UPMUNC 53

The University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference occurred over the long weekend of October 31 – November 3. Led by Secretary General Beau Staso in downtown Philadelphia at the Philadelphia 201 hotel. According to the UPMUNC website, the conference was staffed by over 300 UPenn students led by 16 secretariat members to ensure a successful weekend of MUN. This year’s opening speaker was the former United States Ambassador to Brunei, Craig Allen.

Committee Overview

This year’s UPMUNC was massive, boasting 20 committees. Broken down into four GAs, four Economic and Social Councils, and 12 crisis committees, including an Ad Hoc.

  • GAs
    • Disarmament and International Security (DISEC)
    • Economic and Financial (EcoFin)
    • Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural
    • Special Political and Decolonization (SPECPOL)
  • Economic and Social Councils
    • Arab League 2011
    • World Bank
    • The Great Sejm
    • CELAC
  • Crisis
    • Wilson’s Second Administration
    • Ad Hoc
    • Art of the Deal
    • Sundiata and the Twelve Doors of Mali
    • Apollo Board of Directors
    • JCC: Taiping Rebellion – the Qing Dynasty (1855)
    • JCC: Taiping Rebellion – The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace (1855)
    • Series of Unfortunate Events
    • Marvel Board of Directors
    • Colonizing Mars 2041
    • Forty Elephants
    • UN Security Council (Present Day)

In our opinion, this is a great spread of committee offerings with options for every type of delegate and their committee type preferences–from future to historical options as well as GA to crisis. 

Committee Comments

As it should always be said, the committee comments section should serve as a balanced critique of the conference. MUN01 recognizes the hardwork and dedication that all Secretariat members put into the weekend. However, MUN01 also believes that delegates should be able to receive honest opinions and conferences gain feedback to grow and improve every year!

Committee Praises

One delegate stated that the Great Sejm committee was “probably the most creative GA” that they had been to this fall. Overall, delegates thought the chairs were great, but maybe “a little too loose on parli pro.”

Committee Critiques

Some delegates complained that committees did not receive enough crisis updates. For example, the Wilson committee received “only 1 crisis update on Friday, only 2 on Saturday.” A non-committee complaint was made about the hotel and the water not working, loud construction occurring, and slow wifi.

Awards

On Sunday, as it always does, the conference came to a close with the announcement of awards!

Best Large Delegation – University of Chicago 

Outstanding Large Delegation – American University

Best Small Delegation – Claremont McKenna College

Outstanding Small – Yale University


To learn more about UPMUNC 53 click here to see their conference website. Thank you to the teams and delegates who participated in building this article with their comments and critiques. UPMUNC was extended an opportunity to contribute, but as of publishing has not responded. If information is provided, this article will be updated. Congrats to all who competed in or staffed the conference!

Guest Article: My First Conference

Guest Article by Emerah Adell

Bio: Hello! I’m Emerah, I’ve been doing MUN for 2 years now and have become completely and irrevocably obsessed with it! I have represented Croatia, South Korea and Italy for Rocky River High School’s MUN team and adore debate, dance and learning new languages!

It seems like my first Model UN conference was so long ago, even though it was less than a year.  To be honest, that first conference was the beginning of a somewhat all consuming addiction to the world of resolutions, diplomacy and parliamentary procedure.  My partner and I joined our school’s MUN team our freshman year of high school. We had absolutely no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.

During my first conference, My partner and I didn’t know anything.  Like, at all. Although our team counselor did his best, there’s only so much you can learn without actually being there.  MUN is a learn-as-you-go type of sport. That first conference was rough from beginning to end. Starting all the way at roll call.  Being Croatia, we were one of the first delegations to be called. It was completely disastrous and we broke one of the first unspoken rules of model UN.  When our name was called? We said, “Here.” (Like I said, we had no clue what we were doing!)

After a few opening speeches we decided to try to distinguish ourselves and wing an opening speech.  That went about as well as you can imagine, but after stutter stepping our way through the first 20 minutes of the day, things got much smoother.  We made it through the first day of debate without making complete fools of ourselves. There was a lot of vocabulary that we didn’t understand, and one super controlling delegation who almost took over the chair, but overall, it went well.

The biggest thing that I remember from that conference though? The delegation representing Russia.  Now, I personally have nothing… much against Russia, but these delegates? Man did they rub me the wrong way.  My partner and I were fairly serious about everything that was going on, because our goal was to win awards. These delegates were the exact opposite, they made jokes, screwed around and even brought out a deck of cards!  I realize in hindsight that we were fairly uptight, but it was still annoying!

The second day rolled around and our resolution was drafted, voted and accepted.  Sadly, we weren’t able to get our names on as sponsors, but we were close. After we finished the first topic, the committee began debate on the second one in a very joking manner, with Russia in the lead.  We drafted a serious, well thought out working paper. While they proposed that we launch all the nuclear waste, into space.

 My partner and i didn’t really understand that it was a joke and it was embarrassing to say the least.  We took everything way too seriously and got some weird looks because of it. The committee passed the joke resolution, but the good news was, we got some really helpful practice in on resolution writing.  I still stand firm that joke resolutions aren’t that funny. I love FunMUN as much as the next person, but joke resolutions are making fun of serious topics.

