down with me and enjoy the rest of the conference!