Welcome to the delegate guide! Here you will be able to get an insight to being a delegate; such as rules of procedure, writing a position paper and resolution. To get more training come to some our conference based sessions or feel free to ask for some training by our experienced committee members.
What is a delegate?
In a typical committee, a delegate can be a representative of a nation, company, NGO or any other group which has a diplomatic voice in a committee. An example of a committee could be the Security Council or an international environment summit. Most committees operate the same with a slight difference with the Security Council and a major difference with crisis, but we will explain those two a bit later.
It is the delegates role to study their country’s or group’s position before the conference through the use of the resources given and any other resources. They will then use this information to debate their position against another country or group. The end goal of a committee is to come to a resolution (through creating a document with the same name) on the topic, which also reflects your country’s position on the issue. The delegate should use a wide variety of skills to develop a solution in the perspective of the nation or group they representing – or even tactically halt solutions from opposing nations or group.
Now that you have an introduction to what a delegate is we can take the first steps: finding and researching your country’s position to then create a position paper.
Researching your country
With good preparation you will enter a committee with greater chances of success for the country you represent. The research you do prior to the conference will allow to understand your country/group such as the way it operates internally and its position externally both current and historically. With that, it is suggested that you research the following about your country:
- History. Examples include: wars the country participated in, any vital resolutions the country previously took part in and internal demographic changes.
- System of governance. Such as: who is in charge, what are the policies, how does the political system work i.e. monarchy.
- Its economy. For example: poor/rich economy, what does its economy mainly rely on, membership in any economic groups such as the IMF or the WTO.
- Its external relationships. This will mainly be: who are its allies in the region and further away, who are its opponents (political or military), what treaties is it subject to and most importantly its views in the world around it.
- The social situation. This could include: the economic level of the population, the equality among the population and the beliefs/ideologies of the population.
Make sure that you research what is also related to the topic, knowing that the country produces 5 million tonnes of grain a year may not be useful for a topic on drone discussion. Good sources to start you off include:
- CIA world Factbook to give you a start on an overview
- Wikipedia (do not quote this as a source directly in any of your work though, use the sources in the articles instead)
- Past UN resolutions related to your committee and topic
- The UN websites themselves
- Military Firepower (likely more useful for crisis)
- Your own country’s governmental website or even contacting one of your diplomats/representatives
This list is not limited to these and there are more which can be used depending on the topic and committee.
On top of general research you may also be expected to produce a position paper which is there so other delegates can read a brief introduction to your country’s position on the topics. There can often be rewards for the best position paper so if you want a chance at winning an award outside of debate this is a good opportunity. You can use other country’s position papers to know more about them quickly and use them to your advantage to manoeuvre around them in a debate.
A position paper will present the country’s national view on each. This should be used to show your stance on the issue to other countries. It is generally a page per topic and includes three/four paragraphs, each paragraph with a specific aim. The paragraphs will generally follow this structure: one about the background of the topic in general, one about what your country has had to do with the topic in the past, and one about possible solutions to the problem. The final paragraph usually involves suggestions on how to solve the topic in line with the country’s perspective as well as proposing options to bring other countries together. Try to refer to sources, especially past UN resolutions. View below an example of a good position paper and an example of a bad study guide.
There must be rules right?
Yes, there are rules. If you want to see an example of the rules of procedure during a conference please have a look at our very own here.
Every conference will generally have similar rules of procedure, especially in the United Kingdom. Be sure however to always check the rules of procedure of the conference you are going to to make sure you aware of any differences to our rules. To avoid repeating the rules here completely we have written down some key points to keep in mind while debating (the best way to learn the rules is to study, but then practice it).
As part of this guide is a flowchart to help show the rules in terms of timing during the committee so you know when to use motions and which motions will be given priority. If it your first time in a conference then keeping this flowchart handy and referring to it may be handy.
It is important to know your points and motions. A Point concerns procedure, whilst a Motion is there to influence the course or progress of the debate. You should remember that an unmoderated caucus will mean you are free to walk around and discuss the topic as a whole or any other issue with your colleagues. It is in an unmoderated caucus where you may start to work on a resolution or work on refining one, it is also where you have the opportunity to pick up some extra supporters to your group (also known as blocs).
Be careful how you use a Right of Reply, know when you can use one, or else it will backfire. Only if your national honour or integrity has been attacked by another delegate. You cannot use it for any reason apart from to defend yourself from this.
Note that a working paper does not need to be in the format of a resolution and can be anything that may be useful to a debate such as a video or a previous resolution.
Remember that if ever you are unsure, you can always use a Point of Parliamentary Enquiry to clear up an understanding with your chair. They will be more than happy to help you.
You can also use a Point of Personal Privileged if you are in any discomfort or need assistance with something in the room, generally this could involve asking for the screen font to be enlarged or have a window opened.
You may notice a small section or paragraph explaining the rules in Security Council. The main difference to take note about security council are the voting rights of the countries. The P5 may veto a resolution (P5 being: France, United Kingdom, Russia, People’s Republic of China and the United States of America). If a resolution collects at least one veto from one of these P5 then the resolution will fail to pass. In any other country, all members have equal voting rights unless stated otherwise – this could be the case for observer states added to the committee.
