Welcome to Moderated Caucus, a new series from Best Delegate examining the questions that keep delegates, chairs and secretariats up at night. Should closing ceremonies have guest speakers? Does crisis actually count as MUN? How do you explain to your non-MUN friends what you’re doing in a suit on a Saturday?
This week, an age-old question. Which is actually better: GA or Crisis? Crisis delegates argue that GA is stilted compared to the dynamism of a crisis. Some GA delegates question whether or not Crisis actually counts as MUN at all. Is GA boring, isn’t Crisis just LARP-ing in suits?
George Mullens – GA is Best
George Mullens is a British/Italian Masters Student at SOAS studying International Studies and Diplomacy. He is a member of the Best Delegate Media Team for Training Content and has been active in the European MUN circuit since 2009.
Why is it that we do Model United Nations? What is the purpose of acting as a delegate of a UN Committee? How can I benefit from doing Model United Nations? These are questions that all delegates ask themselves when participating in Model United Nations, and while the answer to these questions might seem dreary, it is fundamental to why thousands enjoy doing MUN on a yearly basis.
The answer is simply the word “education”.
While there is no doubt that crisis is incredibly entertaining, and hearing about what happened in the crisis committee at the end of the conference is amazing for all of those who don’t enter the dark lair of the crisis backroom, what do delegate gain from assassinating their adversaries and blowing up half of the western hemisphere in the process? They do not gain as much as by participating in a GA committee. That’s for certain.
The revolving situation in crisis is entirely different to the static situations posed in GA committees. However, GA committees are where the educational aspect of MUN really takes hold. Discussing topics ranging from the genocide in Darfur and territorial claims in the South China Sea, to drone warfare and ways to ensure the implementation of SDGs, will vitally inform delegates of topics that they will not typically learn about at school or at university.
I know for a certainty that had the majority of my time doing MUN been in crisis, I wouldn’t have benefitted from the education provided by the vast arrays of topics that aren’t traditionally discussed in curricula worldwide. By largely participating in GA committees, I’ve learned information that has served me extremely well during my Masters degree and has put me far ahead of many of my peers.
Similarly, the diplomatic, negotiation-driven world of GA largely mimics the actual United Nations, unlike crisis which is more focused on the individual benefit of individual “characters”, not the common, consensus-based world of the “diplomats” in GA committees.
While crisis is fun, entertaining and incredibly creative, GA committees will always be focused on what the actual purpose of the United Nations is: to solve the world’s most difficult issues and to find common solutions for all countries to accept.
Joey Moore: Crisis tops GA
Joey Moore is a member of Best Delegate’s Media Team and a junior in high school. He is 16, from Virginia, and has been participating in MUN for 2 years.
Though I am arguing in favor of Crisis committees, it would be untrue to say that both aren’t fun. However, I am biased towards Crisis. Not only does Crisis encompass all the debate skills needed for General Assemblies, but it also requires delegates to think on their feet while also considering what is going on behind the scenes.
In every committee, a delegate must be eager to speak and willing to contribute, if not initiate any writing going on. Crisis, however, forces delegates to be much more involved in the happenings of the committee. Because of the smaller size and increased sense of personal atmosphere, Crisis committees tend to be more demanding both in contribution and speech. From personal experience, if debate is slow, you could end up speaking up to three times in a single moderated caucus. That will almost never happen in a General Assembly.
Creativity is a huge deciding factor when it comes to excelling in Crisis. Crisis is more than just one may see on the outside. Every second, delegates are collaborating and working in secrecy to gain power through directives. Private directives take substantially more planning than a regular resolution paper, for they are done individually, must be as comprehensive and specific as possible, and most importantly, creatively.
In almost any General Assembly, you will likely hear about infringement of sovereignty, sanctions, and NGOs. However, most often, all Crisis committees are different and allow delegates to discuss topics that they wouldn’t know about or debate otherwise. The niche situations also allow for a more fair distribution of positions as it eliminates country bias and allows delegates look at an issue in a different light.
United States, United Kingdom, France: these are all countries that are frequently announced during award ceremonies due to their standings in the global community and the abundance of stances they have on different issues. Though some positions have more power than others, Crisis generally evens the playing field.
Also, in Crisis, delegates are constantly responding to issues that arise, while in a General Assembly the delegates know exactly what they are debating throughout the whole committee. It’s predictable. I feel that Crisis takes a different set of speaking skills than in a General Assembly. Crisis delegates also get to act as someone else and fully embody their character, which is a nice change from the regular stressful environment of a student.
Crisis, in my opinion, is better than General Assemblies because of creativity and strategy involved and the constant stream of ever-changing debate. However, the best delegates are the ones that can remain successful in both committees.
Want to get involved in Moderated Caucus? Send your topic suggestions to email@example.com and you’ll get the chance to put your case to Best Delegate readers.