The other day, I came across an article in The Diplomat, an international affairs magazine specializing in the Asia-Pacific region, on China’s changing policy on North Korea. The article was well researched and succinctly explained why there may be a change in policy. My immediate reaction was: this would make a great Model UN position paper! Everyone should be writing position papers like this! Then I realized the author is Theresa Lou, the former Secretary-General of NAIMUN and a College MUN All-Star from Georgetown University. Her full-time job now essentially includes writing professional-level position papers for The Diplomat.
Most Model UN participants like to point out that the activity teaches public speaking and negotiation since those are visibly displayed in committee. But one of the most underrated skills that Model UN participants learn is research and position papers. Both of those skills are valuable for many types of real-life jobs including literally doing research and writing position papers.
For example, those who are superstars in research or writing background guides may be good candidates to work at think tanks that need to produce in-depth research papers on various policy topics. And those who are superstars at writing position papers may be good candidates to work in the foreign service where junior officers typically prepare a page of bulleted talking points (“position paper”) for senior officers to bring into meetings and negotiations. Keep this in mind as you are developing your MUN research skills and considering different career paths!