A DELEGATE’S GUIDE TO MODEL UNITED NATIONS
(1) How to be a diplomat
To recreate the reality of the United Nations, diplomacy is essential. You should aim to:
- write conciliatory rather than condemnatory resolutions
- be aware of the will of your committee/commission
- achieve consensus for decision making
- emphasise negotiation rather than confrontation
- address the issue defining its terms
- never indulge in meaningless rhetoric
- never sacrifice your country’s interests to serve private motives
(2) Know the policies of your Country
- Research your topic through newspapers, UN Publications etc.
- Be aware of countries which might hold similar views.
- Be aware of potential opposition – and gather information to counter potentially controversial/emotive points.
- Be strong on your own individual decision making while at the same time emphasise consensus building.
You will gain the respect of your fellow delegates. The more you speak, the more you will enjoy MUN.
As well as being one of the most interesting and enjoyable parts of MUN, it is perhaps
the KEY factor in making an impact and an impression upon other delegates.
- Have copies of your resolutions/amendments for everyone and emphasise the key points. Be prepared to merge with other delegates.
- Be strong – but flexible – co-operate and compromise.
- Attend all meetings – call meetings.
- Never be arrogant or condescending. Always courteous.
- Always take an active interest in other delegates’ resolutions and offer suggestions/amendments.
- Be strong and insist on speaking.
(4) Opening Speeches
Opening speeches are an extremely important part of any delegation’s contribution to MUN and, as such, must reflect the country’s policies and stance on the various issues before the conference, or other issues of importance to that country. It is completely unacceptable to show disrespect for one’s own country, either through a weak, badly-researched speech which does not take the country seriously, or through a speech that has nothing whatsoever to do with the country in question. There are absolutely no circumstances in which coarse language, innuendo or obscene language or inferences are acceptable.
In the event of an opening speech being considered inappropriate, any or all of the following sanctions may be imposed, depending on the circumstance involved:
(a) the delegate, or delegation, may be suspended for the remainder of that day, or the following day and the delegate, or delegation, will be excluded from any consideration for any individual or team awards at the conference;
(b) The delegate, or delegation, may be expelled from the conference entirely.
- It is a great honour and privilege, when you take the stage in the Main General Assembly Hall.
- Your speech must be perfectly timed – not cut off before you finish.
- Don’t try to get too much into your opening speech.
- Be relevant – be serious – never obscene.
(5) Committee and General Assembly
If you have lobbied well you will already have support within the committee.
- Always be courteous to the Chairperson – Mr / Madam Chair.
- Always be courteous to fellow delegates – “the honourable delegate from….”
- Don’t complain about not being recognised etc.
- Be patient. Don’t rush your speech.
- Always seem interested in the points / questions asked.
- Even praise the delegate asking a question even if critical of you. “The honourable delegate from Japan has made a good point, but …..”
- Learn from other good speakers.
- Don’t annoy the Chair by dilatory points.
- If you are not going to speak for a resolution, read it carefully and plan questions. Organise opposition to it (if necessary) and have your speech ready.
(6) Rights of Reply during Open Speeches
Try to make as many Rights of Reply as possible.
(7) Writing a Resolution
A useful guide for first time delegates is available here