Training New Delegates for their Model UN Debut

by Julia on October 15, 2014

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.

Diplomacy Fellows training delegates at the UCLA Junior Diplomat Program 2014

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!

  • Leroy Burtz

    As the manager of a MUN club in the States, I don’t find this article very useful.

    Anybody can memorize some facts to sound like they know what they’re talking about. Perfect example: one of my students tried out for our team, and gave a two minute speech while representing a south east Asian country. He talked a lot about the problems this country faced, and bombarded me with stats and numbers that anybody could look up in an encyclopedia. To the untrained observer, this guy seemed like a perfect MUN delegate; well informed and brimming with knowledge.

    The guy couldn’t even pinpoint where Belize or Mongolia were on a map.

    You can train kids all you want. Be as patient as you want with them. But in my years of running this club, some kids just “get it”, and some kids don’t.

    • Guest

      i really like this image!

    • Best Delegate

      I believe it’s possible for any delegate to “get it” with enough experience and training. It depends on where they are in their journey, and also on the objectives of their training and the MUN club. For your student, perhaps he needs more guidance on how to incorporate policy, solutions, and a call to action into his speeches? I would also think of it as a learning opportunity to teach him geography and the locations of various countries. — Best, Ryan

  • Lenny Spielberg

    I also love my civil rights and liberties but i think that the war on terror and drugs has been slowly taking away from the rights of american citizens. Do you believe in freedom or do you think that the government should control everybody and tax them to spend their money because they know best? I’m basically asking whether you love being cuckolded by a ‘democratically’ elected government.

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