How To Do Well In a Model UN Crisis Committee

by Rohan Arora on November 29, 2017

What is Crisis?
While traditional General Assembly and Specialized committees operate on a static timeline, Crisis does not. Instead, the actions the delegates take directly affect each update and influence the eventual end result of the committee. As such, the strategies to do well in a Crisis committee differ from those of a GA or Specialized. Here are some strategies that have worked for me.

crisis model united nations

Front Room Strategy

The best strategy, but also the most taxing is to produce more than anybody else in committee. If you draft a large volume of directives and you are the primary speaker for them, you have won the Front Room. To then win the Back Room, instigate long-term change for the committee through your personal portfolio powers. My strategy is drafting one or two relevant directives following an update and immediately start passing them around. Once they are moving around, begin writing whatever portfolio orders are relevant to your arc and the update. If this is done for every update, you will place yourself as the go-to scribe of the committee. Most chairs will notice this, and reward you accordingly.

Additionally, you must be strategic and pragmatic with the solutions you are proposing, in order to ensure they are passed. One tip I have for this is to propose a moderate solution or one that hasn’t been fully fleshed out and pass the directive around the room with a post-it or note attached that says something along the lines of “add as you see fit” or “add any suggestions and sign.” This should show diplomacy and compromise which the chair should notice, especially if you are the one presenting the directive. Personally, I used this strategy on the first session of a four-day conference, and by the second day, everyone was copying it because they saw how effective it was in both making detailed directives as well as building consensus.

Back Room Strategy

For writing personal directives with your portfolio powers, clarity and specificity are key. Provide an explanation of where you received the relevant power if not explicitly stated in your background guide. After that, write your orders to be very specific; the crisis staff is more likely to accept a note with quantities and timetables for action rather than a generic order that is just asking for something. Then, be as clear and concise as possible. The best delegates in a crisis are those who can either get a lot done quickly or who can say a lot in very little writing. Efficiency and clarity win the Back Room.

Most importantly, Research. If your committee is current day, research the current state of whatever it is you are in. For example, if it is the Walmart Board of Directors, you may want to research monthly earnings reports, expansion status, employment reports, etc. On another hand, if it is a country’s cabinet, you may want to research GDP, imports, exports, social statuses etc. If it is a historical committee, research all you can about the topic with the start date in mind.

If you are in a historical cabinet, see what the winners did that made them win and what the losers did that caused them to lose. Take the lessons you learned from history and apply them to your Crisis plans. On the other hand, you don’t have that history to look back on in futuristic and fantasy committees. Instead, you have longer background guides. This does not mean you shouldn’t still research though. A Star Wars or Game of Thrones committee requires way more preparation than a 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 committee because there are established universes and several novels and films in the former’s universes. Most of the time, people in committees with a rich universe such as Star Wars, Star Trek and Game of Thrones are dominated by the super fans, and as such delegates who are not as familiar with the lore should try to avoid these committees.

It is also important to note that you can do all the research in the world and fail to award due to lack of confidence. While research is important, if you act like a leader, people will follow no matter how much or how little you know. People look for a confident leader, and this is true in General Assembly as well as Crisis.  Everyone is experienced, everyone is there to win, nobody is truly your friend until the awards have been given out. Treat everyone as they treat you- if they are kind, treat them kindly, if they ignore you, ignore them- but do not trust them, as they most likely do not trust you.

Making Committee About You
The most surefire way to win a crisis is to focus the direction of the committee on your arc or your personal powers. This can be done regardless of how useless your position is. I was in an African cabinet committee and the delegate who represented the Minister of Youth and Sport ended up winning because he used his personal powers. He unilaterally caused a youth revolt causing an economic crash in the country. The entire cabinet was scrambling to solve this issue, as we were in the midst of finalizing an African commerce deal, and the other signatories of the deal backed out once this news broke. The minister of youth was the mouthpiece of the Youth, and because the committee focused on his arc, he was the only one who could help. If you can make your committee focus and rely on you, you will get an award. The Best Delegate in crisis is the one who not only dominates Front Room and Back Room but the one that brings them together.

Closing Thoughts
In crisis committees, the best possible delegate is a diplomatic delegate who writes a lot and is open to compromise in the Front Room and is efficient and clear in the Back Room. They are well researched and confident, seen as a leader, and are largely the focus of the committee. If you, as a crisis delegate, can accomplish these tips, regardless of skill level, you will position yourself for success.

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