There is a
saying in Spanish that says “siempre hay una primera vez para todo” meaning
there is always a first time for everything. Model United Nations is one of
those experiences where, as a first timer, you are urged to prepare very well
for your position; you take your role very seriously and review every bit of
recent news on the topic you are discussing in your committee. I have seen
cases where people take things very seriously and some even get very frustrated
because they haven’t prepared well enough (Guilty!).
My first experience in MUN has nothing to do with those that followed. Last year I was in BerlinMUNs HRC with lots of first timers that felt a bit scared of those who had more experience. This always happens. With time you learn, gain experience and hopefully, become infected by the MUN virus.
Over time I have seen almost everything in different MUNs and I have been taught some Model UN unwritten rules. So my first post is dedicated to the rules (or commandments) to survive and get the best out of your experience in Model United Nations.
- You shall do research and thou shall never forget to read the study guide. Once you get a country assigned do as much research as you can and prepare your strong points. Wikipedia is never a reliable source (or is it........NO WAY!!) Get to know which countries could be your allies. Answer the questions provided in your study guide in your resolution. Debating about petty details will make sessions long, unfruitful and very frustrating.
- Being quiet ain’t fun. Speak up and defend your position. There’s always going to be delegate in your committee that has a country that has more to say than your country. Provide your country’s point of view or contribute defending the position of those similar to yours (or do the +1 commandment)
- “Work Hard, Play Hard”. MUN is not only sessions. After a long day discussing about human rights and countries nuking each other the honorable delegates need socials! International dinners, Karaoke nights and dances. Packing ibuprophen and sunglasses is highly recommended for the party animals.
- Obey the Chairs or pay the price. It is tempting to stay in bed after a night out with your new friends, arriving late to sessions or sending declarations of wars to other delegations but no crime comes without punishments. Chairs will punish you with in the most humiliating way possible. If you’re still not daunted by this warning, I’ll suggest you to practice your best dance moves and singing.
- Bring your tools and use those you are provided with. Bring a computer and I mean one that does not overheat every now and then. You’ll need it for doing some research. Do not use Facebook unless chairs allow its usage to upload documents or you might get some punishments. Other tools such as legal documents in a legal committee are very useful. Some conferences have Press committees. Write a press statement to let your committee know your position in regards to something.
- Avoid the “I” – You are not representing yourself, you are representing a country. Use the first person tense in plural or face the consequences. Might mean you’ll have to pay drinks for your chairs…
- Do not take comments from other delegates personally. Some delegates like being a bit bitchy when they defend their positions and point mistakes out or take the piss at the position you're defending, do not take them personally. They are being their country advocates; they are not attacking you, just your position.
- Get the coffees going. Socials, lack of sleep and hangovers can undermine the pace of sessions. Better get that caffeine overdose during coffee breaks if you want to make it through the day.
- Make new friends and learn their actual names. How many of you have finished the week and did not know the name of that delegate you confronted during all the week. Most of the people you’ll meet during the conference will only be remember for their country name.
- Speak the official(s) language(s). It is great to find people from your country or from a country that speaks your language in another country. However, always talk in the language so you do not exclude anyone of the discussion! That’s just rude!
- Be a Troll my friend be a Troll. Sessions can be recurring and boring. Spark the room by proposing pointless motions, making points of personal privilege, or raise points of orders. Warning, you might not be nominated for best delegate if you're too "trolley". Troll with moderation. Here, I have some examples
·Motion to praise the Great Leader if you’re the DPRK
·Using a call from the government as an excuse to go to the bathroom
·Point of order to that delegate that dared to call the PRC “The Republic of China”
·Send anonymous bombs to that country you "mildly" disagree with
One thing is for sure, it is a unique experience