MUN Term Glossary

Model UN is full of terms, acronyms, and confusing slang. We have created this (kinda) all-encompassing glossary of terms to help you understand just what people are talking about. To submit words you think should be included, email us at mun01.business@gmail.com, and we will happily review and add it. Think of this as a MUN Urban Dictionary, but less vulgar, I guess.

MUN: An acronym that stands for Model UN.

M-U-N: An acronym that stands for Model UN, but said letter by letter instead of as a whole word.

MUN01: The best MUN podcast and website on the circuit currently. Pronounced mun-oh-one.

Model UN: Model United Nations, an activity where people debate and create solutions to various issues for fun.

MUNers: People who do Model UN, also referred to as delegates.

Debate: The act of persuasive speaking, tastefully arguing for your opinions during a caucus.

Gavel: A wooden mallet used by the chair to maintain control of the room, but also given as the trophy for the individual who wins best delegate. Typically has the name of the committee on the band.

Best Delegate: Award for the best performing delegate in the committee, given by the dais and staff, decided on a variety of criteria which differ per committee and conference. Given the gavel used in the committee as a trophy, typically.

Outstanding Delegate: Award for the second best performing delegate in committee, given by the dais and staff, decided on a variety of criteria which differ per committee and conference. Given a certificate as an award, typically.

Honorable Mention: Award for the third best performing delegate in committee, given by the dais and staff, decided on a variety of criteria which differ per committee and conference. Given a certificate as an award, typically.

Verbal Commendation: Award given to delegates who did not fall within the top three performers, but the dais and staff believe deserve some recognition. Typically do not receive anything material, but rather just a mention during awards. Committees can grant several or none at all.

Position Paper Award: Award given to the delegate who submitted the best position paper, given by the dais and staff, decided on a variety of criteria which differ per committee and conference. Given a certificate as an award, typically.

Best Delegation: Award given to the best performing delegation or team at a conference. Typically decided on a weighted scale by award type and quantity of awards divided by the amount of delegates in the delegation. Can be separated into best small and best large delegations.

Outstanding Delegation: Award given to the second best performing delegation or team at a conference. Typically decided on a weighted scale by award type and quantity of awards divided by the amount of delegates in the delegation. Can be separated into outstanding small and outstanding large delegations.

Dais: The people employed by a conference to run a committee room and moderate debate. Can be made up of the chair, a vice or co-chair, a rapporteur, or other staff members.

Chair: The person employed by a conference to run a committee room. The chair is the top dias position and is the main authority in the room. Helps moderate debate, maintain parlipro, and may help craft the committee.

Vice/Co-Chair: The person employed by a conference to support the running of a committee room. Tends to act as a second in command to the chair, works to maintain parlipro, monitor delegates, time speeches, and may help with proofing and editing of papers.

Crisis Director: The person employed by a conference to run a crisis room. The director acts to create the crisis arc of committee, oversee staffers, and respond to crisis notes.

Crisis Staffer: The people employed by a conference to respond to crisis notes in a committee. Staffers work under the director but typically have some autonomy of response within the arc established. 

Rapporteur: Typically only found in GA committees, the rapporteur edits and proofreads working papers that are submitted to the dais. Often also types up written content to be displayed to the committee via projector.

Secretariat: The executive staff that runs a Model UN conference. Either elected by the club or team or appointed by the elected Secretary General that runs the conference. Oversees logistics and big picture items, as well as the actions of any staffers.

Staff: People selected by the secretariat to help run committees and the conference as a whole. Includes dias members, crisis staff, conference services, etc.

Conference Services: The staff assigned to help with executing logistics of a conference. Often distribute materials, food, and other necessary things. Also helps set up rooms and maintain conference schedule.

Opening Ceremony: The beginning gathering of the conference, before any actual committees start. Secretariat will introduce the conference, dais and staff, and typically host a key-note speaker. The secretary will declare the conference open.

Closing Ceremony: The last gathering of the conference. The secretariat will give final notes, dais and staff will announce awards for delegates, the secretariat will announce delegation awards. 

Secretary General: The head of a Model UN conference. Typically elected by their peers or teammates and may appoint the rest of secretariat. Will oversee the conference as a whole, establish the vision and goals, delegate duties, and help with staff and dias selection. Sometimes referred to as the Sec Gen.

