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A guide to the Model United Nations

Grace Trivedi
Included in this guide is everything you need to know about getting started on your first experience to the model united nations. I hope this guide will help you achieve a clear understanding about what the model United Nations is really about, and how you can achieve your maximum in your conference in the future with the help of practicing your certain skills.

International School of Geneva, Campus Des Nations

Dear Student, Congratulations on your first conference for Model United Nations! As a first time delegate myself, I wanted to write about my experience and explain to you my discoveries about this conference. I hope that when you have finished reading this document you will understand the importance of Model United Nations and the links it has to the IB ATL skills. And for future delegates, motivate you to get involved yourself and with your fellow peers. When I first heard about the model united nations conferences, I was confused about the essential idea and the difference between other common conferences such as the Student League of Nations. I thought it essentially consisted of debate and since I didnt have strong negotiation skills, I was doubtful about discussing this idea. However a peer talked to me about the conference and we began to discuss ideas, and were confused as to why the school does not offer MUN to students as frequently as they should. This then brought me to begin my research about MUN, and I got very excited. I then talked to the MUN coordinator of the school and discussed the idea of establishing a MUN club and attending a conference this year. I then spoke to fellow peers who I thought would have the initiative and interest in such activities and founded an official MUN club. After initiating this club, fellow peers and I began to research conferences and contacted the ones that we thought would guarantee a successful experience for our very first MUN. We then wrote a proposal to the school board and got our idea approved, keeping in mind all the possible problems that could occur while applying and attending the conferences. We had to link the idea of MUN to the IB middle years program, so that the school could understand why we gave so much importance to MUN, and found that the Approaches to Learning area of the AOI was a perfect example of why MUN should be a regular activity in our school. I am sure that you would be thinking; why is MUN for me? How will it benefit me or my potential as a MYP student? Which is why I wrote this guide. Hopefully after having a clear understanding of the model united nations and how it links to us as MYP students, you will be motivated and interested enough to join yourself, and begin to familiarize yourself to one of the most successful extra curricular activities for high school students today. Remember that this guide doesnt explain you the formatting and the organization of MUN or how it works, as there are thousands of websites that explain so. Instead it explains you the skills you need for MUN and how to practice them so that you perform your best at your conference! Sincerely, Grace Trivedi

As students at Campus Des Nations who represent not only the school but the foundation in a positive light we believe that by challenging our academic capabilities we touch upon approaches to learning, a much valued asset belonging to the areas of interaction in the IB program, which influence how we learn, and how we use foreign experiences outside the school environment to expand upon our academic potential. MUN conferences will also provide us with the opportunity to get in touch with other students from schools across the world, to communicate and share our experiences and ideas with them as well. We believe that communicating with different people from diverse cultures will help us broaden and provide us with a valuable insight to peoples thoughts and ideas, and will also help us enhance our communication skills as individuals especially in an international scale.

What is the Model United Nations?

The model united nations is essentially an authentic mockup of the actual UN conferences held that allows students to act as delegates from different countries and participate in debate and form resolutions of significant issues that are present in the world today. The conferences allow students to acquaint themselves to the world of diplomacy and negotiation, by making students act as representatives of the UN member states and discuss the possible resolutions of the current issues present in the organizations immeasurable agenda as mentioned before. The students who act as delegates of countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe prepare draft resolutions, plan policy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries that lead to resolutions of conflicts by reaching an agreement with them. They also follow the actual UN's rules of procedure in the interest of mobilizing international cooperation to resolve problems that affect almost every country on the planet, at least of those of the UN member states. Model UN delegates during the conference learn how the international community acts upon its global concerns about peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and hunger, economic development, globalization and much more.


popularity of Model UN has contributed to the rapid growth of the activity over several decades, and today thousands of high schools, colleges and universities participate or host a Model UN each year. The ranges of these conferences differ significantly when it comes to size. Some are classroom exercises, others schoolwide, and others regional, national, or international. A lot of students participate in the model UN conferences over and over again to build up their skills and experience, which leads up to them having higher ranking positions in their committees and to be able to put in practice the various skills they have been using over time. A lot of students (or delegates) are automatically interested in the MUN conferences because it helps them build up their CV for universities. MUN is considered a very prestigious activity as it shows initiative and leadership skills which a lot of universities look for in a potential candidate, especially one that has impressive academic potential, demonstrating and implementing it by attending these conferences and having a successful experience. One aspect that is very popular in the conference is the fact that a lot of delegates look forward to their resolution being chosen by their committee for their country and having it selected for the final resolution which is concluded at the end of each session of the conference. This gives them a strong chance of achieving the best delegate award.1 "In fact, quite a few of today's leaders in law, government, business, and the arts participated in Model UN during their academic career-from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and World Court Justice Stephen M. Schwebel to actor Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, A Time to Kill). And yes, Chelsea Clinton is a Model UN veteran as well. - Extract from the website for United Nations Association of the United States of America

