JMUN is a teaching conference suited for beginners to MUN. However, we found, over the years, that you as delegates will reap more from the conference and have more fun if you arrive to the conference having prepared for it.
MUN is essentially role-play. You will play the role of a diplomat from your country, i.e., if you are representing Russia, you are a Russian diplomat in your committee. You work with the other delegates in your committee to find a solution to the issue (which is called a resolution and is made up of clauses), but one that represents and supports the Russian viewpoint and interests.
You work in committees with other delegates (diplomats from other countries) and discuss and find solutions for two issues. Each committee is led by one or more chairs who are presidents of the committee and who moderate the discussion and control what happens in the committee.
Committees are moderated in a special format and the delegates use special MUN language when they are addressing their committees for which you will receive training on the first day of the conference.
If you can, please practice these basic rules before you come to the conference:
In a committee, you never say “I.” You always say “we.” We, the delegation of Russia, believe that ……………
A delegate can get up to make a speech. When the speech is over, the chair asks if the delegate is open to “points of information.” This essentially means “is the delegate open to questions from other delegates?”. As the delegate who has just given a speech, you can limit yourself to a certain number of questions, i.e., one point of information. The common answer; however, is to say “any and all” if you are comfortable answering them. The chair then asks the committee if there are any points (questions) in the house (meaning the room) and calls on delegates who have raised their placards (name tag of your delegation). The delegate has to phrase his point in the form of a question, using parliamentary language, i.e. is the delegate aware that Russia ……….? You never say “are you aware?”.
Please read the MUN procedures detailed in our handbook which will soon be available on our website. You will get better in following the correct procedure with time and practice. Don’t be overwhelmed or discouraged, it is actually easier than it looks.
Documents to be Prepared Prior to the Conference
A POLICY STATEMENT PER ISSUE IN YOUR COMMITTEE: Since each of you has two issues in your committee, you need to prepare two policy statements. You may read your policy statements in your committee. Policy statements will also help you formulate a resolution to the issue at hand.
THREE CLAUSES PER ISSUE IN YOUR COMMITTEE. A clause suggests a solution to the issue and must reflect your country’s position on the issue.
Please follow the steps below to help you prepare your documents.
Understand your role. As basic as this sounds, know which country you are representing in which committee, i.e., you are the delegate for Turkey in the Political Committee.
Conduct basic research on your country. Search in the CIA World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html), find out the answers to the following as they pertain to your country:
– Type of government (e.g., democracy, monarchy)
– Is the country part of a bloc, trade organization or economic organization (EU, ASEAN, Arab League, BRICS, etc.)
– Geography (land type, coastline or landlocked)
– Are there indigenous people living in the country? What percentage of the population do they make up?
– Major ethnic groups
– Natural resources
– Poverty rate, is it a MEDC (most economically developed country) or LEDC (least economically developed country)
– Major imports (to which countries?)
– Major exports (to which countries?)
– Past involvement in wars, disputes, civil wars
– Military power
– Basic recent history (major events in the last year?)
Other good sites to use:
Understand the Issues. Read the Research Report for each issue in your committee, which can be found at the “Downloads” page. Make sure you have understood the issues really well. Next, fill out the questionnaire that can be found on the downloads page based on what you have learned (leaving blank the first two questions). You will provide answers for the first two questions after you have found out your country’s position on the issue. You do not have to do this before the conference, since you will do it during your committee work, but you are welcome to take a look at the questionnaires to understand the issue better.
Find out your country’s stance/position with respect to the issue. Researching this part may be tricky and your methods will vary with the issue/country at hand. Here are the steps we follow at our MUN club.
Find the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This typically contains the foreign policy objectives of the country as well as speeches given by politicians and diplomats. Read all such speeches. It’ll give you a flavor for what issues are important to your country. For example, if you are representing the USA, you would use http://www.state.gov/.
Some countries/issues will require a nuanced approach. Suppose you are representing Haiti in a committee that will have as its issue air pollution. It is unlikely that Haiti will have a written foreign policy on air pollution. You have to be smart and creative. First, figure out if and to what extent Haiti is affected by air pollution. Second, research if there is a law or regulation that governs air pollution in Haiti. If you find it, it will contain Haiti’s policy on the issue. If you find nothing, you can estimate the policy or come up with a solution of your own.
Other Good Websites
Research in CIA factbook, http://www.globalpolicy.org/; http://www.globalissues.org/ or http://www.foreignpolicy.com. It is hit or miss with these websites. If you find your issue/country here, it is usually quite comprehensive.
If you can’t find anything using these methods, I find that even basic google searches turn up relevant documents, i.e., google “Russia and child labor”.
If everything fails, estimate your country’s policy based on what you have learned.
What is a Policy Statement
Once you’ve understood the issue and found your country’s position with respect thereto, you are ready to write your policy statement. There is a discussion of policy statements in our conference booklet which you find on our website.
A policy statement should ideally have 4 parts:
a short summary of recent international action related to the question (i.e., UN resolutions) or your country’s experience with the issue (if relevant)
reference to key documents relating to the issue (any international agreement or treaty signed) (if relevant)
a general statement of the country’s policy on the issue
specific suggestions for a solution to the question, which may provide ideas for the operative clauses the resolution.
Sample Policy Statement
Forum: Disarmament Commission
Issue: Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction
Brazil fervently supports measures to support the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs in its attempts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as it firmly believes such efforts are necessary to combat the global threat of terrorism.
Brazil endorses the Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit, adopted 13 September 2005, which condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and strives to set up an international system that strictly monitors the transfer of materials that may be used to produce WMD. Brazil, one of the driving forces behind the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco, which turned Latin America into the world’s first nuclear-free zone, applauds the recent efforts made by the Members of the United Nations to free the world of any type of WMD.
We feel especially responsible as our nation commands huge uranium resources. We view with satisfaction the recent efforts of Member States to prevent the use of WMD by terrorists. However, Brazil expresses its deepest regret that, in spite of recent efforts to combat the acquisition of WMD by terrorist groups, some countries have refused to abide by the will of the international community. It is our deepest interest to ensure a world untroubled by the transfer of WMD and materials that can be used in the production of any such weapons.
Source: THIMUN Foundation, Basic Guidelines for New Delegates
– Go online to www.hisarjmun.org/conference/agenda to find the issues of your committee.