The most daunting experience you face as a delegate is your very first conference. Jumping in with both feet into the Model UN world is a learning experience, and it is the responsibility of Head Delegates to ensure that the newest additions to their delegation have a successful conference. Properly training new delegates is key for any successful delegation. By following these procedures, you can rest assured that your delegates will be confident in their first committee session.
Perhaps the most foreign part of the model un world is the jargon. This can be very intimidating for new delegates. One way to familiarize delegates with new terms is to provide a sort of ‘dictionary’ to review and go through different terms. Make sure to outline different motions and points in this guide, as well as procedural order of the committee. Understanding the jargon and how it is used is the very first obstacle to tackle with your new delegates, but it definitely isn’t the last.
After delegates have gotten their feet wet with the jargon, run simulations using the new language to prepare delegates. This will let them put their new skills to use. Assign delegates countries, and pair them up with experienced delegates to help them through it. Make sure that the topic is set to something current that delegates would be interested in and already have a bit of background knowledge about. For example, if a new delegate simulation were running today, tackling Ebola, ISIS, or the Ukraine Crisis would be very appropriate. It’s important to remember that these simulations are learning experiences. Make sure to let delegates know that they may ask questions at any time. It’s imperative that you are supportive and compassionate.
Resolution writing is another skill that all delegates will need to learn and, over time, master. Run a clinic teaching delegates the proper format of resolutions and what to include in a successful resolution. To enhance the resolution clinic, provide delegates with many resources. Handing out examples of resolutions is always a good call – you can even pull resolutions from your past conferences. Providing delegates with a formatting sheet is also very useful, though most conference handbooks will have one of these included anyway. Be sure to explain the differences between pre-ambulatory clauses and operative clauses!
After delegates have had their practice simulations and clinics, they will be better equipped to write their position papers and start their research. Point delegates to useful resources such as Best Delegate and CIA World Factbook to learn the basics. Provide delegates with example position papers and formats (similar to the resolution writing clinics). If possible, have experienced delegates or teacher advisors edit and revise position papers. It’s important to work alongside the new delegates during this process so they can be independent and confident for the next conference.
The most important thing to remember with new delegates is to be patient. Strike a balance between work and play to keep your delegates enthusiastic about their future in Model UN. They will make mistakes and you will need to help them along their way, but it will be worth it once they’ve been bitten by the MUN bug. Remember the delegates and teacher advisors who have helped you along the way and shaped your experience. Now it’s your turn to pass the torch!