*Position Papers are due January 29, 2013.*Resolution Papers are due February 5, 2012.
Preparation of DelegatesThe following few pages are intended to assist in preparing students for participation in the University of Alaska Anchorage Model United Nations. This information is based on advice generated by the National Model United Nations in New York. The information presented here is by no means exhaustive, but should help you and your students enter the right frame of mind for MUN participation.
Preparation of delegates should involve the following:
Even though the MUN is a simulation, it is important that your students begin their preparation with a basic understanding of the United Nations. Require them to purchase a good copy of the UN Charter. It is a handy reference; it's good for quotes in speeches, position papers and resolutions; and it provides them with a sense of the organization's purpose and mission. Refer to the United Nations at a Glance published annually as an appendix to the ISSUES book cited below. In addition, you may wish to purchase and assign readings from the BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS, EVERYONE'S UNITED NATIONS, and the YEARBOOK OF THE UNITED NATIONS. THE BLUE HELMETS is an excellent review of the UN peace-keeping operations. The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UNITED NATIONS is an expensive, but very important, research tool. You may want to ask your library to purchase any or all of these publications.
Most students do not know very much about the UN, e.g., what it is; what it can do; what role it plays in international politics, etc. They may come to UAA with unrealistic and unworkable ideas about the UN. This initial part of the preparation will help your students put the UN in proper perspective.
Research on the history of the nation assigned, its political and economic system, and its culture and values.
This is never an easy task, especially for smaller non-Western nation-states. Unless your nation assignment is a major player, it may be difficult to obtain information. The YEARBOOK series published by American University is particularly useful for background information. Contact the UN mission early. The missions are increasingly making available all kinds of information which may be helpful. You may also wish to recommend that your students use two database searches: PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) and InfoTrac (multidisciplinary).As with all research, the Internet and the World Wide Web are increasingly valuable sources for information.
This is necessary because students very often have no notion of the history and purpose of their assigned committee or council. They tend to operate at UAA in a vacuum which is harmful to their national interests. There are several recommendations: the New Zealand Ministry of External Relations and Trade publishes an annual volume called the UN HANDBOOK. It is available from: the New Zealand UN Mission, One United Nations Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (212) 826-1960. The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UNITED NATIONS is also an excellent source of historical information. See the appendices for information regarding the specialized UN agencies.
Research on issues before each committee and council.
Use the standard research tools here. There are several additional sources which are highly recommended, including A Global Agenda: Issues before the United Nations. Also check the UNITED NATIONS (Monthly) CHRONICLE. The CHRONICLE reviews UN activities with summaries of debates, texts of major resolutions, information on major issues, articles on UN conferences, and bibliographic information.
Research on the assigned nation's position on the issues.
This is the most difficult research task. The most often repeated student response when they get to this phase of their research is: "I can't find anything on (fill in the blank) position on (fill in the blank). Some suggestions:
These are two of the most important things delegates do to prepare for the MUN. There are a number of guides available, including the MODEL UN SURVIVAL KIT produced by the UNA-USA. This contains a manual for writing resolutions and position papers. Additionally, the Delegate Preparation Packet which the Secretariat will forward to you will also contain sample resolutions and position papers.
Practice makes perfect, but it is not recommended that you come to the MUN with a stack of pre-written resolutions. Developing the skills necessary to write the resolutions quickly will better serve your nation in the quick-pace environment of the MUN, where collaboration and compromise are the hallmarks of successful resolutions.
Practice speaking and caucusing
Students should speak frequently in preparing for the MUN. They can do this in a class environment, or they can do it with peers outside of class. Don't have any reservations about offering constructive criticism. If problems exist with public speaking, they must be resolved before attending the MUN.
Practicing debating an issue will also provide a hands-on way to better familiarize your students with the topic material, as well as help them develop a natural empathy for the cause of their nation.
Developing caucusing skills
Some recommendations for caucusing at the MUN:
Understanding the Model UN
Delegates must understand that the MUN is serious business. They must come to UAA prepared to work, not to goof off or flirt. The MUN is not the place for crude or immature behavior. DELEGATES MAY BE ASKED TO LEAVE IF THEIR BEHAVIOR DISRUPTS THE PROCEEDINGS OR JEOPORDIZES THE DIGNITY AND REPUTATION OF EITHER UAA OR THE MODEL UN.
There are several kinds of awards based on the performance of whole delegations, individual delegates, and faculty representatives. The awards are always a source of controversy: Should we have them? Are they fair? There are no easy answers to these and related questions.
The best advice: Forget about the awards. Have fun, work hard, be creative, and do the best you can.