FunMUN was a completely unexpected part of the day.  We didn’t really even know it existed! Superlatives were great, and playing “BS” with the aforementioned deck of cards was even more fun.  We got to know the delegates we had just spent two days working with but also fighting against.

But it all wrapped up with the awards ceremony.  My partner and I weren’t expecting anything. We didn’t get sponsorship on the passed resolution, we didn’t do amazing on most of our speeches and we certainly weren’t knowledgeable on parliamentary procedure.  You can imagine our surprise when we were called up for Honorable Mention! It was pretty exciting for our first conference! All in all, it was an amazing experience and one that I’m excited to repeat for the rest of high school and college! And it’s definitely NOT an addiction that I should probably get help for!

MUN01 would like to thank Emerah for her contribution. If you would like to be featured as a guest writer, we will be re-opening applications soon. Keep an eye on our website and socials for updates!

Conference Recap: TrojanMUN 2019

On the weekend of October 24-27, the University of Southern California hosted their annual TrojanMUN conference. Their largest yet, the conference boasted 351 delegates from 25 delegations in attendance. Led by Secretary General Rahul Francis, staff achieved an exciting weekend of MUN at the DoubleTree Hilton in Downtown Los Angeles.

Committee Overview

TrojanMUN covered a wide array of topics within their 12 committees. Of those twelve , two were General Assembly, three were Specialized Bodies, and seven Crisis, including one Ad-Hoc.The topics were as follows:

  • GAs
    • African Union
    • DISEC
  • Specialized
    • UN Security Council, 1993
    • Puerto Rican Government, 2017
    • Democratic National Committee, 2020
  • Crisis
    • Beneath The Mean Streets: Prohibition, 1923
    • Don’t Burst My Bubble: Dot-Com Crash, 1997
    • Vive La Republique: French Cabinet, 2019
    • M.I.C.R.O., 2056
    • JCC: French and Indian War, 1754
  • Ad-Hoc
    • Lost Underworld of Shanghai, 1931

We appreciate the diversity of committee type and committee topic available at TrojanMUN. This sort of structure allows for any delegate to be able to find a committee that suits them. Position assignments were sent out 3 months in advance and background guides were made available 7 weeks before the conference, giving delegates and teams ample time to prepare for a competitive weekend. The conference placed significance on delegate experience and efficiency, boasting a 3:1 delegate to staff ratio and receiving nearly zero complaints from delegates about note turnaround in feedback, according to the Secretary General Rahul. 

Committee Comments

Unfortunately, MUN01 did not receive any delegate feedback from attendees of TrojanMUN. We have the most experience and connections with the east coast circuit, but want to become involved in the west coast as well. If you are a west coast delegate or team, please reach out! We would love to hear your thoughts on TrojanMUN and beyond and will happily edit this article to reflect any new information you give.

Socials 

TrojanMUN hosted three socials over the span of the weekend, each looking more fun than the last. Thursday night there was a head delegate wine and charcuterie social at the Secretariat Suite at the conference hotel. Friday was a cocktail night at the hotel restaurant and bar with happy hour pricing on drinks and food. Saturday was the Halloween Soiree, with costumes recommended. The soiree was at a private venue in downtown LA with an open bar for 21+ delegates with a wristband.

Awards

And on Sunday starting at 10:30am, awards were announced!

  • Delegation awards
    • Best Large Delegation: Claremont McKenna College
    • Outstanding Large Delegation: University of California, Berkeley
    • Best Small Delegation: University of California, Santa Barbara
    • Outstanding Small Delegation: Columbia University

Secretariat Comments

Secretary General Rahul Francis provided the following quote:

“This was the largest TrojanMUN in four years, allowing us to not only bring back our staple West Coast attendees, but also see newcomers from the Midwest and East Coast. TrojanMUN’s innovative crisis committees spanned from the JCC: French & Indian War committee set in 1776 to our M.I.C.R.O. committee on cybernetics and augmented reality. We also expanded our GA and Specialized committees to cater to  a wider demographic, ranging from traditional committees such as DISEC to a simulation of the Democratic National Committee looking forward to 2020. Last but certainly not least, we raised nearly $1,500 for our conference cause, Children of Vietnam, through candygram sales as well as in-committee fundraising by our staff who created exciting incentives. A special shout-out to our capable and caring Secretariat, as well as my fellow conference executives, Nayanika and Ruby. I look forward to continuing to see delegates from TrojanMUN around the circuit this upcoming year, and wish the best of luck to our future Secretariat in planning TrojanMUN 2020!”

Check out this recap video created by the secretariat for an even better look at TrojanMUN2019!

To read more about TrojanMUN 2019 click here. Thank you to the secretariat for all of the information that they provided. Congrats to all who competed in or staffed the conference!

Guest Article: Chairing Social Responsibility

Article written by Andy

Andy is an Indonesian with a weirdly American accent.  As her final year of university draws near, now she mostly joins MUN conferences to meet her friends and reminisce the good old (chaotic) days. It helps that she loves dark jokes, music, poetry, and writing – things that many MUNers also share the love for.

If you ask me how the hell I managed to survive my first Model UN conference, you better ask my first chair, because she’s the one who knows. Or rather, she’s the reason I survived – and fell into the rabbit hole of Model UN.

