Delegate Workshop is a mock conference and training simulation Berkeley Model United Nation of UC Berkeley has each fall, and every year seems to be as successful as the previous. This year, we had 200 delegates from 23 schools around the Bay area, including Concord, Carmel, Lynbrook, Leadership, and Washington High Schools to name a few. Northern California is emerging player on the MUN scene, with more high school conferences being held and programs being formed every year. With the help of Berkeley MUN, a prominent club that’s held 63 advanced conferences including one of the first college MUN conferences ever, high school students all over the Bay area has acquired the advice and aid needed to develop their MUN programs and skills.
Training conferences are not only useful to help develop new delegates’ skills, but they are a great way to have delegates get a feel of what it is like to speak in front of a committee without too much intimidation. The purpose of training conferences is purely for learning, not for competition. Therefore, it is important to ensure they are held in addition to the numerous competitive conferences around. Delegates who need help developing their skills, or simply want to know what MUN is, should attend training conferences to get the answers they need.
But organizing mock conferences is different from running traditional, competitive conferences. The biggest difference is ensuring the conference stays focused on teaching and training rather than having delegates compete. Each of the 12 committees and the head and vice chairs spent the first half of the day focused on teaching: what is MUN, how does MUN help you, rules and procedures, public speaking skills, and research skills development. In the afternoon, delegates had the opportunity to practice what has been freshly taught to them. This year, our practice topic was the Iran Nuclear Agreement passed this year in July.
Let’s hear from BMUN’s Under-Secretary General of Outreach, and the Secretary-General of Delegate Workshop 2015, Benjamin Malings on how running the conference was!
Question: How was your experience organizing Delegate Workshop this year?
Benjamin: Organizing a mock conference was a really awesome experience. It’s a little different from what we normally do to prepare for our March conference, in that the timeline for preparation is significantly reduced and everything we plan for is toward the goal of providing a strictly educational, rather than competitive, experience. To that end, much of my time was spent working with each of our 12 teaching committees to ensure that the curriculum we were presenting was of the highest quality. It was also really rewarding to interact with some of the newer advisors and MUN teachers, to see how they’re approaching building their programs.
Question: Why do you believe training conferences are important?
Benjamin: I think training conferences are important because they provide a low-stress, non-competitive experience for delegates to try out strategies and to simultaneously learn and practice MUN procedure. Simply lecturing about the rules of MUN is only effective to a certain extent- one needs to see everything in action in order to really grasp how all the procedures flow together. It is also a really useful experience for those who organize it, as many of our first-year chairs got a first-hand experience in organizing a committee and doing the bulk of the chairing work.
If you would like to contact Benjamin on any questions regarding BMUN’s workshop or outreach details, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org