Ad-Hoc Committees: An Introduction & Some Tips on How to Succeed

by Pinar Sezgin on January 24, 2017

Here at Best Delegate, we’re implementing monthly themes for our website content! The theme for January is Crisis Committees – enjoy this crisis-filled article and let us know what you think!

In my sophomore year of high school, I was preparing for a conference in Istanbul. As I was checking the website, scouring for information, I realized that my committee was an “Ad-Hoc.” I had no idea how the committee functioned and I was a little bit nervous. But with a little bit of research and confidence, I was able to perform at my very best and even became one of the outstanding delegates in my committee. Needless to say, I grew to appreciate the Ad-Hoc procedure and found it more interesting and exciting than a regular Model United Nations committee. This article will explore how an Ad-Hoc committee functions, plus three tips to excel at one! 

Image result for model UN crisis

First of all, what is an Ad-Hoc Committee?

In essence, an Ad-Hoc committee is a Crisis committee. The difference between regular Crisis committees and an Ad-Hoc committee is that Ad-Hoc topics are made available to delegates only a few days before the conference, or in some cases, possibly even during your first committee session! As such, delegates have to adapt to the situation at hand, anticipate upcoming crises, and find solutions all at a moments notice. Needless to say, this committee is not for the faint hearted. 

Most of the time, Ad-Hoc committees are considerably more challenging than regular committees. Therefore, be ready to encounter and rub shoulders with the best and the most experienced delegates at the conference. However, that doesn’t mean that your whole committee experience is going to be frightening and intimidating. On the contrary, Crisis committees are widely acknowledged for being ridiculously fun. As people say, “Once you go crisis, you can’t go back!” 

Flow of Debate & Crisis Updates

Since the functioning of an Ad-Hoc is dependent on new crisis updates being formed and released, there must be somebody creating these scenarios, right? That’s where the Crisis Director and their staff steps in. Try to think of each Crisis committee as two separate rooms, the first one is the actual committee room, of which each one of you will be debating; and then there’s the crisis room – that’s where the Crisis staff work. Throughout the conference, the crisis staff will visit your committee with updates on how the crisis is progressing. Interestingly, these updates can be presented on multiple platforms, including videos, newspaper articles, and briefings, to name a few. Sometimes, Crisis staffers will even act out scenes in the committee room for dramatic purposes! During this time, your job is to react to these updates, and take action as a body. You can even respond in the form of personal directives. 

In Crisis committees, debate is usually conducted as a continuous moderated caucus, with delegates moving to discuss specific topics for debate related to the crisis. And also, the most important thing to know about Ad-Hoc committees is that there is no resolution. Instead of a resolution, the committee decides upon “Directives” to take action in the committee.

In short, Ad-Hoc committees are fun, but challenging! Here are 3 tips which I believe will make you stand out better in an Ad-Hoc committee:

1. Never. Stop. Talking.

While debating, you will jump from topic to topic. But whatever the topic is, always raise your placard and speak! Try to state your opinions every time you have a chance. This tip helped me to become one of the outstanding delegates in my committee. Because no one will know if they want to work with you or not, if they have no idea about your opinions and policy. Additionally, because everyone in your committee will be relatively high caliber. To ensure success, you must be consistent with your participation. 

2. Try not to stick to one person/group.

When an unmoderated caucus begins, you will notice that everyone will form different groups and blocs. You will likely be part of one of your own, but you should never exclusively stick to an individual, or rely on a group. Because you will never know what is going to happen the next, or what crisis you will be facing in the near future. Believe me, everything can change rapidly, without notice in your committee. So, listen to everyone’s opinions and ideas, and ask or assist others on whatever their endeavors may be. Always be open to work with different people. And have a back up plan, in case things doesn’t work out. This will help you become more diplomatic in the eyes of the chair.

3. Be confident, and relax.

Panicking won’t help anyone. Remain calm and be familiar with the sequence of actions you should take. Debate can definitely become more aggressive, and at times committee will get heated, but always remember to be professional, and act accordingly. 

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We would love to hear about your experiences with Ad-Hoc committee! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact pinar.sezgin@nullbestdelegate.com. Additionally, here are some resources to further improve your skills:


How to be the Best Delegate in a Model UN Ad Hoc Committee

Crisis 101: 5 Strategies for the Crisis Newbie

  • http://geekmekanitr.blogspot.com.tr/ Efe Tokar

    Thank you again, delegate! It was a great article again, hope you’ll continue to write!

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