The best delegate award shows the achievements of individuals or their teams in model UN conferences due to the fact that they demonstrate key outstanding qualities, which deserve to be recognized in the duration of the conference. For more information check out the website that will be mentioned in the tips and tricks section.

Importance and significance of Model UN

As mentioned before, attending the Model UN conferences will give you a strong base to build upon certain academic skills. Others will also recognize that fact that you have challenged yourself by attending such conferences and have been able to think on your feet and communicate your ideas successfully to other delegates around the world. The reason why MUN is recognized as a very prestigious activity is because of the fact that it is extremely challenging and demanding in academic areas. To be able to come up with a resolution that matches and follows the UN policy is not an easy task, representing a country and keeping in account its views and implementing those views while writing a successful resolution is definitely not an easy task either. These are just a few tasks out of hundreds that will be demanded by you, and to be able to cope and exceed in these tasks will be extremely commendable. By attending MUN not only will you expand upon your academic potential, but practice and develop skills that will be useful for you not only in your school or learning environment, but also in important social situations where you will be at more ease with communicating your ideas. It will also be useful for the work area in the future. You will be able to think critically at a much faster rate, allowing you to make out a proper idea out of alien situations.

Of course you will be taking into account the foreign policies, needs, aspirations and concerns that your country has, but you will be linking them to the academic areas that you have been learning over the years in school. The insights you as a delegate will gain from the exploration of history, geography, Maths, culture, economics, social sciences, and many other aspects will contribute to your understanding and level of participation in the conference to your committee. You must apply logic and the knowledge you have from before to ensure this, it is definitely not something that comes to you naturally. Being in an international school and being and MYP student international policies and global awareness might seem something that will be easily accessible as an academic skill and area to touch upon, but that is definitely not the case. Of course, we are all culturally aware, but how much do we know about topics such as global affairs and international relations? We have the academics area covered, Maths, sciences, basic economics, overall history of significant countries, but that is not all that is required of us. It is important to remember that anything can be brought up at a conference and you must carefully do your research and also refresh the prerequisite skills that you have. Also, you might have to develop new skills or at the least practice them. Some of prerequisite skills are:

Research Writing Public speaking Problem solving Consensus building Conflict resolution Compromise and cooperation2

The and overall skills would be prioritizing and reasoning, but the context in the conference you would be compromising and cooperating when writing your resolutions with other delegates in your committee.

The preparation for the conference is extremely important and a very long process, especially for the skills mentioned above. For example when it comes to debate and public speaking. We must focus on the essential ideas when it comes to these skills. In the MYP and even in the IB, the Approaches to Learning in the areas of interaction are related to these skills, and the MYP prepares you to work on these skills over time. Just pay more attention to the ATLs for preparation for your conference, use it as kind of a checklist. In the next section the ATLs will be elaborated upon.

Approaches to Learning and MUN skills

The approaches to learning in the MYP and IB are one of the five areas of interaction. It focuses on the academics and organizational skills that students need to use in the IB middle years program. It focuses on the ways students learn best, and guides students to reach their maximum ability by following seven criteria listed below. Through approaches to learning, students are provided with the tools to enable them to take responsibility for their own learning. Central to this is "learning how to learn" and developing in individuals an awareness of how they learn best, of thought processes and of learning strategies. The main areas of approaches to learning are: Organization How well you can manage time and your resources effectively? Are you in control of your work? Are you sorting out all the little details and have they been clarified? Are work, documents, meetings and other significant discussions being sorted out effectively? Is your information reliable/accurate? Communication Your points are clear, they make sense and you use effective methods of informing people about things. You express your views and take initiative in expressing your ideas, justifying them. Thinking - You take into account different perspectives to have fair ideas and explore all different and creative possibilities. You dont limit yourself however you make sure that your ideas are realistic, evaluating them carefully. Information literacy Research independently, you categorize the information clearly. Making sure your information is relevant and doublechecking sources cross referencing and organizing your information in a clear manner. Collaboration being open minded to other ideas, working together effectively and showing initiative in teamwork, eagerness and open to all ideas. Transfer using ATL as a context to plan, implement information and evaluate new information. To be able to take information from all academic subject areas in the MYP and use it for your planning or creating process effectively. To use the ATL as a guideline for your work regularly. Reflection Self-evaluation with justification of ideas.

