Introduction to Model United Nations

It is a scheme, where middle school, high school, and college students play the role of delegates representing different countries of the UN and simulate UN committees. Each committee deals with a matter/situation concerning that committee.

The objective of each committee is to give a resolution, a document stating the committee’s stance on the matter/situation. This resolution is the outcome of a rigorous discussion done by the representatives (delegates) of the different countries. The respective delegates give their countries position on the matter and offer solutions.

MUNs are usually organized by a school or college MUN club. 

Structure 

There are many committees in an MUN, just like in the UN. All the committees have a basic structure.

The structure is as follows:

There is a 3 person  body called the dais-a rapporteur, a chair, a director.

  • Rapporteur: Is responsible for roll calls, keeping speakers list and counting during voting procedure
  • Chair: Is responsible for handing or taking away the delegate’s right to speak, keeping a track on the speakers time and maintaining the procedural integrity of the proceedings
  • Director: Is responsible for checking the working papers and helping in drafting resolutions, checking the quality of content and its credibility. Director also mentors the chair and the rapporteur.
  • Delegates may choose special delegates who are responsible to pass notes between them

General terms used

1.Motion:  a specific action made by delegates to direct debate in a certain direction.

2.Moderated Caucus: A debate format that allows delegates to make short comments on a specific sub-issue.In order to move into a moderated caucus, the motion must include the overall speaking time, the time per speaker, and the sub-issue to be discussed.

3. Unmoderated Caucus: a debate format in which delegates can leave their seats to go and talk to others freely and informally. This is usually when delegates find allies and work on draft resolutions. 

4.Blocs: different groups that have similar ideas and opinions about the topics. Delegates can choose to build their own blocs in Model UN. These blocs will typically work together to create a draft resolution.

5.Working paper: Working papers are just a list of ideas formed by the blocs. They may or may not be written in resolution format. The working paper needs to be approved by the chairs.

6.Draft Resolution: A document written in resolution format, approved by the chairs, and introduced to committee but not yet voted upon is called a draft resolution. Once a draft resolution is passed by a committee, then it becomes a Resolution.

7.Point of Inquiry: used when a delegate has a question about something that is not clearly understood in committee. Use this to ask a question if you don’t understand a term or get what’s going on in committee.

8.Point of Personal Privilege: used when a delegate experiences personal discomfort that hinders their ability to participate in committee. Examples: temperature of room, distractions during committee, can’t hear another delegate, etc.

9. Point of Order/Point of Parliamentary Procedure: used when a delegate believes that there was a mistake made regarding the rules of procedure.

Flow of the session

  • Session begins with director/ rapporteur taking roll calls
  • Delegates may state whether they are present or present and voting(if this, then they cannot abstain from substantial matters)
  • Then, one delegate will motion to set the agenda order- other delegates may either vote in favour or oppose
  • A big list is established for new topics, member states submit their names to the rapporteur who compiles them into a list and puts up the list for everyone to see
  • Director hands the right to speak in order of the speakers list
  • If a country motions caucus and the director approves it, then it’s voted upon, if majority then passes
  • This calls for a non moderated caucus, delegates are allowed to move freely, they make talk to one another for negotiations, once the motion time elapses, the formal session begins again.
  • If working papers are produced, they are then sent to the director, director checks them for style and grammar.
  • Director may send it back for changes or approve of it, if approved sent to other delegates as working paper 1.1.
  • After this the general speaker’s list is continued, unless a country sets a motion, if majority agrees, motion passes.
  • The motional ends with a passage of the draft resolution

Code of conduct

  • Adhere to the dress code and display national symbols, else maybe be removed by the director
  • Speak in english, speaking in any other language is considered offensive
  • Do not interrupt the speaker with a speech, motion or a point when they are on the floor
  • Do not enter or leave during a voting procedure, unless a medical emergency
  • No Disrespectful behaviour- insulting or fighting with other delegates is extremely undiplomatic, this also applies in the letters to the dais
  • Address other delegates as “Delegate of India…”, and not their name
  • Don’t put allegations without proofs, make sure your source is reliable and accepted in UN
  • Don’t violate the committee powers

— Aditi Poddar (TYBBA G004)

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