Model UN

Political Science

As a participant in a Model UN conference, you will be a representative of a country in the General Assembly of the United Nations. You don't need to give a "presentation" about your country, but you will need to be familiar with the country and it's people, and know the basics about your countries positions on the Conference topics. Also, you should a have a pretty solid idea about what the topics are and who they affect. In order to represent your country accurately, you should expect to do 4 to 6 hours of research ahead of the conference. More research will give you an advantage, but it is possible to do very well without huge amounts of data. Many people organize data in three-ring binders and bring it to the conference.

In Model U.N., students step into the shoes of ambassadors from U.N. member states to debate current issues on the organization's vast agenda. Student "delegates" in Model U.N. prepare draft resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the U.N.'s rules of procedures - all in the interest of mobilizing "international cooperation" to resolve problems that affect almost every country on Earth.


The president of the assembly will lead the conference according to the Rules of Procedure of the UN. Don't be intimidated by the rules; this is a learning conference, and the president of the assembly will take the time to explain what is happening and help you make the right motions and points. He or she will be assisted by two or three co-chairs, who will help count votes and may take turns leading the group. This group will sit in front at the dais.

At the conference, the first order of business will be choosing which of the two topics will be discussed first. The delegates will choose by voting, then the assembly will move into discussion of the first topic. Discussion will start with a speakers list. Delegates may be added to the list to give short (probably about 2 minutes) speeches, talking about their country's position on the topic under discussion. In the time between each speech the chair will ask for motion or points, and it will not belong before someone asks for a caucus. A caucus is a set period of time during which the meeting stops, and the delegates talk informally to each other, learning about each other's positions, and building alliances. As the conference continues, the caucus times will become longer, and people will be using them to draft resolutions and try to achieve consensus. Don't be afraid of caucus time! It is during caucus that most of the actual work of the conference gets done.

…students step into the shoes of ambassadors from U.N. member states to debate current issues on the organization's vast agenda.

As delegates find their allies and begin building consensus, they will pass around "working papers." Generally, working papers start as lists of ideas about what to include in a resolution, then develop into the form of actual resolutions, using the formatting of a resolution. When a working paper has enough signatures, it can be submitted to the dais, and one of the CO-chairs will check the formatting and wording of the resolution. If it is approved, it will become a "draft resolution." One copy will be printed for each delegate, and it can then be brought to the floor for discussion, amendment, and voting. If a draft resolution passes, it finally becomes a Resolution of the General Assembly.

This page has extensive information, compiled by The United Nations Association, about how to prepare for a Model UN conference. It includes sections about doing research, resolution writing, speech making, and the rules of procedure.

Resources to prepare for the conference:

Model United Nations [UN]
How to Research
Resolution Writing
Speech Making
Model United Nations Procedure
Web Resources

Model UN Advisor: Dr. Albert Celoza

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