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Emily Wyatt

on 13 May 2015

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Transcript of MUN

It's a game, but it involves work, too!
Model United Nations
Model United Nations (MUN), is an activity in which students typically roleplay delegates of the United Nations (UN) and attempt to solve real world issues using the policies and perspectives of their assigned country.
Once you have signed up for a conference, you will receive your country, your committee, and the topic(s). Most conferences provide a Background Guide (BG) that introduces the topic(s) — read that first. After that, there are 3 steps to follow:
Rules of procedure
1. A Chair may declare the
floor open
even if all members are not present.
2. Electronic devices are
not allowed
during debate, except when there is an Unmoderated Caucus. If you wish to use them, you should leave the room.
3. The first order of business is to
open agenda
. To do this, raise your placard and say: “Motion to open agenda”.
4. If the committee has more than one topic, the delegates must decide which to discuss first. To do this, raise your placard and say: “
to discuss "Topic A" first.”
5. In any speech, refer to yourself in
3rd person
, (e.g the delegation of X...)
6. The
Speakers List
must then be opened. To do this, raise your placard and say: “Motion to open speakers list.”. To enter the Speakers List, either raise your placard when the Chair asks for more names or send a note to the Chair.
Writing an Opening Speech
Make sure you have read your BG
Find statements from important characters from your country('s government) relevant to the issue that you can quote or paraphrase.
Suggested formula:

begin with "Honourable chair and fellow delegates" and finish with "I yield my time to the chair".
Describe past actions relating to one sub-issue.
Follow up with
specific solutions
you wish to suggest.
Mention if you are willing to negotiate.
finish with: “I yield my time to the Chair.”
1. Position Paper.
The Position Paper is a one or two page document that is essentially a
of your knowledge of the topic, and the position your country. It contains three sections: (1) Background of Topic and Past International Actions, (2)Country's Policy, and (3) Possible Solutions. Position Papers are usually due before the conference.
2. Opening Speech
The Opening Speech is the first speech you give to the committee. It is the
best opportunity
for you to explain your country's policy/plan. It's important to prepare a speech that captures the attention since the opening speech is a main way for countries to ally. Use your Position Paper as a guide to help you write it. The most important action is to just be

and make your first speech.
3. Research Binder
Research Binders will help you get
and will be your most
valuable resource
, since many conferences do not allow the use of technology in committee. In a Research Binder you can have new terms and acronyms, previous resolutions and treaties, and possible solutions.
Divisions of MUN
Model United Nations
Administrator of MUN; coordinates work in the MUN agencies
General Assembly
Debates issues and recommends actions
Security Council
Authorizes economic and military actions in settling disputes
Joint Crisis Cabinet
Like a Security Council, but divided into two or more sides of the conference.

7. "
" is giving the time you have left during a speech from the Speakers List to someone else. There are 3 types of yielding: to another delegate, to the Chair, or to questions (not recommendable).
8. To discuss a sub-topic, raise your placard, and say: "Motion to have a
Moderated/Unmoderated Caucus
on X (a sub-topic), for Y (total time) minutes, Z minutes/seconds per speaker"; you need a 2/3 majority for it to pass. If you want to be included in the list, raise your placard when your Chair ass for speakers.
9. If another delegate directly offends your country's policies, you have the right to reply to their comment. Raise your placard and ask for"
Right of Reply
Personal Privilege
, point of
(when an improper use of parliamentary procedure has happened), point of
Parliamentary Inquiry
(ask about a part of parliamentary procedure).

Working Papers
(WP) are submitted to the Chair. They don't require any format and you do not need to have sponsors or signatories. Write them in the style of a Draft Resolution style to save time.
12. A motion to introduce a
Draft Resolution
(DR) must be made so that it can be debated; it needs to have 1/3 of supporters for the Chair to allow it to be introduced.
13. You may
only refer
to WP/ DR that are
on the floor
open for debate
, refer to them with their respective names. For example: Working Paper 1.1.
require the approval of the Chair and 1/3 of the committee. When an amendment is introduced, there will be two speakers for and two against, then, the committee will move into voting procedure. For it to be passed, the 2/3 majority must be in favor.
15. To
suspend/close debate
say "Motion to suspend/close debate".

