The Head Delegate’s Guide to Conference Mentorship

by prathmj on December 11, 2014

Being a Head Delegate is easily one of the most stressful positions in Model UN- not only does it require participation in the conference, it also requires leading a delegation. In order to simplify the process, here are some tips on the responsibilities going to a conference entails for a head delegate:

Before the Conference:

Weeks, even months, before the conference itself, the head delegate should be organizing various meetings for delegates to research, share information, and work on position papers. It is important that the head delegate, as well as other experienced delegates, assist new delegates in the process, as having good background preparation before a conference is crucial to success. This can be done in a variety of ways, and a very effective method is creating mentor/mentee relationships between experienced and inexperienced delegates. This benefits the newer delegates by providing them with someone who has prior knowledge to go to with questions, but also benefits the more experienced delegate by giving them practice collaborating prior to a conference.

Generally, it is crucial to have an entire team meeting the week before a conference, as it gives an opportunity to ask and answer important logistical and committee-based questions. The head delegate should also use this time to go over the fundamental parts of Model UN, such as speaking, caucusing, resolution writing, and parliamentary procedure. While this all may seem trivial to experienced delegates, it is important to note that newer delegates may have trouble comprehending all of the various facets of a Model UN conference.

During the Conference:

Especially during multi-day conferences, it is crucial that the head delegate as well as the aforementioned “mentors” have meetings with their delegates/mentees multiple times throughout a conference. These sessions should be used to answer questions about committee, writing resolutions, caucusing, as well as any logistical concerns. The head delegate should personally set up these meetings, as it will reduce the stress of newer delegates who may be afraid to approach others with concerns.

It is also imperative that the Head Delegate emphasizes the importance of diplomacy to his/her delegates, as many may come into a conference with an incorrect perspective on how to approach committee. A great way to do this is to send out e-mails to the team, reminding them of their excellent work as well as the importance of focusing on cooperation and negotiation. Newer delegates will strive to emulate the head delegate and other seasoned members of the team, so it is necessary that all senior members act as role models.

After the Conference:

Emphasize that Model UN is about having fun and meeting new people.

Emphasize that Model UN is about having fun and meeting new people.

After the awards ceremony, it is crucial that the head delegate meets with the team and congratulates everyone on their successes throughout the conference. A sign of a great head delegate, and leader in general, is that the entire delegation leaves the conference with a smile on their face.

In the weeks after a conference, the head delegate should meet with the team as a whole multiple times to discuss what they learned, what they plan on improving, and any additional questions they may have. This is also a great time to bond with team, share funny stories from the conference, and emphasize that Model UN is all about having fun.

Overall, being a successful head delegate is dependent not on an individuals success in committee, but rather by how much the entire delegation enjoys the conference. Do not focus on individual or team awards; instead, focus on making sure all delegates are prepared, confident, and able to make the most out of committee.

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