MUN in a New ERA; Tips For New UN4MUN Delegates

by dennispenu on December 1, 2015

©UNGA_un.org

It is very important for first time delegates at any conference to prepare effectively for what is ahead.  Delegates often have experiences in many MUN procedures from various places around the world. Make no mistake,  these are not your average MUN tips and tricks. There is a new wave of MUN proceedings that is gaining ground within the “MUNiverse”; and that is UN4MUN. Whether this is your first conference or you’re a seasoned delegate, everyone can learn something trying out UN4MUN

I bet many delegates have heard about the North American MUN and THIMUN, but have not really had an experience with UN4MUN. Well, I bet you, the next conference you may be attending could have its entire structure or portions of it inspired by UN4MUN rules of procedure (RoPs). UN4MUN is the United Nations own initiative started in 2009 (Global MUN) to help teach MUNs about how to apply RoPs that more closely simulate the UN. Considering that these rules are very different from what we have known in THIMUN and North American MUN, it means that no matter how experienced you are in MUN, you could find yourself in a whole new environment in a UN4MUN structured conference. So here I share with you tips to make you fit easily into that setting.

First, focus more on the cooperation than competition. In many MUNs we have known, there is so much emphasis placed on how well a delegate can argue or ‘shoot other delegates’ arguments down’. There is a lot of energy put into how you can aggressively dominate others with your personality and there is so much importance attached to winning the competition of getting your ideas to dominate that of others. Well, in UN4MUN, it’s really about how you are able to understand others and how you are able to build consensus. It is about how many people you can work together with to get to the resolution. The good delegates in these conferences are therefore not the ones who can “wow” everyone with the wonderful speeches; but those who are able to connect more with people informally and allow others to contribute to the debate. The good delegate is not the one whose draft resolution eventually gets considered; but the one who gives the ideas of others a place in the final draft.

Second, pay attention and understand the rules. They make you understand the conference and UN system better. For those who really want to understand the UN through MUN, this is the right approach. UN4MUN rules give a lot of power to delegates and create an effective structure on how things flow and get decided. It is more technical but also creates more harmony in proceedings. The UN4MUN rules do not place so much power in the hands of chairs or the dais. Hence, the delegate who know the rules are the ones who benefit more from the game. Note that I did not say “win the game” because it is no meant to be a competition. It is therefore helpful that before you attend an UN4MUN conference, you sit with other members of your delegation to discuss how much you understand about the rules and how your delegation can help make the process smoother for the dais and other delegates. The delegates are the ultimate decision makers in UN4MUN; not the chairs.

Finally, be mindful that most of the action takes place during the conference. The objective of UN4MUN is to get the most out of collective action. Hence, the intense preparation that precedes other MUNs in order to steal the show or prove more knowledgeable is not much needed in UN4MUN. You need to understand your country’s position, the RoP and keep an open mind to listen to the views of others. Getting a collectively owned resolution through a preferred consensus is actually what matters. And this depends on how much you put into working with others at the conference rather than preparing on practicing the best speech or draft resolution.

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