My first committee was the UN Human Rights Council. I chose it thinking that it would be slow-paced and filled with fellow beginners instead of heated debates and pro delegates spitting fire. I have no idea what my chair saw in me back then – being the shy delegate that can’t speak up in unmods and whose voice quivered when speaking on the podium – but in a committee whose top 3 awardees are all seasoned veterans, the Verbal Commendation she gave me ended up becoming my motivation to continue Model UN until this far; in a way, it’s a sign that Model UN welcomes me.

Last month, my first chair recently graduated from university. I sent her a message on Instagram, thanking her for the Verbal Commendation she gave me back then. She needs to know how her small gesture ended up having so much impact on how I’ve grown in Model UN and as a person.

Because if my chair hadn’t made my first committee so enjoyable, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with it, and I certainly wouldn’t have made it my mission to become a chair that could do the same.

There is no fixed rule on when a delegate should begin transitioning into being a chair – we just know. For me, the moment came when I won my first, last, and only ‘double shotgun’: Best Position Paper and Best Delegate. On one hand, there are sentimental reasons behind putting my delegate career on hiatus: I knew I wouldn’t be able to repeat the performance I gave, at least not with another co-delegate (which might require a whole new article). On the other hand, the moment I got that award, I felt a sense of relief – as if there’s a burning fire inside me that got put out, and in its place was peace. I knew I have already gained enough lessons from Model UN. The desire to share my experiences through chairing and coaching gradually phased out the remaining shreds of competitive hunger I have as a delegate.

Chairpersons are the face of their committees. They’re the first persons a delegate faces in an MUN conference. For delegates, their chairperson’s conduct will influence how they view the entire conference. Was the chair friendly or strict? Were they professional? Were his or her decisions clear and justifiable, or were they biased? For newbies in particular, how a chairperson conducts their first conference will shape their first impression on what MUN is like. As explained above, my first chair made me see that MUN is enjoyable. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends didn’t have the same experience in their first committees. I’ve had talented delegates decide to not continue MUN because they didn’t find their committees enjoyable. Good chairpersons make MUN something to look forward to for their delegates. Bad or mediocre chairpersons make MUN a chore, or worse, a traumatic experience.

A chairperson should use their influence to become the heart of their committees or conferences they staff at. This is where having a clear chairing vision is important. Excellent chairpersons have a clear vision on why they chair, which guides them in conducting the debate and gives them a distinctive style. Some chairpersons are there to create substantive and high-quality debates. Some may focus on chairing issues they are passionate on, be it hard politics or softer social issues. Other chairs may focus on delegate development and in sharing their experiences. Personally, my chairing vision is a specific part of the third example: I want to create committees that could welcome all its participants in the world of Model UN. I always strive to make my study guide clear and understandable, so that delegates can have a good understanding of the topic. During the committee session, I made sure to be firm with the Rules of Procedure and keep a professional distance, but outside the debate I open myself to know them both as a person and as a delegate. I want my delegates to get the most out of their conferences: good debates, connections, self-development, and all that MUN could give.

The chairing vision I have now became solidified when I became the Head Chair of UNESCO Singapore MUN 2019. Since almost all of UNESCO was beginners to MUN, the debate got stuck at several points. I started talking to them in between committee sessions to know what their difficulties are and what they need from us chairs. To my surprise, the delegates actually respected us more once we showed that we’re open to them. Gradually, we got closer, and many of them started telling me more about their personal lives. Even long after SMUN 2019 ended, my UNESCO delegates and I still kept in touch. We hung out when I came to Singapore last July. One of them even became a MUN mentee of mine! She routinely came to me for MUN advice even after SMUN, and once invited me to help coach her school’s delegation. The biggest surprise was when she told me that her mother – who was in the UNESCO committee room – gave positive reviews for me as a chair! She said ‘my mom said you’re the best chair she’s ever seen, she likes how you brought yourself up there and how you talk’. I am touched to know that my delegates (and their parents, wow) saw a positive influence in me. That experience showed me how influential chairs are to a delegate’s MUN career – both in starting out and in moving forward.

All in all, everyone chairs for different reasons. Some for prestige, other for connections, and I know most of us want to enjoy the MUN atmosphere without having to suffer in the debate. For me, my MUN journey made me realize that chairing is also a community service for the next generation. All of us veterans who have become chairs have to give the best of our expertise and instill the love of MUN to our successors. The more we realize our influence on the MUN community, the more we will work to create the best MUN experience for our delegates. Even after university, the MUN world goes on – but we can, and should leave our legacies while the time is here.

MUN01 would like to thank Andy for her thoughtful contribution. We will be accepting new guest writers soon, so keep a look out for opportunities to be featured on MUN01.com!

Conference Recap: SCSY XLII

Yale University hosted its annual Specialized & Crisis Simulation at Yale (SCSY) in its 42nd iteration over the weekend of October 24-27, 2019. This year’s conference was led by Secretary-General Lauren Gatta and was held on Yale’s campus.

Secretary-General Lauren Gatta provided this quote about SCSY XLII and the weekend, “SCSY XLII was the most challenging undertaking of my college career so far, yet I loved the experience of providing exciting committees to delegates coming from all over the country and the world. The whole team worked to build upon the successes of last year, and improve what we felt needed the most attention. I’m extremely proud of our initiatives in rebranding the conference, providing professional materials, and ensuring that delegates had a fun time both inside and outside of committee. Working with limited resources and unfortunate circumstances (30 delegate drops in the week before the conference), we were nonetheless able to put on a small but powerful conference. I’m confident that future years will continue to reinforce the legacy of SCSY.”

