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Things You Ought to Know before Joining a Model UN

Things to Know before Joining a Model UN
Model United Nations is a great way for high school students to get involved in government and politics. Excelling at your next Model UN conference will take preparation, and with this information, you'll be ready to stun your competition!
EduZenith Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Model United Nations is an extracurricular club for high school and college students. This club does exactly what its name implies: it allows students to model the operations of the United Nations. Through mock conferences held with schools from around the region each year, this international organization is able to expose students to government and politics on a global level. Student delegates pretend being ambassadors from UN member states and make speeches, prepare resolutions, negotiate with allies, debate global matters and resolve disputes that affect countries all over the world.

Model UN is a highly rewarding experience. Though it may be trivialized by some as a school club, it's an eye-opening organization that exposes students to government and politics on a global scale. It is a fun, challenging, and rewarding club for high school and college students. Each conference that you attend will test your abilities in new ways and teach you new things about both yourself and the world. Prepping for a Model UN conference can be a bit overwhelming, just given the amount of research that such a task requires. To keep yourself organized and to help you tackle this task with confidence, given below are some tips to assist you in preparing for your next meet.
Why Join a Model UN Conference?
If you're a high school or college student, you're probably looking for extracurricular activities to use on your college application or resume. This is certainly the leading reason why students take part in any extracurricular activities instead of simply hanging out with friends during their free time. And this is certainly a good reason to join Model UN. Your Model UN experience will help build public speaking skills, debating and negotiation skills, writing skills, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership, along with helping you abide by parliamentary procedures by working on your own and with your team. This will also help you get into top colleges and find good jobs. With each conference comes a new set of challenges and a new way to define yourself as both a leader and a team player.
What Can Students Expect?
The Model UN experience that you get depends fully upon your involvement in your club. This is, to be certain, an extracurricular activity that will require a great deal of your time, particularly leading up to conferences. You can determine your own commitment by either joining or not joining the club's leadership team, by taking on larger responsibilities in terms of preparing for conferences, and by teaching new members how to prepare for conferences.

In terms of the actual process that your Model UN team will follow, it'll cover these basics:
#1. At the beginning of the year, you'll be told which conferences the team will be attending. Also, the team may brush up on research, debate, and parliamentary procedures through mock meetings.

#2. When you receive your country assignments for each competition, your team will divide into smaller country teams, depending upon how many people are there in the club. You will be researching the topics given, and start to build your position from the perspective of your assigned country.

#3. Your team will travel to competitions, and you'll have the time of your life, meeting new people and learning more about the world.

Like your involvement, your level of expectations will have an impact on how much you get out of the club. This should be a fun and challenging experience. You'll make new friends, learn a great deal about the world and improve your research, negotiation, public speaking, and other skills tremendously. Most importantly though, you can expect to understand people of the world with a bit more compassion and empathy, as you'll explore human rights and other key issues that face the globe today.
Preparing for a Model UN Conference
Choose a Country You Are Interested In
When you compete on a Model UN team, you'll be assigned a country. You are to represent this country during a mock committee meeting as if you were that country's delegate. It goes without saying then, that to excel in this task you'll need to know the ins and outs of that country's political and governmental history, traditions, and attitudes. Choosing a country that you aren't really interested in will make this task tedious. Instead, pick a country that you will enjoy learning about, perhaps one that you've visited or would like to visit in the future.
Choose a Committee You Are Interested In
Just as you're assigned a country, you'll be assigned a committee within that country's team. Committees are doled out in different ways, and how you're assigned to your committee will depend upon your club leaders' preferences. In most cases though, you will have a say in which committee you sit on. Here, it's important to choose one that interests you. Each committee will be given a scenario that it will act out, and a problem that it needs to solve. You'll know the purpose or theme of each committee in advance, so put in for one that you'll enjoy!
Set Goals for Your Research
Research is the most daunting part of the preparation process, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming! Researching will help you have a grasp on the information about the country you are representing and its position on the issues that are being discussed, and understand the UN body that your committee is representing. Focus on current affairs and issues that are being discussed in the United Nations, which include political, financial and/or social concerns. Set milestones for your research so that you can accumulate the information you need over time. Most clubs will assist you in researching your country and topic, so try to make the most of the resources that you're provided.

It's also a good idea to set goals with team members. Researching together will allow you to help one another, and to keep the research process from becoming too boring or tedious. Remember, this is an extracurricular that's meant to build your debate, negotiation, and public speaking skills as well as your ability to work as part of a team.

Many conferences will need a position paper to make sure that delegates have researched their country well. A position paper is a document which provides a summary of the position your country plans to take in the committee and the knowledge that you have about the topic. It should contain your country's relation to the topic of conversation and its suggestions for how to resolve the issues discussed.

Resolutions are important in order to encourage debate and bring up solutions to problems that are being discussed. They provide the steps that can be taken to resolve disputes. Writing resolutions can be difficult; they must appeal to a large group of people with varying opinions and concerns.
Bring Your Research with You
While you can prepare for the topic you're assigned, there's no way to predict how the conversation will go once you get to the conference. While you may think that the subject will lead in one direction, it's quite possible that a delegate from another country may steer it elsewhere. For this reason, save your research on a USB drive or print it out (depending upon the regulations regarding computer use within the committee chambers). This will allow you to refer to facts that you may not realize you should study. Also, it'll allow you to check your statements before giving your speeches, helping you to be confident in your presentations and to solidify your stance as a leader within the room.
Develop Your Public Speaking Skills
Speaking is the most essential part of any Model UN simulation. Many delegates fear speaking in front of a broad range of members due to lack of confidence. In order to deal with this, it is best to be well-prepared with your topic. You should research as much as possible about your country and the topic the committee will be debating. You should be in a position to explain your country's position and have ideas on what you would like to do about your country's problems. Coming to the conference well prepared will enable you to speak in the conference with eagerness and confidence.

See what makes you feel comfortable delivering your speech. You may use your position paper text as your opening speech or you may note down a few key points. You may also feel comfortable speaking without any written notes. Practice your speech well in front of a teacher, parent, or a Model UN companion from your class or club to perfect your public speaking skills. When someone judges your speech, accept the feedback and use it as a tool to improve your speaking. Also, remember that you must captivate and connect with your audience and make them want to listen to more. Take a brief look at your notes rather than reading them so that you can make eye contact with the other delegates. Speaking directly is the best way to connect to your audience. Speak clearly and concisely so that your audience does not lose interest. Overall, be positive. Never criticize another point of view. Instead, critique it in a constructive way.
Dress Well
Dressing is another essential aspect of Model United Nations preparations. It is important to dress professionally and appropriately to show respect for the nation you are representing, for your fellow delegates and for the United Nations. Most Model UN conferences require Western business attire or international standard business attire.
Model UN has become a popular extracurricular activity in many areas so a lot of schools today already have Model UN clubs in full swing. All you have to do is join at the beginning of the school year. But this doesn't mean that every school is already part of the larger Model UN community. If you're interested in creating this club at your school, you need to follow your school's procedures for starting a club (i.e., securing a teacher adviser). Once you're official with your school's administration, you can go ahead and start applying for spots and conferences and building membership! Model UN is a fun, challenging and exciting club. You can only understand and improve in Model UN with experience. Without the right preparation it can certainly be overwhelming, but by following these tips you can successfully prep for your conference!