As a Student Officer, the first part of a conference is always the most exciting. You get to meet new delegates, who in turn become new friends. You get to listen to dialogue on research that both you and your delegates have done. But most importantly, you learn how to make an impact on your community, and that is what makes the MUN community such a great one to be a part of. However, at the same time, the issue of formatting always seems to come up. During my time as a The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) Chair, wrong formatting would be a constant issue. Of course it is not completely the fault of delegates- more often than not, they don’t know any better. This article is intended to explain the importance of formatting and provide tips for the essential parts of formatting. It will serve as a general overview of more thorough formatting resolution formatting. Here are four key points to consider:
1. Know the format required and why it is required.
As a Chair at a conference using THIMUN Procedure, you should be familiar with the THIMUN Educational site, where you can find the THIMUN Resolution format. You’ll find all the guidelines and a sample resolution along with pre-ambulatory and operative clause terms you can use (this will include Advisory Panel/Security Council specific terms as well). You can find an example of a correctly formatted resolution and the same guidelines at the Malaysian Model United Nations site as well.
Correct formatting is essential for two reasons. First, it shows that you adhere to a standard that THIMUN or the conference you are attending wishes to uphold. Second, correct formatting should make reading a resolution easy and will limit unnecessary distractions.
2. Remember the essential formatting.
Most of the time, resolutions arrive at the deadline Chairs give (e.g. 70% of resolutions arrive at the 11AM deadline, with only one hour to format the resolutions). If you are rushing to meet a deadline, take care to format these essential components correctly:
- The header (FORUM:, QUESTION OF:, SUBMITTED BY:, and committee name e.g. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY) should be correct. This is the first thing everyone reading a resolution sees, so it needs to be done correctly in order for the format to be clear. Take care of the fact that the topic and submitter’s delegation is done correctly. Remember that there are no co-submitters on the header.
- Appropriate pre-ambulatory and operative clause terms must be included. Make sure that there are no amendments to “strike” a clause just because one of the terms are meant for the Advisory Panel/Security Council only. Do not repeat the terms without using additional words such as “further,” or “strongly.”
- Only one period should be in the whole entire resolution. This is the first rule of resolution writing that MUN delegates learn, so periods scattered around the resolution would be very distracting.
- Numbering: Numbering is the messiest part of formatting, especially with the clauses, sub-clauses, and sub-sub clauses. More specific formatting will be explained later, but if you do numbering in a rush, the key is to be consistent in the way you align them on the page.
- Content is important – make sure there are no vulgar words, inappropriate acronyms, or solutions that might be offensive to other nations or conference participants.
- Font is important as well – Times New Roman size 12, 1.0 space is standard. Make sure that pre-ambulatory clause terms are italicized and operative clause terms are underlined.
3. Be sure to add the finer, more detailed formatting.
The other aspect of formatting includes the finer details, such as (but not limited to):
- Semi colons separating operative clauses
- Colons separating operative clause and sub-clauses/sub-sub clauses
- Writing phrases out before adding an acronym (e.g. United Nations would be listed in its full form, prior to using UN as an acronym).
- The lack of a comma after each sub-clause (new formatting rules)
- First letters of sub-clauses and sub-sub clauses not capitalized
- Operative clause numbers align with pre-ambulatory clauses
- Hanging and indents
4. Remember the hangings and indents
If you are well versed with Microsoft Word, we can number clauses, sub-clauses, and sub-sub clauses using indents and hanging.
- Clauses: 0 indentation, 0.63 hanging
- Sub-Clauses: 1.37cm indentation to the left, 0.63 hanging
- Sub-Sub Clauses: 2.54cm indentation to the left, 0.63 hanging.
With all of these tips, you should be able to quickly format a resolution into good shape. Keep in mind that thorough formatting impresses your fellow delegates and dais, and will set a precedent for your future writing!