Interview of Konrad Heras, Marco Paye, François Guillet, CSI students and ILYMUN Heads and Deputy Heads of External Communications, 11.11.2017
Interview by Estelle Tromeur (CSI)
Konrad, Marco and François are Première American OIB students at the Cité Scolaire Internationale of Lyon. Marco is French and Belgian and lived in the United States for three years, whilst Konrad is American and François spent some time in China before moving to Lyon. The three, along with Clémence Granade, are working together on the public relations and fundraising aspects of this year’s ILYMUN preparations.
Press : What is your role in ILYMUN 2018 ?
Marco Paye: We have to find sponsors in order to obtain funding for the whole conference.
Konrad Heras: Even if they’re not willing to provide money, the companies we contact can give us connections to other prospective sponsors.
Press : How do you proceed in this search for sponsors?
M.P: We start by finding the websites of the companies we’re interested in, and look for the contact information.
François Guillet: Then we’ll send out emails, and we sometimes call, but most of the contacts remain through email.
K.H: We also talk to the families in our schools; that’s where we get most of our funding, from the companies of the students’ parents.
Press : What is your main goal this year?
K.H: Probably the same one as every year: to collect as much money as possible to support the conference. We have to meet the quota, but also try to go above and beyond to make ILYMUN even better. This year we’re even hoping to raise enough money to make a donation to an NGO, which is a major step for ILYMUN.
Press : What are the main challenges in your responsibilities?
F.G: I think it’s finding the right contact and getting an answer. Communication can really be a challenge. On most of the websites we visit, there is a contact email and information, but they generally get a lot of emails and don’t answer our requests. That’s why we generally tend to go with friends and family, because they actually know people in the companies who then could help us contact the right people and give more immediate responses.
K.H: What poses a problem is when companies had initially said they would sponsor but then later don’t respond, so when we were banking on them to sponsor but then have to reconsider our plans.
Press: Because of these long delays between requests and replies, is it a difficulty to meet deadlines and to organize yourselves?
F.G: I’d say no, because we created the group and began our work around six months ago. Of course, if we hadn’t, or if it was mid-November or December and we hadn’t met our objectives, then we would have been having a hard time.
Press: In comparison to the previous years, what are newly introduced factors you look forward to?
M.P: Well, we have a training day, which is new and interesting. It has allowed us to work better as a group, because at school we have little time.
K.H: In a general manner, I think it’s cool that we’re constantly expanding this project, because we get more and more perspectives from around the world, and so it’s also our responsibility to raise more money every year to promote this expansion. I think this year we’re really pushing ourselves for that.
F.G: I have a really good feeling for this year, because we’re in the Hôtel de Region, and that means we don’t have to pay for the conference rooms, so I hope because of that we’ll be able to raise more money for other things, which could make ILYMUN better.
Press: What is the money you raise mostly used for?
K.H: Most of the money usually goes for the venue, the food, and the party.
F.H: And it’s also the little things that add up, like the microphones, the talky walkies that we have to rent, the posters, the decorations…
Press: What are your views on this year’s paramount theme, ‘Cities’?
M.P: I find it interesting: we live in cities and have ideas on their future developments, which makes us think about how we’re really going to work on them for the better.
KH: I think it’s a broad theme that encompasses many world issues; it raises important questions that we should be asking ourselves today as the future generation, such as managing populations, or pollution.
Press: How long have you participated as ILYMUN?
M.P & F.G: Just last year, this is our second year.
K.H: This will be my fourth year: the first year I was a journalist, and then participated in the youth committee the second year. Last year, I was a delegate.
Press: What part of ILYMUN do you enjoy most?K.H: I think it’s the people.
M.P: Yeah, definitely meeting such a diversity of people.
F.G: There are so many people from all around the world, and so much freedom and opportunities in the conference. You can sign up to be a delegate, press, logistics, admin… It’s easy to get many different views of the conference.
Press: What is a piece of advice you’d give to new or prospective members of ILYMUN?
F.G: Don’t be intimidated. I’ve seen it in the debates as an admin last year, some people are afraid to talk, and are intimidated by people who speak up a lot.
M.P: Don’t be afraid to talk, reach out, don’t stay with your own friends all the time. Try to meet people and share your ideas.
K.H: Nobody will judge you, you’re meeting new people and are in a new environment: you can be whoever you want to be.