You're trying to
other delegates into being your allies; don't just start describing the issue.
A good way to obtain attention is by writing your speech as if it was a story. Narrate how a character is suffering because of the issue and tell his/her story; trying to mention the past actions of the government.
Opening Speech:

your Opening Speech
out loud
and time how long you take to read it; take into consideration that
you may be nervous
and stutter. Make it last
1 minute
, and highlight the important parts (try to make them last
45 seconds
Print it
file it
. A good idea is to have the size of the font be big, and have the lines spaced out well. This will help you when you need to read it out loud.
During conference:
Overcome your nervousness, and/or embrace it: Take deep breaths and count to 10, or accept the fact that you are nervous and let it give more energy to your speech. You'll get better as you speak more.
Remember that you
need to
be intimidated
, everyone in the room knows near as much information as you. You won’t find political analysts debating in an MUN Conference.
Don’t try to be too perfectionist. Chairs usually prefer
quantity over quality
, despite how that might not be the best.
Public Speaking
Harvard MUN '15 Background Guide and placard
It's all about location
Security Council/JCC
Big General Assembly
General Assembly
Of Topic:
1. Overall understanding:
Read the
background guide
Read Wikipedia. Take your sources from the
Read and print recent news articles about it.
releases (found in your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Department of State website).
Break the topic into
smaller issues
(usually found in BG); try to find statistics.
Know which countries are the most affected and why.

2. Know Past Actions:
Read some resolutions and keep them in your MUN USB.
Find out the
most important actions
taken with regard to your topic, and know who took them.
Make a timeline of events- specially useful in Specialized Agencies.

3. Understanding the current situation:
The topics in MUN are
constantly changing
, so try to keep up.
Constantly search in Google News, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Associated Press, and Reuters for updates.
For a more broken down and easy to read/follow, try VOX
4. Determine how the future might look like:
Try to look for trends from political analysts or such characters that might tell you what could happen in the future and recommendations on how to tackle a situation.
Think tanks, like RAND are a good place to look. Editorials in newspapers as well.
Some sites are pretty biased towards a point of view. Ergo, try to look at as many different point of views as you can.
Of Country:
1. Basic Information:
Country Profile (next slide).
You need a basic rundown of your
country’s history
Other problems your country has.
SA/C: Specialized Agencies/Security Council
Where to look:
CIA Factbook, Countryreports.org, The Human Rights watch, type in Google: “Yahoo News Full Coverage [your country]”
1. Primary Sources
try to get your information from them (i.e country’s government website, the page of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or speeches by leaders). Through these try to find out about
policies, programs
specific past actions
. If you find any laws, print them out.
2. Can't find any information there?
Don't despair. It probably means that your country is not so well known (something which is, in itself, a huge advantage). Try secondary sources like
think tanks
like "The Economist". Having to look at secondary sources means that you can be a bit
more flexible
in your
3. Worst case scenario.
You can’t find anything. Anywhere. First thing you need to do: determine your
country’s interests
. See if it
needs protection from others, or if it relies heavily on trade with another natio
n. Then, look
at the policy
of that

Your own country might adopt it to show loyalty.

When you propose something, you have to have a way of making it possible. That's through funding. Try this website:


Further research:

Media (e.g newspapers)
San Silvestre School
What makes a good oratory?
Stage control (connection with audience)
Argumentative Prowess (ideas have to be right and make your opposition seem wrong)
Repetition (rule of 3 can be used)
Appeal to emotion/ego
Rhetorical questions
Story telling
Literary devices (use with caution)
Bloc Building
Before Unmod.
Send notes to delegates who:
seem to have a good grasp on the topic
and who have similar ideas to yours.
Ask them to meet you in the first unmoderated caucus.
Define your bloc
Give your group an IDENTITY.
During the first unmod, decide which will be your main solution (specify on one sub-issue) or solutions.
Choose a specific name for your bloc and resolution so that everyone in the committee knows your aims and who you are.
Define individuals
Remember who gave you every idea.
When talking about them, give the credit that they deserve (mention their country).
Allies are critical for MUN, you cannot come up with everything you need on your own.
Basic Supplies Needed
Multiple pens and a highlighter
A flash drive/USB
Somewhere to write (notebook, block paper,
recycled paper
Everything talked about in the preparation section
Laptop and laptop charger
If wearing tights/pantyhose, take a backup
Full transcript