Attending Delegations

MUN01 was provided the following delegation list by SCSY:

  • Anderson University
  • Baruch College
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Florida International University
  • Hamilton College
  • Kutztown University
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • McGill University
  • Princeton University
  • Seton Hall University
  • Tufts University
  • United States Military Academy
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Virginia
  • West Point
  • College of William & Mary

Committee Overview

SCSY XLII offered a wide array of committee topics, all within the crisis realm, including one Security Council committee. The 17 committees were: Ad Hoc, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Board of Theranos, The Council for the Unification of the Subcontinent (CUS) 2050, CCCC: Climate Change Crisis Committee, Colonization of Mars, Fyre Festival, Hunger Games, Kashmiri Conflict, JCC: Anglo-Zulu War (British v. Zulu), NAFTA Renegotiations, Non-Aligned Movement, JCC: Peloponnesian War (Delian League v. Sparta), UN Security Council, and Taiwan Strait 2020. This year’s ad hoc topic was a meeting of El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel in 2001.

In regards to background guide quality, the guides had a satisfactory amount of information. The guides also offered a good amount of links to further investigate the topic. The formatting could have been improved upon. 

Committee Comments

As it should always be said, the committee comments section should serve as a balanced critique of the conference. MUN01 recognizes the hardwork and dedication that all Secretariat members put into the weekend. However, MUN01 also believes that delegates should be able to receive honest opinions and conferences gain feedback to grow and improve every year!

Committee Praises

Delegates praised the location of committee on the beautiful campus of Yale. There were lots of easily accessible food and coffee locations during breaks which helped delegates refuel throughout the day. The schedules on Friday and Saturday were also appreciated, with no start times for any days before 12pm. Delegates also appreciated the wide array of topics to choose from for the weekend. Overall, delegations seemed satisfied with weekend and said they were looking forward to returning next year!

Committee Critiques

Most rooms did not have more than a Crisis Director and maybe one staffer and some seemed to have no separate back room at all. Overall, some committees were extremely small (5 delegates) with the average being 8-12 delegates. A recommendation was made during feedback to condense the amount of committees offered to expand on crisis staffing size and ensure committee sizes around 10-15 delegates. However, MUN01 also acknowledges the difficulty of ensuring all of your rooms are the perfect size with late delegation drops!

Socials

This year, SCSY provided one social for the weekend on Friday night at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ. A separate area with a bar, TVs, and a dance floor with music was rented out for delegates to mingle and enjoy themselves. As the night went on, delegates got more into dancing and having fun. However, some were disappointed at the lack of BBQ at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ.

The end of a long weekend came during Sunday’s closing ceremonies. After Secretary-General Gatta’s quick speech, individual awards and delegation awards were handed out.

Awards

Delegation Awards were given out as follows:

Best Large Delegation – University of Pennsylvania

Outstanding Large Delegation- West Point

Best Small Delegation- McGill University

Outstanding Small Delegation- Princeton University

To learn more about SCSY XLII click here to see their conference website. Thank you to the teams and delegates who participated in building this article with their comments and critiques. A thank you as well to SCSY for providing conference information. The article has been updated to reflect this new information. Congrats to all who competed in or staffed the conference!

Guest Article: Transforming My Delegate Style and Letting MUN be Fun Again

Article by Stephen Hoffman

My name is Stephen Hoffman, and I am a junior at Seton Hall University from just outside Philadelphia, PA. I am the current President of Seton Hall’s Competitive Team, and have done MUN since my freshman year of college. When my life is not consumed by Model UN (very rarely), I am likely playing golf with friends and family, feverishly rooting on Seton Hall Basketball or Philadelphia Sports, or spending time with dogs.

We have all been at a conference with that one delegate who is constantly a thorn in the side of the committee. They’re unfriendly, uninterested in working with other people, and just ultimately slowing down the flow of the committee as a whole. I used to be that delegate. I was the guy that was taking things (and myself) a little too seriously and making the committee a little harder for everyone else. However, I can guarantee that this does not describe me now. According to teammates, I underwent “the most radical transformation a Model UN delegate could make”, as I shifted my entire mentality towards MUN, changing it from something strictly competitive to something fun. This process wasn’t easy, as it took a long series of mistakes to show that something needed to change.

What sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of awards and rankings is that Model UN is supposed to be enjoyable. We are supposed to get excited about traveling to conferences and competing in exciting committees, regardless of the outcome at closing ceremonies. Disappointments are natural and bound to happen in one’s MUN career, but ultimately, we should feel better about our experience at the end of the conference. I learned this lesson the hard way, as multiple failures made me re-evaluate my stance on Model UN as a whole.

My freshman year was average at best, as after attending two conferences I left with one honorable mention. This was typical for a freshman on our team, and after my second conference I told myself that I would continue to improve and exceed expectations. My role within the club increased as I became our treasurer, and things were looking to be consistently improving. This optimism was quickly knocked down, as things remained bleak the following semester.

