5 Things Your Model UN Chair/Director Wishes You Knew

by dennispenu on December 15, 2014

  1. Your position papers make them look forward to seeing you
    A Delegate Preparing Notes

    A Delegate Preparing Notes

The time of reviewing position papers before the conference is one of the most challenging activities for a model UN dais (especially the chair and director). Judging from the sheer number of delegates that seek to attend a well organised Model UN, it can be hectic having to read all the position papers and evaluate which of them merit consideration for awards. However, the most refreshing moments in this difficult task of position paper reviews is when you spot simple, well written and insightful position paper that makes the issues come alive and sets out key points towards consensus. Why is this so? Because for most experienced chairpersons, they can tell whether a debate will be interesting or morose just by reviewing position papers. For the same reason they can tell which delegate has the potential to make the debate interesting and would naturally look forward to meeting that delegate in committee. For most veterans in the chair, the countries whose names come naturally to the in committee and many years after a conference are the countries that impress us on paper even before we see their ambassadors in role play. “Aaahh! I remember Macedonia and Venezuela (4 years and 10 years ago respectively)”

  1. They want to see in you what made them successful MUNers

It is common knowledge that most MUN chairs / directors were themselves outstanding delegates. What this means is that, despite all the orientation that chairpersons may have about treating all delegates with fairness and equal assessment, they are usually attracted to delegates that exhibit the traits that they had when they were also delegates. What this may mean is that, for advanced levels of Model UN, the delegates’ aspiration for recognition and awards may have to move them to check the background of who is going to staff the dais. This may be very difficult and involving but it may be worth investing your time into. Another variant of this is that the dais may love that delegate who has the characteristics of their role model.  For those critical times that conference officials are divided about who to become the best delegate in committee or in conference, trivial issues like “he speaks like Nelson Mandela” or “she gestures like Margaret Thatcher” is enough to give one delegate an urge over the other.

  1. They wish you could make them prominent in your speeches.

    Delegate making a speech

It is true that delegates become the centre stage of model UN conferences but then it runs on the engine set up by officials. Most times, we admonish that chairperson are largely seen than heard in order to give the delegates room to operate. Meanwhile we can’t run away from the fact that conference officials wish they would be noticed and recognised by the delegates for who they are. So for delegates, I am sure you remember being told to address the chair when you address the committee? Yes. You could make that your tool to warming yourself into the chairperson’s good books. Refer to the chair in procedure, refer to the wisdom of the chair in substantive issues and make reference to their statements. In doing this you get the chair to achieve what they cannot achieve themselves when supervising you.

  1. They wish you would refrain from toying / testing the rules ( just for the fun of it)

Stop picking on the chairperson; stop putting them on the spot with the risk of embarrassing them in front of the committee. It’s true that the chairperson / director’s job is to be abreast with substantive issues and the rules of procedure but is it also a fact that they can’t know all they need to know at every time.  Your chair / director would wish you made their job easier by being on top of the issues yourself and refer only the most difficult issues to them for their intervention. There are possibly two main reasons for this. First, the dais are also interested in enjoying the debate, hence getting them to intervene at all times distracts them from focussing on what’s happening. Second, as I mentioned earlier, chairpersons / directors may not be have all the facts at every time and you could therefore put them in an embarrassing fix. But the truth remains, chairpersons with long history in banging the gavel most probably would have met that annoying delegate who keeps frivolously testing the dais in an attempt to prove to other delegates they understand what is in the delegates training handbook.

  1. They would love to get your candid feedback on their performance
    Delegates with Chairperson

    Delegates with Chairperson

It is true that most conferences have post-conference evaluations from delegates. But my word! It’s so cool to have that delegate who walks to you in the hallway or approaches your dining table to talk to you about their highlights on your performance. What they found positive and what they found negative. Since delegates and officials attend multiple conferences in a year, it is most probable that you would meet that chair or director in your next conference. If you bothered to have a one-on-one interaction with them about their performance, you would likely have achieved two things by the time you meet at the next conference. Either you might have modified their chairing style to suit you or rather in the reverse; you would have modified your style to fit their expectations and given yourself a head start in the race to become the apple of the chairperson’s eye.

Keep an eye out for a follow-up article on How to Become Your Delegates’ Favourite Chair/ Director!

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