You might not realize immediately but it is best to start preparing the moment you receive your committees and topics, in your MUN club have practice debate sessions and try to get as much practice as you can when it comes to the certain skills enlisted above. Not only could this checklist be useful for preparation, but also it is also very important for your actual performance during the conference. In your mock practice sessions, have a look at these criteria. A few examples could be: Organization are you organizing regular meetings for your club members regularly? Is everything planned for your conference yet? What details have to be checked regularly to ensure that everything is on track? Communication practicing your communication skills when it comes to participating in the conference itself to ensure maximum performance not only for yourself, but also for your whole delegation. Your public speaking, debating, reasoning, consensus building with fellow committee members is extremely important. Does your resolution communicate your countrys views properly? Are your ideas and structure clear? Thinking Take into account other delegates resolutions. Keep in mind that you are thinking from your countrys views, not your own. Make sure you do not blur the lines of your own views and your countrys concerns about the issue you are writing the resolution on. Information literacy Have you checked your research through? Is your information relevant to the point? How is the information you have on your country and committee going to give you an advantage when convincing the fellow committee members that your resolution is worthy of being chosen? Collaboration Working with fellow committee members, drafting resolutions together. Again, think of their countrys perspective and your countrys perspective. Keep into account the foreign policies both countries have for each other, does that affect your resolution in any way? Transfer In case you are stuck in an unfamiliar situation, how well can you apply your previous knowledge to help you form your argument justly? This criterion tests your improvisation skills and how well you can think on your feet and come up with arguments to defend your point appropriately. Reflection Going through your resolution and checking for certain examples of bias or unjustified clauses. Identifying the pros and cons of arguments and being able to implement them to form your argument. Most of these skills are prerequisite, meaning that you are already required to excel in most of these skills for all aspects in MUN. For example, planning to go to a conference and convincing the school board to allow you to travel internationally requires a lot of detail, organization, and communication and information literacy. You must research all conferences in detail, check their reputation thoroughly, and take into account the first time delegates and their potential when it comes to the conference size and format. Have a look at the examples I have listed next to the seven criteria and think for yourself, have you met all of them yet? What criteria could you improve on to perform best at the specific MUN you are attending?

Not only do you need ATL skills for MUN, but also MUN can definitely enhance and develop new and prerequisite skills after your conference. Lets explore how ATL criteria and MUN skills relate to each other below.

o You will be doing research through out the preparation process for MUN about your country. Research should be concise yet elaborated to fully justify your points and arguments, start on narrow topics and make sure your questions are not too general. Remember, information literacy is key, also transfer your previous knowledge to make logical explanations and reasoning for your points. o This will help you with your research skills not only for MUN but also when you are writing essays in the MYP and IB rubric requirements, how effectively do you answer the question and identify the key points?

o When writing up your resolutions, you must make sure all your points match the formatting and they are clear and comprehendible. You justify all your clauses and have the effective methods in your sub clauses and you follow the format of resolution writing. Remember, communication will be the main aspect when writing your resolution because you are trying to express your ideas effectively to other delegates in your committee. o Your writing skills will immediately improve as you will see that with a clear formatting, the organization of ideas, and the justification of your ideas will automatically seem more clear to the reader or your audience.

Problem solving o Read through your resolution and look at all clauses and sub clauses, when writing a resolution you are already solving a problem however you must reflect upon your methods of action which will be your sub clauses, since you will have effective organization by following a clear format it should be easier for you to identify certain problems in your resolution. o You have always been required to reflect upon your methods in the MYP programs, evaluating your method and finding improvements in it in MUN you will put this skill into use when writing resolutions and develop it as well.

Public speaking
o o o You will most likely at one point in the conference be required to debate to justify your ideas. Transfer previous knowledge you know when you are stuck with an unfamiliar situation while debating, which is most likely to happen, as you will have to come up with arguments spontaneously. Thinking on your feet is extremely important in the public speaking section, how well can you defend your ideas with several other delegates opposing your resolution? Its very important to think like your country, and not involve bias at all. This will help you think of creative and open ideas when brainstorming in essay writing or other academic subjects, as you will have experience in situations with highest amount of pressure involved.