I attended two conferences in the fall semester of my sophomore year. The first was the most difficult conference I had ever attended, and I quickly realized this when my elementary crisis notes weren’t working anymore. While expectations were at their highest in my first conference as a head delegate, I failed to award and subsequently felt like I had let my team down. The second conference of the semester was a staple for our team, as we attend every year in hopes of winning a delegation award. I was in my dream position, as an OPEC committee was something I always searched for on the circuit. I had a strong position and spent hours on research in preparation for this conference. After leaving the committee, thinking my debate was strong and my crisis impressive, I sat throughout closing without hearing my name called. In the midst of this, my team won the award for Outstanding Large Delegation, and if I did what I was supposed to, I would have pushed us to Best.

This felt like most immense failure of my life. A Middle Eastern Studies minor coming up short in an OPEC committee seemed virtually unforgivable, and I was left feeling like I didn’t have a place in the club anymore. I internalized this loss for a long time, forever convinced that I deserved a high award in that committee. It wasn’t until just before our next conference months later that I truly contemplated my performance at the previous conference. I asked myself hard questions. Did I work with the other people in the room? Did I write a directive or resolve an issue with any other delegates? The answer to these questions made clear why I left empty handed.

 I was attending conferences for one reason and one reason alone: to win. I did not care if I made a single friend; if I walked away with a gavel, nothing else mattered. Instead of helping to find solutions for the problems, I would simply point out problems with a solution. It was then when I realized that all this strategy accomplished was taking the fun out of Model UN, something I enjoy doing with friends to have fun with one another and compete in a positive manner. If I could translate this environment to a conference, I realized that even if I don’t walk away with an award, I will at least have a good time.

 And thus, the transformation was born. At the next conference, I tried my absolute hardest to be as friendly as possible, instead of attempting to instill intimidation in other delegates when I entered the room. I relaxed, I exhaled, I balanced listening to others instead of dominating the room, and I worked with almost everybody in the room on a directive that weekend. At the previous conference, I rarely even wrote directives, placing my ideas above those of others. I loosened up and I let Model UN be fun again, laughing at things that happened in committee and making genuine friendships with the other delegates and chairs. I remember one occasion when a freshman delegate and I clashed in debate, with the two of us having consecutive speeches and going back and forth in a contentious fashion. Typically, I would have held that grudge against the delegate for the rest of the conference. We swiftly went into an unmoderated caucus after this debate, and I went up to her and told her that it was fun, and that she was doing a great job. She laughed and said that I was too, later leading to us co-writing a directive that passed unanimously. Experiences like that make this conference a turning point in my Model UN career, as I eventually walked away with my first gavel and two additional awards that semester.        

Nobody likes walking into committee and seeing that one delegate that truly ruined their weekend a few months ago at a conference. We sometimes forget that the circuit is not entirely about winning the most awards and achieving the highest ranking, but rather about making real connections with other passionate students who share in our interests and ambition to make the world a better place. Model UN is always competitive, and there will always be letdowns, but sometimes these disappointments will lead to personal growth and the improvement of skills. Failure taught me these vital lessons, and I left the committee changed as a delegate and a leader.

MUN01 would like to thank Stephen for his contribution. If you would like to guest write for us, please visit our Guest Writing tab on our site.

Picking Your Senior Secretariat

So you want to host a conference? We love to see it. Before you do anything, you have to find 4-7+ other people who also want to host a conference. This will be your Senior Secretariat, and all of you will be responsible for nearly every aspect of the conference. No pressure. So without any frills, here’s how to pick a good secretariat.

Secretary General

The big position. For this role, you want someone who’s good at delegating but also can pick up slack in any areas they may need to. Essentially it’s someone who can do all the jobs on Senior Sec, but doesn’t unless it’s necessary. Part of the job involves making decisions that some people won’t appreciate (e.g. staff selection, committee topic finalization, any dais issues that may come up), so you’ll need someone who can be both assertive and understanding. It’s a fine line to tread and no one will be perfect at the job, but try to get as close as you can. Lastly, you’ll need someone who can think on their feet, since when the actual conference rolls around there are always last-minute things to tend to that someone forgot about. Our team selects the Secretary General through elections at the same time we elect our new Executive Board for the upcoming school year. The Sec Gen then selects her Senior Secretariat through a process that can change depending on who the Sec Gen is, but we usually do an application/interview process.

Director General

So you have your Sec Gen, amazing. Or you are the Sec Gen, even better. The DG should be the right-hand woman to the Sec Gen. Depending on the number of positions on Senior Sec, they’ll need to help the Sec Gen follow up with everyone and also sometimes jump into the Sec Gen role if needed. They, like the Sec Gen, need to have an assertive side. An effective line of communication with the Sec Gen is necessary, so someone who works well with the Sec Gen is important. Think of it as a Vice President role. We also have our DG work on the conference website and formatting of background guides. 

Under-Secretary General of External Relations

This is where the titles of Senior Sec members start becoming different depending on the conference you go to. Charge d’Affaires is another name for this position that we’ve seen at many conferences. This position will handle all of the invoicing, emailing, and communicating with advisors and administration about finances and the like. They should be borderline obsessive about checking email, and able to do basic math (with the aid of spreadsheets, of course). You’ll also want someone who can be professional yet firm in an email since there will inevitably be things that happen where you need to mediate an issue involving delegation sizes, payment, etc. The USG of External Relations should also work closely with the Sec Gen to make sure that payment policies and invoices are kept up to date and that accurate records are kept since even when the conference is over, there will still be outstanding payments to track down. 

