With Model UN experiences ranging from California to Canada to the Netherlands, I've witnessed and lived through some of the best (and worst) conferences imaginable.
However, in my opinion, the best conference for me was Haarlem MUN in the Netherlands: I served as the Vice President for the Peacebuilding Commission with an amazing Turkish co-chair.
What made this a spectacular experience was the staff's operation as a whole: the Chairs followed the acronym: Compassionate, Helpful, Aware, Impactful, will know Rules of Procedure... C.H.A.I.R!
Compassionate. First and foremost, the chairs were compassionate and concerned with the issues at hand! An empathetic chair has the best interest of the global community in mind, and cares which direction debate goes. They make sure delegates use their time at the conference to create solutions to promote the mission of the UN, “ “.
Helpful. At this conference, the chairs were helpful and encouraging to both new and advanced delegates! They answered questions, made clarifications, and made committee run smoothly and comfortably. The best chairs will look for nervous/unexperienced delegates and by the end of the conference will have left them with a new sense of confidence and accomplishment.
Awareness. Having a well-researched knowledge of the topics and the committee’s jurisdiction is what takes a chair from good to great. Knowing the in’s and out’s of the topic, what solutions tend to work and what don’t, and knowing what actions delegates are legally allowed to take in the specific committee makes the experience more realistic- and therefore, more fun!
Impactful. The chairs created a better conference experience for not just delegates… but for other chairs, staff members, faculty advisors, etc.! With a smile and a positive attitude, they assisted others when available and generally impacted the conference’s atmosphere in a great way. A great chair will encourage delegates to use lunch and break times to meet new people and make new friends. And, they themselves will leave with a plethora of new international friends!
Rules of Procedure. The chairs were able to find a happy medium between following Rules of Procedure and loosening things up. They took things seriously and made sure the rules allowed everybody to speak and be heard, and will make sure delegates are in the know about how many signatories they need, whether they need simple majority or 2/3rds, etc. But, they also allowed for delegates to make friends and be relaxed when it’s appropriate.
(I'm on the right, with two Dutch chairs on my left.)
(Me on the left with my Turkish co-chair on the right, enjoying Turkish pizzas from the Haarlem street market.)
Chairing is one of the most rewarding experiences, and my experience in Haarlem showed me how amazing chairs can contribute to an amazing conference experience overall. By taking the time and effort to be a great chair, it improves the experience for everybody involved.
And now, I invited you to join me at TGIMUNC in New Delhi, India this summer, where I will be the Vice Director of the Arab League! Visit tgimunc.com/apply/ to get involved!