During a committee you may the use of a software called WxMUN which the chair will use to manage the committee, this helps you too as it will show the time you have to speak, the topic of the debate/caucus’ and also show you the list of countries on the speakers list. You can use this to your advantage such as having it as your own time keeping, reminders and use to plan any more tactical moves in the future.
Crisis on the other hand will have very different rules, sometimes seemingly no rules. The format of crisis will also very drastically depending on the conference and scenario of the crisis. If you want to see more about crisis scroll further down to see the crisis section.
Study guides and What they look like?
You can can have a look at NottsMUN’s study guides to see examples of study guides. Follow the link here.
You can also have a look at study guides from other conferences such as LIMUN or ManMUN.
A study guide is your first port of call and includes all the needed information to get a basic understanding of the topic and any positions which your country may hold. Study guides will contain clues on what the chair wants you as delegates to tackle. Read carefully and note down what is written in the section listing what a resolution should address. Reading further and you can notice suggested block positions, use these to gain an idea on what kind of arguments you may be up against and which groups/countries you will find friendly to your own cause. Finally, making reference to the study guide during debate is handy and shows you have read it carefully. A study guide usually contains links to past resolutions, use these and other sources the guide (a study guide also has a further reading list) has to your advantage to steer the discussion in your favour.
Awards are granted by the committee chairs and will be given to those delegates that excel in terms of research and preparation as well as oratory, debating and diplomacy skills. There are usually three classes (or tiers) of awards: Best Delegate, Distinguished Delegate and Honourable Mention. If the committee is a smaller committee such as crisis cabinets, International Court of Justices or Security Councils then the amount of awards will be two. The awards will are given at the Closing Ceremony of a conference. There may also be an award for position papers. Below you can see a lovely example of what you may be awarded.
Winning an award is no easy feat however. Practice makes perfect, so we suggest to take part in some conferences and other activities which will improve your debating and negotiating skills – such as debate society or public speaking.
With that, we will give you a few tips on how to improve your debating, diplomatic, public speaking and negotiating skills. As mentioned above, the best way to improve is practice and also to find your own style and method if needed.
insert image: List of components to consider for public speaking
At one of our previous public speaking workshops
There are various aspects to public speaking which won’t be mastered just by reading this. But we can give you some pointers.
Walking out on a stage or in front of a large group of people can make you feel very nervous. It can take you over and ruin your entire speech. One of the best ways to counter this is to give yourself time when on the stage, you do not have to speak straight away, settle in first and get used to the environment. Take some deep breaths before starting as well. Of course when there is a time limit such as in MUNs, taking your time will not be as easy. It will take practice to get into the habit of going straight into a good speech.
When speaking, make eye contact to each of the others you are aiming at. Sometimes panning and scanning (moving your head across the room with your eyesight onto the people) won’t be as effective as direct eye contactas it doesn’t capture the listeners as well. It makes you connect and feel with the audience a lot better. However, do not give too much mind to those who are not on your side or who disagree with you, fortify your relationship with your supporters and connect with those who you are trying to persuade.
Speak at a comprehensible pace, do not be afraid to give too long pauses in your speeches. Sometimes a 3-5 second pause will allow you to think of what you need to say next. You can also turn nervousness into excitementto speeded up your speech or to make your speak more passionate and energetic. Do not let the excitement go into too much physical movement. Alter the tone of your voice while giving a speech, this can engage or keep awake the audience more.
Having an open body language is also good, it makes you more inviting and more captivating. Do not overdo the movement, some movement is good however pacing and too much repositioning will be distracting. The same goes for any other movement, some hand gesture is good and can be used to aid in explanations, but too overt will be distracting and the audience will not focus on what you are saying.
Finally, remember to say thank you when you are done.
Public speaking can be improved through different tasks or challenges. Some good ways include: practising improvising, presenting to a group of friends and slowly bringing it up to strangers, observing others speak and taking in their strong points, teaching something to someone else (varying the audience) and the list can go on. We have a couple of videos which may be helpful for you below:
There is a specific speaking style in conference, the use of personal pronouns is forbidden meaning delegates will often speak in the third person. An example would be instead of saying:
“I find this…”, say:
“The delegate of Germany finds this….”.
This kind of language will take practice to get used to.
Finally, a bit we suggest is not to panic. Taking your time while speaking will allow you to think more clearly and make yourself more understandable. Do not worry about making mistakes, it is the best way to learn.
How to craft resolutions
A resolution is usually the end goal of the committee. Voting on a resolution (or resolutions if there are more than one one on the table) will end the discussion on the topic, whether it passes or fails. Below you can download a copy of a sample resolution, it has comments which will describe the resolution.
Remember that the resolution is an opportunity for you to get what your country wants. As this comes further down the line of MUN conferences we would advice coming to some of our session where we will go through and give the opportunity to practice writing resolutions.