Under-Secretary General of Crisis Committees

Since our school’s conference has both GA and Crisis committees, we have different USGs for both. The USG of Crisis doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who’s good at crisis committees. They should be someone who can juggle multiple things at once and also help train daises to run the room and train staff to respond to notes. While creativity is important, promptness is more important. Since they’ll be working directly with the committees, this will be the person responsible for tracking down the background guides and any other materials necessary for the committee. Handling issues with daises is inevitable so someone with good interpersonal skills is necessary. It’s not required to have someone who wants to reinvent the wheel where crisis is concerned, but a little creativity regarding the make-up of the committees can’t hurt. 

Under-Secretary General of GA Committees

This position has many of the same qualifications as the USG of Crisis. They should be able to train daises and also help with any questions the daises and delegates may have. Depending on the type of conference you’re running, the USG of GA may need to help daises develop interesting ideas for committees. GA topics can often be very dry depending on the type of delegates you’re trying to appeal to, so someone with new, fresh ideas for topics is helpful. 

Other Positions

  • Director of Merchandise – creativity in this role is key. Good merch is something we really enjoy in a conference, and being able to slap a sticker on your laptop that shows you do MUN is quirky and relatable (depending on who you ask). You want someone in this role who can be on top of ordering merch and who also has a Venmo, CashApp, PayPal, or whatever you’re planning on using to keep track of merch purchases. 
  • Director of Logistics – you’re going to need to book a lot of rooms for your conference. Staff rooms, committee rooms, a Senior Sec room, etc. Sometimes this becomes a huge hassle, which is where this position comes in. Someone who is really on top of logistics and who has impeccable time management is ideal for this. They’ll also likely be the person organizing the schedule with the Sec Gen and making sure people know where to be and when. 
  • Director of Technology – for our conference’s purposes, the DG handles all the website stuff, but some conferences function differently (and that’s okay). Whoever’s in this position should really like building websites (via WordPress, html, Wix, or whatever you’re using to host your website). They should have a good eye for aesthetics since no one likes a garbage-looking website. Hopefully they’re also good at editing things, since they might have to look through background guides as a third pair of eyes to make sure they’re good before they go on the website. 

A Few Words of Wisdom

  • Don’t feel like you need a huge secretariat. Our conference functions perfectly fine with 5 Senior Sec members, and we’ve been able to consolidate positions a lot in the last few years so there’s less dead weight. A big secretariat can also lead to problems, so only keep the positions you really need. 
  • Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean they’ll be good for a position. Yeah, it sucks having to deny your friends but at the end of the day you want someone in a position who’s going to do the job right, not just be your friend. 
  • You will have to deal with issues with daises not getting along. It happens. People who do MUN have strong personalities that often clash. If it gets really bad, you might have to fire someone. It happens. Don’t sweat it. You’re there to run a conference, not be someone’s mom or best friend. 
  • Have fun! Planning a conference is stressful (trust me, we know) so take some time after the conference is over to thank your Senior Sec, staff, and everyone who helped you along the way. Enjoy the little victories along the way.

Conference Recap: NCSC XLVII

Conference General Information

Georgetown University’s National Collegiate Security Conference (NCSC) took place in its 47th iteration. It is one of the oldest, collegiate Model UN conferences in North America. Over October 17-20, 2019 many delegates convened at the DoubleTree by Hilton Crystal City for an exciting weekend of debate and crises. This year’s Secretary-General was junior Science, Technology, and International Affairs major Mark Wilcox.

Attending Delegations

The following delegations notified MUN01 about their attendance at NCSC XLVII. If your delegation attended, please feel free to reach out and we’ll add you to the list!:

  • American University
  • Artvin Coruh University
  • Boston University
  • Cornell University
  • Florida International University
  • George Washington University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Committee Overview

NCSC XLVII provided a staggering 20 committees for delegates to select from, broken down into four “Assemblies and Summits” with 60-120 delegates each following GA procedure, four “Councils and Boards” with 20-25 delegates each following crisis procedure, four “Regionals” with 18-22 delegates each following crisis procedure, four “Cabinets” with 18-22 delegates each following crisis procedure, and four “Joint Crisis” with 16-18 delegates each following crisis procedure. Please note, there were two Joint Crisis topics with two committees each.

The committees were as follows. “Assemblies and Summits”: Socialist International, 1976; UN Conference on Water, 1977; Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, 1995; Wolesi Jirga, 2006. “Councils and Boards”: Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 1951; The Little Spy Engine that Could: Cuban Intelligence Directorate, 1969; Reboot 2018: Microsoft Board of Directors; UN Security Council, 2019. “Regionals”: Operation Gladio, 1958; Hidden Powers: Women for Security and Rights in Europe, 1973; Plan Colombia, 1998; 3rd Asian Defence Ministers Meeting Plus, 2015. “Cabinets”: The Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary General; Cleaning Up the Dirty War – Argentine Cabinet, 198; Chocolat et Guerre sur la Côte D’Ivoire: Ivorian Cabinet, 2011; The Khan’s Court: Kazakhstani Cabinet, 2019. “Joint Crisis”: JCC The Russian Revolution: White Russia v. Red Russia, 1917; JCC US Presidential Election: Al Gore v. George W. Bush, 2000.

