Conference Recap: BARMUN XII

The Boston Area Model United Nations Conference (BARMUN) occurred in its 12th iteration this past weekend from October 3rd to October 6th. The conference took place on Boston University’s campus was led to success by this year’s Secretary-General Akash Chopra.

Akash generously contributed to this article with both comments on the weekend as well as the delegation award winners. About this year’s BarMUN, Akash wrote, “BarMUN XII was the most successful BarMUN that has been hosted by Boston University. BarMUN XII brought with it many firsts – this is the first time that we have over 400 delegates at our conference, the first time we have over 40 delegations attending, the first time that we have 17 committees and the first time that we have 100% of our merchandise sales dedicated toward our sponsor charity (Charity:Water). Having our sponsored charity receive all the merchandise sales was always a vision of mine and Jonathan and I was extremely glad budgeting wise, when we were able to make this possible.”  

It’s always commendable to see a conference dedicate part of their income to giving back and BarMUN XII’s decision to do so is highly regarded.

Attending Delegations

The following schools attended the conference, as listed alphabetically in the delegate handbook:

  • American University
  • Boston College
  • Brown University
  • Clark University
  • Clarkson University
  • Colgate University
  • Columbia University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Elon University
  • Emory University
  • Florida International University
  • Fordham University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington University
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • McGill University
  • Michigan State University
  • Middlebury College
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Penn State University
  • Princeton University
  • Roger Williams University
  • Seton Hall University
  • State University of New York at Geneseo
  • The United States Naval Academy
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Albany
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Vermont
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wellesley College
  • Wheaton College

Committee Overview

BarMUN XII featured 17 committees this year with a mix of procedural styles from General Assembly style Economic & Social Councils, Specialized Committees, and Crisis Committees. 

The three ECOSOC committees included The United States Summit on the Use of Federal Land, Senado Federal: Aftermath of the World’s Spotlight, and CHOGM2020: The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. 

The three Specialized Committees were the Belt & Road Initiative, Project Looking Glass, and Brexit: The Cabinet of Theresa May. 

BarMUN’s most heavily featured committee style was their 11 crisis committees, including a two room JCC. The single room crisis committees were: Ukranian Missile Crisis (1991), 2018 Facebook Board of Directors, Pax Britannica, The Ohio Gang, The Peace of Westphalia, Pope Leo’s Cardinals, Jefferson’s Cabinet, The Committee of 40, and the Ad Hoc. The JCC was called A Portrait of Our Neighbors: Orthodox v. Reformist Communists and is based on the “aftershocks of the Sino-Soviet Communist split” based on the topic blurb on the website.

This year’s ad hoc committee was all about the Salem Witch Trials to feature a more local, albeit historical, topic.

In regards to the background guide quality, the guides were praised for their detailed, thorough, and informative historical background on the topic and the guide’s overall formatting and design.

However, some delegates noted the guides had unclear start dates, sometimes a lack of clear committee direction, and that some positions on the guide that were assigned were missing from the character dossier section. Please note that the latter problem was fixed promptly when the issue was brought to Secretariat before the start of the conference. 

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

Overall, BarMUN praises came mostly from in-room performance by daises and satisfaction with committee topics. Delegates were generally satisfied with the chairing and it seemed like all the chairs had been trained and had some prior experience running a room. The selection of committee topics was also given two thumbs up for their range in topics and interest factor. 

Committee Critiques

The most common critiques of the conference stemmed from backroom problems. According to delegates in specialized committees, procedure for that committee type was unclear and unclarified until day two of the conference. In committees such as Pax Britannica, there was not a clear start date and committee jumped ahead 20 years until delegates protested and it was lowered to a 12 year time jump. Some other delegates had complaints over crisis updates that seemed unrelated to delegate’s arcs. Crisis notes response time were also an issue. Another complaint was that the first session of committee lasted 3.5 hours and went until 11pm. A suggestion was that an hour be taken off that day and moved to Friday’s session.

Socials

BarMUN XII hosted both a head delegate social and a typical delegate social for the weekend. The head delegate social took place on Friday night at the Fenmore Grill inside of the Hotel Buckmister, one of the two recommended hotels for delegations. A short walk from the head delegate feedback room, the event featured an open bar with beer and wine for those of age and a buffet of Italian food. It was all free for the head delegates and was greatly appreciated after the second day of committee.

The second social was for all attending delegates on Saturday night and was held at Boston’s Hard Rock Cafe in a separate event room with a bar, some tables, and a large dance floor with a DJ. Delegates appreciated the 5pm end time of committee that day and the break before the 9pm start of the social. Many enjoyed it right up to the 12am end time which disappointed some delegates, but was necessary due to the closing time of the restaurant.

