Prepare your SEIMUN
MUN Preparation – Tips and Resources
What to do before an MUN?
The key to success for an MUN not only lies in rigorous preparation but also in the competence and capability of its attending delegates. Thus, SEIMUN strives to provide its prospective delegates with a comprehensive introductory guide to prepare meticulously and to eventually excel at MUN.
The road to being a successful delegate, at any MUN, is paved with preparation. Before the Conference, all delegates should familiarize themselves with the structure and history of the United Nations (UN) or the respective body that they are part of. Subsequently, delegates should research their assigned committee and working powers, along with a research on the assigned country/character/non-governmental organization. Then, research on the committee topic and the relevance of such topic for the assigned country should ensue. Furthermore, after the delegates make use of the individual study guides provided for all committees’ topics, it is key that they broaden the scope of their research in committee topics, as to guarantee a thorough preparation. The bibliography as well as further readings suggested in the study guides serve as sensible starting points for further research. History books, academic journals, news articles and analyses, think tank reports or official documents provided by different UN agencies all provide important tools in the preparation scheme.
Important Documents a Delegate should be familiar with
Charter of the United Nations
Human Rights Declaration
The Geneva Conventions
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
The Statute of the International Court of Justice:
Information on the Treaty of Lisbon
Your Assigned Country
Once you are assigned a respective country in any given committee, it is recommended that you begin researching your allocated country. Start by researching its history and culture, political structure, the different economic conditions within the country, its religion(s), and its foreign policy. Furthermore, we also advise you to do some research on the problems within your assigned state regarding freedom of the press, development, health care, education, poverty, human rights, ethnic and religious minorities, and division of wealth. Domain in these areas will facilitate your readiness for the Conference. Wikipedia actually does provide a good starting point and so does the CIA fact book. Furthermore, you might want to inquire on your assigned country’s official website as well as its UN mission or other permanent representation.
Good understanding of a committee is crucial for successful debate. In all of SEIMUN study guides, delegates are provided with a comprehensive introduction to the Conference’s committees, which can serve as a good basis in their understanding of the committees. As a delegate, you should understand the history and purpose of your committee, to shed light on its powers, the actions it takes and the methods in which the committee acts.
Most committees consist of a number of Member States, who may sponsor working papers and have full voting rights within the committee. The aim of all delegates is to represent their assigned Member State within the committees, in order to discuss the different topics in the agenda, and make progress towards solving them on a helpful international level. Delegates are thus expected to understand the foreign policies of their assigned countries, and act within those policies during the Conference.
Your Agenda Topics
After having gained sufficient knowledge on your assigned country and committee, you should subsequently research the two topics that will be on the committee agenda. An interesting and engaging debate will develop in a committee if the delegates have a clear understanding of the agenda topics. Once you have read the SEIMUN study guide of your respective committee, widen your research scope. Previous resolutions passed by the committees or speeches from government officials, in the respective topics, are also good research tools.
It is quite important to keep in mind that many of the topics discussed in all the committees, during the Conference, are particularly vast and complex in content. Hence, several topics can be discussed in more than one organization. While conducting your research, keep the following questions in mind:
- In regards to the given topics, what are the crucial questions being raised?
- Why are these issues (topics) important to your country and committee?
- Why does the issue remain unresolved?
- What documents are essential to your research?
- Are there any, and if yes what actions have been taken by international bodies on the issues?
- What actions are currently underway in the international community, or who in the international arena is a “watch-dog” for the issues?
- In your country’s perspective, what should be done to resolve the issue successfully?
Researching given topics can be a long and complicated process, where you must understand and know the various players in the issue. What various bodies within or related to the UN System have done to address the issue, what is currently being done, and what are the plans for the future, are all important elements of an MUN preparation. You are to examine all of these factors and evaluate why has there been successes and failures on the given issue.
Furthermore, a crucial part in your preparation, lays within the blocs of States that may share the same perspective or priorities your country does, and who could collaborate with you in the committee sessions. The following questions can guide you in the research of your bloc countries:
- Within your committee, any other Member State shares your view?
- Is your assigned State part of any regional organization?
- What States or organizations are opposed to your views?
- How Member States are in the same voting block as your assigned State?
Before the start SEIMUN 2017, all delegates should submit their individual position papers when they are required by Secretariat. A position paper is a short statement of about one A4 describing your country’s standing on the agenda topics. Writing the position paper will help you organize all the information you have researched so far, in a concise way. After an extensive research on your committee’s topics, writing a position paper will be a walk in the park.
Divide your position paper in 3 parts, “the background of the topics, past International Actions, and Country Policy & Possible Solutions”. In every position paper, you should:
- Avoid extravagant wording and instead use concise and well-structured sentences.
- Separate your ideas or proposals in different paragraphs, to ensure an easy understanding of them
- Proof-read your paper!
Tips to Get Started in Resolutions
1. we recommend printing the page from UNA-USA’s website with all the pre-ambulatory and operative phrases and putting that document in your Research Binder. This will make the phrases very easy to reference to when delegates need to write them in committee. Most major conferences also provide their own list in their conference program or website.
2. We also recommend practicing translating ideas into pre-ambulatory and operative clauses if you are not used to it already. You can do this with your class — have someone mention an issue within their topic and then have students come up with a pre-ambulatory clause for it or have someone propose a solution and then have students come up with different operative clauses for it. Sooner or later, you will become fluent in writing them and have memorized your favorite clauses so that you can easily turn any statement into a clause.
Your Opening Speech is your first statement to the committee, and should typically last about 1 minute or 1 minute and 30 seconds. ”It is the best opportunity for you to explain your country policy and the key sub-issues you would like the committee to focus on”. Pay close attention to all opening speeches, as they are a good opportunity to determine whom you could work with, during the committee sessions. Always REMEMBER that your speech will be heard only ONCE, thus it is important that you make an impression. You will lose your fellow delegates’ attention in a long, confusing, and rambling speech. To avoid such speeches, include the following elements in your speech:
- Arranged in ascending order, your most important arguments, with the final argument as a climax.
- Number your points! It will be helpful to you in delivering the speech and to the audience in remembering it.
- Use a key word or phrase for each argument and repeat the main points before yielding the floor.
Besides building repetitions, using idiomatic expressions, rhetorical pauses or other means, a good speaker should practice before delivering its speech. Practice the image and tone you want to portray to your committee (be it secure, assertive, sarcastic, conciliatory, etc.).
In this section you will find, useful websites for your research.
|UN News Centre||The Interdependent|
|UN Dispatch||UN Wire|
|Foreign Policy||What’s in Blue|
|UN Chronicle||Our World|
Newspapers and Magazines (for context only, those are not official policies!)
|ABC News||Associated Press|
|BBC News||CBC News|
|CNN International||The Economist|
|Economist Intelligence Unit||Financial Times|
|MSNBC||The New York Times|
|Reuters||Agence France-Presse (AFP)|
|The Times||The Washington Post|
Think Tank reports or academic articles as Elcano ones are also very helpful to get some inspiration on potential resolutions for your agenda item.
Nevertheless, our most important MUN advice is for you to enjoy and submerge yourself in our Conference, SEIMUN 2017!
Rules of procedure SEIMUN 2017
Delegates are always encouraged to place questions to their chairs, legal advisors, linguists and members of the secretariat. These will be really happy to help.