As you can see, there were a lot of diverse and interesting committee topics that should appeal to all delegates and their interests!

Committee Comments

It will always be said, the committee comments section should serve as a balanced critique of the conference. MUN01 recognizes the hardwork and dedication that all Secretariat members put into the weekend. However, MUN01 also believes that delegates should be able to receive honest opinions and conferences gain feedback to grow and improve every year!

Committee Praises

According to one delegate, “in crisis the outroom and speed of staff was phenomenal” and that delegate’s dais was “consistent with their parli pro.” Multiple delegates praise the conference for being extremely well run and a generally good time. When critiques were brought up, delegates generally felt that they were addressed by the end of the conference.

Committee Critiques

One delegate said that there was “obvious pre-writing” and “clause deletion” in their committee. The delegate in the room said that the dais did little to address the issue. Another delegate wished for more consistency in chairing across committees, such as a standardization of being relaxed or strict on parli pro. Another delegate was frustrated that up to four delegates from the same school were in one crisis room. One minor complaint was not being made aware of the location of the social until the day of the event.

Social 

The social at NCSC this year was a Saturday club night that ran from 9pm-2am.

Awards

As the conference ended on Sunday, it was time for awards!

Delegation Awards were given as follows:

Best Large – University of Chicago

Outstanding Large  – University of Pennsylvania

Best Small – University of California, Berkeley 

Outstanding Small – Boston University

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County team from NCSC! Thanks for sharing the photo with us!

To read more about NCSC XLVII click here to see the conference website. Thank you to the numerous teams and delegates who contributed their thoughts and the awards list to this article. NCSC was extended an opportunity to contribute, but as of publishing has not responded. Congrats to all who competed in or staffed the conference!

How to Research a Made-Up Crisis Position

Imagine this. You’re excited for your committee assignment, you receive your position and your committee name, you look up your position name on your preferred search engine (you Google it, let’s be honest), and nothing comes up. Correction–you get results, but absolutely nothing useful. You have a sinking feeling and you realize, your position is made-up. Whether you’re in a futuristic committee, a committee so niche names aren’t available, or a crisis topic that needed extra positions to be invented, there are lots of reasons why a crisis position would be made-up by conference staffers. This guide will help you research to feel prepared regardless of your situation.

For made-up positions, the most important aspects of research will lie in understanding the world around you, your potential abilities, and your limitations. 

There are a few things you should immediately do to establish the world around you.

You should first identify what time period your crisis committee is in. That means recognizing if the committee is set in the past, the present, or the future. It will make a difference how you research the position. To do this should immediately Google the start date, or at least the start year, of committee to look for important events that occurred during that time. Wikipedia typically has brief rundowns of big events if you just Google “Wikipedia [start year].” You want to pay specific attention to events that happened very close to the location that your committee is set in so you can keep an eye out for crisis updates you might encounter in the future and also events that happened previously to set the stage for what you will be debating in committee.

If you’re in a futuristic committee, you are going to be relying a lot more on the background guide. Looking up “2346” on Wikipedia as a start year isn’t going to work like it would in a historical or present day committee. Cross your fingers that your dais and staffers have created a comprehensive guide that gives you a good idea of the world you’re stepping into. Usually there will be a timeline of the fictional, futuristic events that have resulted in the current crisis. Read the guide carefully and pick up on the world that was created for you. Make note of the geopolitical setting, the invented history, and the major actors you will be encountering. 

You also want to keep in mind what abilities you will gain from the time period you are in, and what limitations you might face. I’ll talk more about that later, but for now I’ll talk about your possibilities. 

Understand your potential abilities.

Another thing that good background guides will give you, even if your position is invented, is a little bit of history about the invented position and potential resources you could draw on. Now obviously they’re not going to just hand you ideas for a crisis arc, but they may mention certain resources you have and then you can try to mold your arc around that. For instance if they say you own an olive garden, like an actual garden of olives, you can figure out how you would utilize that resource potentially in a crisis arc and you can also do further research on the importance of olive gardens in the setting you’re in and see if there’s any kind of ideas for crisis that come to you while you’re doing that research. 

Another great tactic is to find people in history similar to your position. For example, if you’re an invented Soviet telecommunications CEO, go ahead and research several things. Look up Soviet policy at the time, specifically surrounding telecommunications, broadcasting, etc. Look up companies that you may be able to model yourself after and look up what kind of powers CEOs hold exactly. You may find similar people or organizations in history you can model yourself after!

Finally, you should understand your limitations.

An important aspect of committees is understanding your technological limitations. For instance, if you’re in a historical committee in the 1600s, obviously you can’t use cell phones or any kind of new technology in your arc. However, that doesn’t mean that you should feel constrained in your arcs. Doing deeper research on that time period can reveal interesting and new ideas to use in your crisis arc that are more unique than bugging a room before that technology was invented. You never know, your position may be BFFs with the guy that invented the catapult! Or maybe you can pretend that you are!

In futuristic committees, limitations can more easily be overcome. As mentioned previously, there is often more leeway in futuristic committees to creating a lot of the world’s canon in the back room. Obviously if the crisis room shuts you down, don’t push back because they have the final say, but you can use this type of committee to your advantage in terms of technological experimentation. However, this type of committee may feel limiting to people who base their arcs and get a lot of their ideas from history. But, if you’re super creative this could work to your advantage!