Awards

As is always the case, Sunday brought an end to the weekend’s antics and debate. Secretary General Akash took the podium during closing ceremonies to give a heartfelt speech about how much Model UN has meant to him throughout his life. And then, it was the moment everyone had been waiting for. Awards.

Delegation Awards were given out as follows:

Best Large – University of Chicago

Outstanding Large – Florida International University 

Best Small – American University

Outstanding Small – The George Washington University

American University after their Best Small Delegation award win

Individual Awards, by school, were given out as follows:

Belt and Road

Verbal – Emory

Verbal – Georgetown

Honorable – McGill

Honorable – University of Pennsylvania

Outstanding – Florida International University

Best – Michigan State University

Brexit

Verbal – American University

Verbal – University of Alabama

Honorable – Clark University

Outstanding – University of Chicago

Best – George Washington University

Pope Leo’s Cardinals

Verbal – University of Pennsylvania

Verbal – Florida International University

Honorable – McGill

Outstanding – Michigan State University

Best – Georgetown

Project Looking Glass

Verbal – University of Minnesota

Verbal – SUNY Geneseo

Honorable – George Washington University

Outstanding – McGill

Best – University of Chicago

Westphalia

Verbal – Columbia

Verbal – Georgetown

Honorable – NYU

Outstanding – Emory

Best – Princeton

Ohio Gang

Verbal – Florida International University

Verbal – Wellesley

Honorable – Seton Hall University

Outstanding – University of Chicago

Best – Indiana University

JCC Orthodox

Verbal – Fordham

Verbal – Ohio State University

Honorable – Indiana University

Outstanding – Florida International University

Best – University of Chicago

JCC Reformist

Verbal – Wheaton

Verbal – University of Chicago

Honorable – Clark University

Outstanding – Fordham

Best – Emory

Jefferson’s Cabinet

Verbal – George Washington University

Verbal – Indiana University

Honorable – American University

Outstanding – McGill

Best – University of Chicago

Pax Britannica

Verbal – McGill

Verbal – Harvard

Honorable – Florida International University

Outstanding – George Washington University

Best – American University

Ukrainian Missile Crisis

Verbal – Georgetown

Verbal – Harvard

Honorable – Alabama*

Honorable – University of Chicago*

Outstanding – American*

Best – Princeton*

*award information was given by an attending delegate, shout out to you

Facebook

Verbal – University of Chicago

Honorable – George Washington University

Outstanding – Indiana University

Best – University of Pennsylvania

CHOGM

Verbal – Harvard

Verbal – University of San Francisco

Verbal – Georgetown

Honorable – Fordham

Honorable – University of Chicago

Outstanding – Northeastern University

Best – Florida International University

Senado Federal

Verbal – Clark University

Verbal – Northeastern University

Verbal – McGill

Honorable – Georgetown

Honorable – American

Outstanding – Harvard

Best – University of Pennsylvania

Committee of 40

Verbal – Florida International University

Verbal – University of Pennsylvania

Honorable – Harvard

Outstanding – Indiana

Best – Emory

US Federal Land

Verbal – Emory

Verbal – Indiana

Verbal – Columbia

Honorable – University of San Francisco

Honorable – University of San Francisco (not a duplicate)

Outstanding – Florida International University

Best – American

Ad Hoc

Verbal – Middlebury

Verbal – Princeton

Honorable – Alabama

Outstanding – University of Chicago

Best – Harvard

Casey would also like to shoutout whoever found her water bottle and gave it to audiotorium staff that she left during closing ceremonies.

To read more about BarMUN XII click here to see the conference website. Thank you to the teams and delegates who participated in building this article with their comments, critiques, and photos. Also a thank you to BarMUN XII for providing delegation award information and quotes and statistics for the article. Congrats to all who competed in or staffed the conference!

Guest Article: Financing a Team

Article by Liliane Ventrone, MUN01 is very grateful for her contribution.

My name is Liliane Ventrone and I’m a junior at a small public school in the DMV area. I’m majoring in biological sciences, the president of our MUN team, and I work at a print shop and graphic design office on our campus. My interests in MUN have shifted from participating in the coolest committees, to being able to provide an educational, worthwhile Model UN experience to my students that I work with.

I call my university a STEM-heavy school. We’re known for our biology, engineering, and computer science departments. The social sciences, as well as arts, humanities, and anything else that falls into those categories, are much smaller departments, and consequently, less known to people outside of our university system. Another result of this is that our Model UN team is entirely student run, aside from one faculty advisor. Our coaches are students as well as handling all of the administrative processes, while sometimes participating in committees ourselves.

