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The three most frequent asked questions are:
When should MUN study guides be published/released?
How long should a study guide be?
- What should be included in a study Guide?
- How to make it interesting?
1. There are usually three different dates to hand a study guide. Those committees that have a generic topic and will not change from the time it is released to when the conference start, they should usually be released about a month before the conference starts. Examples of such topics are human and drug trafficking, UN reform, climate change and etc, for these topic do not change much in a month time.
Committees that have a topic that constantly changes should usually release it two weeks before the conference starts, in order to give enough time to study, write a position paper, and submit it to the chairs while having the most recent information. It is also possible that the chairs submit a one page long update maybe three days before the conference in case the situation changes. Examples of topics that change fast are those regarding specific wars and conflicts.
Committees that are simulating crisis committees, including JCCs and Interconnectivities, should release it a week before the conference, as these committees are for experienced delegates who can prepare for a committee days before it starts, additionally short time to prepare for crisis builds up the stress for the committee, after all it is a crisis. Think about it, real leaders also have a short time to react to crises.
Of course, these lengths are without counting the sources, which the conference should cite them and recommend additional informational links.
There are usually two types of study guides; the standard and normal guides and the alternative ones.
Standard Study Guides:
The normal and standard guide usually consist of these information sections:
Committee Background: This section should consist of important information about the committee in case the delegates do not know it properly. Important information would be who is represented in the committee, how many countries/people are there, what is the history behind it, how it works, voting rules (vetos?), and etc.
- Topic Background: This section should give the historical background of the topic, as in what has happened, why the situation is so, and why it is important to be addressed.
- Previous Resolutions/treaties: This is important to make sure that the committee will not pass a resolution that already exists. This part should add all previous resolutions/treaties passed in the UN or other organization/bodies.
- Country positions (optional): The positions of all countries involved in the issue or are important to know. Should not be long, just a brief summary so all delegates know a bit more (the positions can also include countries and people who are not represented in the committee).
- Sources and recommended outside information: This is important, the more information the delegate has that other do not know, the better the change that they can get an award at the end.
Alternative ideas for a Study Guide:
These are some really effective ideas for a study guide may attract the attention of delegates:
- Youtube video links: Young people can effectively absorb more information and faster through youtube videos. Therefore, the chairs can add youtube links regarding the topic throughout the study guide to help better understand the topic. These can come from documentaries, new channels, discussion tables, cartoons and etc. Everything is ball, as long as it is relevant.
- Video Study Guide: If there is a way to create a video instead of writing a document (or both, which is better), facilitates the life of the delegates and attracts many others. Plus, it makes your conference very attractive to a lot of potential delegates and more prestigious among all conferences. Watch an example here below from a conference using the intereconnectivity system. Warning: Creating a movie is hard and an expert and a budget might be necessary.
- Chairs creating a video: An idea is for the chairs to create a small and simple introduction video, with him/her reading points and explaining the topic in an informal manner. Here is a channel that gives a good idea of how it would look like.
- Conference call: Chairs can also offer a conference call with the delegates to answer questions and introduce the topic.