Consensus building Consensus building essentially requires you to be able to come up with new yet feasible ideas for the resolution of your country that other delegates will vote to agree or disagree upon. You must collaborate with fellow committee members but voice your own opinion as well, however when writing a resolution it is important to consider other countries foreign policies, and keep an open mind. Collaborating with other team members will allow you a stronger chance for your resolution to be selected, as delegates will find that you are aware of other committee member states. Keeping an open mind to form and merge different ideas to come up with string results is a much valued asset, and the ATLs help you get there by involving criteria of collaboration with team or in this case committee members.

Conflict resolution/ compromise and cooperation

This requires a mix of the ATL criteria. Writing and coming up with resolutions is the main objective of the MUN conferences. Organization, collaboration, transfer, information literacy, reflection and communication are all prerequisite skills that will be put to test in the duration of the MUN conference. The relation between all of them has been described above. It is important that you work on these skills. Compromise and cooperation essentially link to collaboration in the ATL criteria as mentioned before. Keep an open mind and do not involve bias.

Tips for MUN

The following website has everything you need to know from A Z about Model United Nations, check it out! Being a first time delegate at a model UN conference can seem quite nerve racking and intimidating, mostly because you do not know what to expect and how to handle yourself. It is definitely true that practice makes perfect in this case especially. However if you follow correct steps of preparation and have done your research thoroughly you do not have much to worry about at all. Here is what a few previous MUN delegates have said about MUN: Well for me the hardest part was at the conference when you had to merge resolutions because you have to be really assertive Everyone there has a dominant personality and you have to make sure you get your ideas heard. Well in terms of what I expected it was a lot different. In my first conference I was alone and social networking skills is a must have for this type of event If someone else is there with you in the same branch for instance GA3 it makes it considerably easier. But you just have to be mentally prepared and have a lot of self confidence, that your idea is the best idea. DNajah Picou 11o

o Make your ideas heard, there will be a lot of delegates in committees and especially in ones that have larger bodies and ones with more major topics. As the student above has said, make sure that your ideas are heard and do not make yourself seem intimidated by other delegates. Have confidence in yourself! o Have your research done and by the time you attend the conference, you should be an expert on talking about your countrys situation in all areas such as foreign policy, international relations, concerns, etc. If it helps, have your notes with you. o Organize yourself; dont overwhelm yourself with a bunch of ideas at once. There will be discussions of a grand scale, and to understand it takes some sort of organization. Focus on small details and then build yourself up to more generalized ideas.

MUN can be a quite challenging, but fun experience in general, but I would definitely say that the hardest part about MUN is really embracing the mindset of the delegation you are representing. Often, you may not share the same views as the country you are representing when it comes to political matters, and therefore it can be quite challenging to have to argue for something that you may not necessarily believe in, but I would say that this definitely proves to be a good learning experience as it allows you to really understand both sides of an argument. My advice for first time delegates would be to get out there as much as possible! MUN can be rather nerve wracking the first time someone participates, but people generally find that once they become familiar with the format, it becomes a lot more fun. I would encourage any first timer to co-sponsor, or even co-submit a resolution that stands in complementary to their countries stance. This is the best way to gain experience and to become more confident! I think that some of the most important skills when it comes to being successful at an MUN conference are formality, confidence, and the ability to think on your feet. Being formal is very important; it shows that you are able to address motions and arguments in a mature and respectable manner. Confidence, even if its not a lot, helps you out as well, it lets you tackle any situation that you may get thrown into, and shows that you are able to be resilient. Thinking on your feet is extremely useful, for you will not always be prepared for arguments, and the ability to draw information from different sources quickly in your head, will let you structure your arguments much more efficiently and persuasively - Isabel Hahn, 11b o Its important not to be shy, but dont over step yourself either. Of course have fun with it and get used to the formatting as mentioned above and then once you have completely familiarized yourself to the MUN style it will become much easier for you to participate and give in your input.

Thank you for reading this guide to the model UN! I hope that you have now achieved a clear understanding about the links model UN has to our academic life as MYP students, and I hope that you are motivated enough to join in the future. As for the delegates going to Doha this year, I hope you are now much more excited to attend! Sincerely, Grace Trivedi 11b