Director General: Either appointed or elected as the second in command to the Secretary General. Directly assists the Sec Gen with all conference duties. Often tasked with establishing logistics, overseeing staff, booking locations or speakers, and other duties. Sometimes referred to as the DG.

Under-Secretary Generals: People either elected or appointed to run specific parts of a conference. Positions vary by conference, sometimes referred to as USGs. For example: USG of Crisis Committees would be in charge of overseeing all crisis committees and their staff, or a USG of Logistics would be in charge of scheduling and… shocker… logistics. 

Delegate: A person who participates in Model UN

Crisis: The outside world of a crisis committee which impacts and responds to in-room actions and crisis notes. This one is tough, see our article on crisis for a better explanation.

Crisis Arc: A plan chosen by a delegate to complete in crisis, typically to advance your in-room position. Could also be referring to the plan set up by the crisis director which structures the way they would like for the committee’s simulation to play out.

General Assembly Committee: Also called a GA, this is the classic MUN style modeled after the actual United Nations. Typically set as an actual UN body with delegates acting as countries, this style focuses on debate and resolution writing.

Crisis Committee: The new-era MUN style that is without much standard form. Functions with debate coupled with crisis, an outside world that can be impacted by sending notes and by in-room action. More fast-paced with an emphasis on debate, notes, and directive writing.

Ad-Hoc Committee: Typically a crisis style committee, however delegates do not know the topic or their position before coming into the room. This prevents any pre-conference research and adds a new challenge. Emphasizes creative thinking and innovation.

Joint Crisis Committee: Also called a JCC, can also be a Triple Crisis Committee (TCC), or more. This is when there are two committee rooms that work in tandem, but are apart. They are set in the same universe and their crisis notes impact the same outside world, but they are in different debate rooms. For example, a Cold War JCC with one room as the US and one as the Soviet Union.

Adjusted Crisis Committee: A style of committee that combines GA and Crisis elements. Typically a GA style in-room with resolutions and debate but also limited crisis capabilities like periodic updates or joint crisis notes.

Paper Conference: A conference that accepts only handwritten documents like notes, directives, or resolutions. Generally do not allow any technology in committee, i.e phones or laptops.

Electronic Conference: A conference that allows the use of technology, usually laptops or tablets, in committee. Generally used only for note transmission via email or software or typing of directives.

Power Delegate: A term used colloquially to describe a strong delegate in committee who is generally having success in said committee. Depending on context, can also be a negative term used to describe an overbearing or aggressive delegate who gets success by unsavory means.

Moderated Caucus: A period of formal debate in committee also called a mod. A caucus is introduced by stating the intended speaking time, caucus time, and topic, and is then voted on by committee. If adopted, the chair will call on delegates to speak for their allotted time on the issue at hand.

Unmoderated Caucus: A period of informal debate in committee also called an unmod. An unmod is introduced by stating the total time of the caucus then is voted on by committee. If adopted, delegates are free to get up and move about the room to engage in conversation about committee topics or to write directives/resolutions.

Round Robin: A period in committee where each delegate is given an allotted amount of time, as given in the adopted motion, to speak on a topic. Delegates will speak one by one in order of seating. Typically used for introductions of characters or to get opinions from all delegates on important issues.

Gentleman’s Unmod: A period in committee which resembles a typical unmod, but delegates remain in their seats. Somewhat of a mix between a mod and unmod, delegates sit and openly discuss an issue without the chair calling on people to speak.

Parliamentary Procedure: The format within which a committee functions. These are the rules of procedure used by the dais to moderate debate and keep things orderly.

Points: An act in parliamentary procedure (i.e. point of order, point of inquiry, etc.) which is used to pose a question or receive information

Motions: An act in parliamentary procedure (i.e. motion to open debate, motion for a moderated caucus) which calls for an action in committee

Conferences: Model UN competitions where several schools will come together to compete. Delegates from each team will be broken up into different committees to compete against delegates from other teams.

The Circuit: A colloquial term to describe the teams and conferences local to where you are. For example, the East Coast Circuit would describe teams and conferences hosted on the east coast of the United States.

