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How to Get More Involved in Model UN: Presentation at the Peddie School

by Ryan on January 12, 2011

I gave a presentation yesterday at the Peddie School in New Jersey. Their Model UN club invited me to speak because they really enjoy the one or two conferences they attend every year and they’d like to get more involved.

I believe this is a common situation for many Model UN clubs, so I’d like to share with Best Delegate readers a few of the suggestions I made in my presentation.

Find local 1 or 2-day conferences to attend.

Many clubs focus on attending the large, 3 or 4-day conferences that take place in their region. These conferences are a lot of fun and an awesome Model UN experience, but they also mean arranging overnight accommodations, planning extended travel, and missing class.

Attending a local 1 or 2-day conference means you can travel back-and-forth on the same day, lower costs, and it’s easier to fit into students’ schedule. You also get to rack up Model UN experience — which makes you more competitive at the larger conferences — and local conferences are still a lot of fun!

Organize an internal 1-day conference.

Holding a conference for your own school is great for a number of reasons. Your younger members gain experience and your older members get the chance to chair. You can invite the rest of your school to participate, which is a cool way of publicizing your club by showing others what Model UN is like.

And if you’ve never organized a conference before, you get to learn how. Also, keeping the conference to 1 day and inviting only students at your school makes the experience much more manageable.

Reach out to neighboring schools.

There might be other Model UN clubs in your area that are in a similar situation — they like going to the conferences they already attend and they want to get more involved. Once you have experience running your own 1-day conference, you can scale it up by inviting a few other schools. You can take turns hosting or, ideally, each school decides to host their own conference, which also serves as a fundraiser for travel to away conferences.

And I’ve also seen neighboring schools band together to attend a conference as a single delegation — they pool resources, train together, and become more competitive.

A special thank you to advisors Anne Xu and Rich Maley for inviting me to Peddie! The students were wonderful and I had a great time. Good luck at YMUN next week and I hope to see you all again soon!

  • Nick W.

    This was a really informative and useful article. I never really thought about the idea of inviting the rest of your school to a school-specific conference. I’m assuming you have tips for how a new club can start their own small conference?

  • KFC

    I agree with Nick on the school-specific conference. My high school would always have a mock session where new MUNers could go through a no-pressure teaching conference. Parents were invited to attend and many did show up!!

    A mock session was easy to put on:
    1. We booked the school library as the committee room and would hold the session either for three hours in the evening (when we were smaller) or from 9am-2pm on a Saturday (once we got bigger as a club)
    2. Everyone was in the same committee and worked on the same broad topic (e.g. terrorism)
    3. We used double delegations for each country — one experienced delegate and one new delegate for each pair
    4. The chairs were the most experienced delegates and they had the authority to “pause” the committee when they wanted to teach something or commend someone for doing well
    5. Free pizza was served. Everyone loves free food!
    6. Awards were given out at the end, but more important, everyone got a certificate of participation which made them feel like their time was valued. The advisor and club leaders would then pitch why joining MUN is valuable and encourage kids to sign up for the next conference. This worked well, especially because parents were in attendance!

  • KFC
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  • Rick

    Ryan, this is really helpful for smaller and new school delegations. Great article!
    -Rick from Torrey Pines

    • Ryan

      Thanks Rick!

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