Having a made-up crisis position doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed in committee! With these tactics, you can succeed in your made-up crisis position through smart research choices and thinking outside the box.     

Guest Article: How My First Conference Taught Me to Love Model UN

Article By Darya Foroohar

Darya is a senior at Bard High School Early College Manhattan, where she is the Under-Secretary General for her school’s MUN team. She enjoys crisis and has won multiple awards in various conferences, the highest being best delegate. Outside of committee, her writing on MUN-related issues has been published on Best Delegate, and she runs an extremely funny MUN meme account called @poi_ntofinformation.

It was 10:30 P.M. on the eve of my first Model UN conference, and I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. My alarm was set for 5:45 A.M. My suitcase was filled to the brim with Western Business Attire. I had emailed all of my teachers to notify them of my upcoming absence, finished the work that was going to be due while I was away, and stuffed my backpack full of writing supplies. There was only one more thing to be done. Hands trembling, I feverishly googled “how do you do model un.” My heart beat faster as I realized I understood nothing about what I was going to do the next day.

I had impulsively signed up for this conference in March, after my friend, who was on the Secretariat of my school’s MUN team, told me there was an empty spot at CMUNC, Cornell’s conference, which was hosted in April. Even though I hadn’t done Model UN before, I immediately said yes, having been interested in the club for a long time but never taking the opportunity to join. Unfortunately, my busy schedule prevented me from actually going to any of the Model UN meetings before the conference, so I only had a vague idea of what MUN was. When it was time to choose committees, I had no idea what any of the acronyms, like ECOSOC and SOCHUM, meant, and I was too embarrassed to ask. I didn’t even know what a committee was. Unsure, I impulsively picked the one whose name I could at least somewhat understand: “Crisis: Animal Farm.” I didn’t know what crisis meant, but I had read Animal Farm, which seemed like a start. Yet the warnings of my fellow club members, who told me of vicious power delegates and ruthless bloc politics, filled my head with visions of failure and humiliation.

Their words were racing through my mind as I frantically tried to teach myself how to MUN in one night; they stayed with me on the bus to Ithaca and did not depart as I nibbled on pre-conference pizza. During opening ceremonies, I stared in awe at the huge auditorium and the hundreds of delegates that filled it, each looking more prepared than I was. I wanted nothing more than to run away, but I knew that if I chickened out, I would never forgive myself. Before I entered the committee room, I reminded myself what my friend had told me: no one else knows what they’re doing, either.

My committee was a simulation of the novel Animal Farm, set right after the animals had revolted and driven Mr. Jones out of the farm. The objective of the committee was to form a functioning government while dealing with both internal and external threats, which would come in the form of crisis updates caused by both staffers and delegates. I was representing Mr. Whymper, which made my situation slightly more difficult because he was not an animal and therefore did not have the trust of most of the people in the room. As the chair was making his welcoming remarks, I looked around the room, wondering if anyone else was as confused and nervous as I was.

I never did find out the answer to this, but I certainly discovered that I was far from the least capable in committee, a fear that had consumed me in the days leading up to the conference. Put on the spot during a round robin, I stammered out a few words and then sunk back into my seat, hoping people wouldn’t snicker. No one did. In fact, the amusement came from the delegate representing Mr. Jones, who spoke in a southern drawl and pretended to be drunk for the entirety of his one-minute speech. Other delegates spoke even less than I did. I was filled with relief– this wasn’t so bad! In fact, once I got over my fear of speaking, committee became fun. Each crisis note I wrote was more inventive, I raised my placard more often, and I formed alliances with multiple delegates. The fast pace of crisis kept me engaged, and the multiple updates assured me that if my first plan didn’t work, I could keep trying.

Whenever I was back with my MUN team, I gushed about how much I loved my committee and told them about all my crisis plans (such as creating an opium trade ring). My worries had vanished; all I worried about now was if I would get a chance to speak in the next moderated caucus. The committee was excellently run, a fact I appreciate in hindsight due to later experiences in disorganized committees. My chair was good-natured and the other delegates, while frustrating at times, were far from the malicious snakes I was told to expect. Many, even those I wasn’t working with in committee, offered encouragement and tips after hearing it was my first conference. I was awed by their eloquence and confidence in committee, seeing how different strategies– from playing the mediator to dedicating all time and energy to crisis notes– paid off. Yet I didn’t just learn how to do well in MUN, I learned that I was capable of doing well, a fact I had not dared to believe beforehand, not wanting to be disappointed in myself.         Ultimately, I didn’t get an award, a fact which did not surprise me, seeing as committee did not shape itself around my crisis arc (I didn’t even know what a crisis arc was). But instead of being disappointed, I was eager to return to the competitive, exhilarating world I had gotten just a taste of. I eagerly signed up for conferences the following year and even became a club officer, encouraging newcomers to go to conferences even though they didn’t know much about how do do MUN yet. At every conference I’ve been to since, I have learned new ways to debate and communicate with people, winning awards and shaping committee, but it was at CMUNC, my first conference, that I truly learned not just what it means to do model UN, but how to try something new: you may think you don’t know what you’re doing, but neither does anyone else.