Position Paper: A paper required or suggested by some conferences which summarizes a delegate’s position on the issues at hand. For example, a delegate acting as Germany would research and write about the state of Germany’s stance on the issues of the committee. Typically only seen in GA committees, a position paper can also be judged for awards. 

Crisis Note: A note sent to the crisis room to move a delegate’s crisis arc forward. A crisis note can take many forms, but it is used to set up plans, gather information, or execute activities outside of debate and standard committee.

Speaker’s List: The default setting for a General Assembly committee. Delegates can add themselves to the speaker’s list and the chair will move down the list of speakers until a motion for a caucus is made. A delegate can speak on anything (committee relevant) during this period.

Directive: A paper drafted by delegates in a crisis committee which is voted on and will enact a group action if passed. For example, in order for the committee to go to war, delegates would introduce a directive which, if passed, will declare war. Generally short (1-2 pages) and in response to problems/crises. There is no limit to how many can be introduced and are much faster paced and with less stringent form than resolutions.

Resolution: A paper drafted by delegates in a GA committee which is voted on and will enact a group action if passed. Resolutions are very long (5+ pages) and act as a comprehensive solution to the issue presented in the background guide. There are only 1-2 resolutions allowed to be introduced per topic per committee and require a lot of collaboration and formatting.

Sponsor: A person who helped to craft a directive or resolution. Sponsors had a direct contribution to the creation of the paper and are listed on the top of the paper. Generally 2-4 sponsors are listed on a directive and 8-10 (or more, depending on committee size) on a resolution.

Signatory: A person who did not help craft a directive or resolution, but would like for it to be formally introduced and voted on by the committee. Being a signatory does not imply support, but rather that the delegate would like to hear the paper debated. There are minimum signatory numbers for papers to be introduced, debated, and then voted on.

Note: A note sent from delegate to delegate for the purpose of communicating during debate, usually used to make plans or brainstorm directive/resolution ideas prior to an unmod.

Crisis Update: When the crisis director and staffers enter the debate room and give an update about what is going on in the outside “crisis world” that may influence committee. Content of an update can be a mix of events coming from crisis staffers and some coming from the actions of delegates. Can be very theatrical and have mixed media involved.

Background Guide: A guide to the committee which is crafted by the dias and staffers. This guide is given to delegates prior to the committee and will set the stage, give the history, and present the issues at hand. May also include position summaries and other helpful information.

E-board: Abbreviation for “executive board” used by many teams/clubs to refer to their elected leadership. The e-board can consist of many different positions which are decided at the discretion of each team and its specific needs.

Speaking Time: The amount of time that a delegate is designated to speak if called upon in a moderated caucus. Typically ranges from 30 seconds to a minute.

Caucus Time: The total time that a caucus will last. Typically ranges from 5-15 minutes for moderated caucuses and 10-20 for unmods.

Delegate Social: An event which a conference will host in the evenings of a conference usually intended to let delegates from other schools to get to know one another, or for teams to bond and relax within themselves. Can take many different forms.

Head Delegate: The delegate(s) selected, either by elected position or by conference-by-conference selection, to manage a team while away at conference. Generally tasked with keeping tabs on team members, executing logistics, giving committee tips and advice, or other duties as assigned by the team.

Training: Actions taken by a team to improve their membership’s skill level in MUN. Can come in many forms (i.e. simulations, instructional activities, etc.) but all serve as practice and prep for conferences.

Advisor: A supervising individual, usually a member of school administration or teaching staff, that acts in an advisory role for a team. Can act in many roles depending on the needs of the team, typically help with funding, instruction, chaperoning, or other activities.

Decorum: A call from the dais that asks for delegates to remain within parliamentary procedure and formal debate behavior (read: be quiet)

Dilatory: A ruling from the dais that what a delegate is doing or saying is against the order of committee or is unnecessary. Can apply to points, motions, speeches, or directives.

In Order: A ruling from the dais that a point or motion is within proper parliamentary procedure at that moment. 

Out of Order: A ruling from the dais that a point or motion is not within the proper parliamentary procedure at that moment.Delegation: The subset of a Model UN team that attends a conference. For example, if you are a member of the Gavel University Team, the group you send to MUNC XII conference would be your delegation.

Hope this was helpful! We will be updating this as people suggest terms or as we realize that we missed things. Hit us up with suggestions at mun01.business@gmail.com!

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