While this has built our leadership, money management, and conflict-resolution skills – we lack the advantage of having a full time staff or faculty member dedicated to the team, unlike other teams we have seen at competitions. Whether it be a faculty member coaching the team, or handling administrative and budgetary issues, students can only do so much. Students at other STEM-heavy schools that I have talked to have gone through similar situations as ours. This means that as student leaders, we are at the front lines of a lot of important processes, one of them being fundraising for our team – and a constant source of funds.

In the past, we have been criminally underfunded. I, personally, have had to pay for a lot of fees and I know a lot of other student leaders on my campus who have had to do the same. We’ve consistently had to stay off-site from the conference hotel – which we all know is where all of the after-hours committee work happens. At one point, we stayed in an Airbnb that one of my students complained of rat poop in her suitcase! I know that this is not just our school going to these lengths just to even get our students to conference in the first place. We’ve used shady bus services, stayed in shabby hotels, and have pretty much done everything on our end to cut the out-of-pocket costs that travel and accomodations bring.

Until there is an institutional change to provide funding for our schools, and at other STEM-heavy schools as well, we are stuck with this challenge of funding our teams to go to these expensive conferences. In my experience leading my Model UN team, I have gathered a few advice points that could be useful to other Model UN teams at STEM-heavy schools.

●     Bring your case to departments that your students belong to. Since our school has so many majors in STEM departments, we have approached the department chairs about providing some funding to the club based on membership in the major/department. Some departments may say no, but some might be willing to pitch in a couple hundred dollars. It may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, especially if you have a large team – but it adds up.

●  Continuously have smaller-scale fundraisers. For us, small-scale fundraisers like bake sales and restaurant nights do not make much money. However, in my time as president, recurring fundraisers like these build engagement among club members, as well as other students at your school.

Cut costs where you can – but not to the point where you’ll be residing in squalor. We have often stayed at off-site locations when we attend conferences, such as alternative hotels or AirBnB’s. However, when the logistical issues of your lodging start to impede on the conference experience, you have to find a balance. For example, for our New York conference we stayed in a cheap AirBnB – but one of my students found rat poop in her suitcase after!

●  Continuous crowdfunding. Having a gofundme open continuously has allowed us to collect donations throughout the academic year without putting in the effort of having many fundraisers. We’ve also found CustomInk’s crowdfunding feature – which allows you to sell merchandise and have the profits go to your team. Both of these have helped keep up the smaller expenses of our club, such as marketing materials and our website.

●   Reach out to team alumni, as well as parents/family members of club members. If your team has been around for a long time like ours (25 years this year!) there is a good chance that some of the alumni from your team will want to help out in some way or another. We have alum staffing our high school conference, as well as reaching out to their networks to help spread the word. Parents of students will also sometimes want to help out – which is great for those GoFundMe’s. My mom has our team shirt!

These are tips that I have picked up personally as I have been president of my Model UN team – every team has different dynamics and these will not be one size fits all. However, a lot of teams feel the struggle of lack of funding, and I want to be able to contribute what has helped us to be able to help other struggling teams like us.

Debate Dos and Don’ts

So you have returned to learn more about what I think you should not do in order to be successful in MUN. In this saucy little article, we will be discussing debate. Debate is truly the heart of Model UN. Crisis is very much secondary, for a good arc does not an award make. Your chair will only see your debate and only hear your arc secondhand. While you may influence a room behind the scenes in crisis, the real way to show prowess as a delegate is to debate eloquently and frequently. That’s not even to mention the fact that GA committees exist and debate is your only option. Here are some tips and tricks we at MUN01 would recommend to hone in on your debate skills to really drive your award potential home.

Do: Plan out an opening speech

This is especially important in GAs, but if your crisis room does a round robin to start committee, it’s basically the same thing. Know what you are going to say. First impressions absolutely matter and will set the tone for how you will be seen as a delegate. Don’t risk the possibility of stammering over your words and looking unprepared. Have your talking points based around your research and give a succinct speech which portrays the kind of delegate you would like to be seen as, be it aggressive, cooperative, knowledgeable, relatable, etc. Establish your brand in your opening speech, it’s important.

Don’t: Read a speech verbatim off paper

This is a big novice move in crisis committees. GAs are different and very often call for major written speeches. GA dels, write on and read those speeches with the power of a major world leader, loves ya. However, in crisis, this comes across as you being unable to think on your feet. Crisis is fast paced, and if you can only give major points in debate if you are writing down a speech beforehand, you need to practice. This is not shade! On-the-fly speaking come with time and experience. Wean yourself off of reading your speeches by limiting yourself to one or two word talking points, just so you can direct yourself.

Do: Stand by your position

You are here to represent a person or a country with defined beliefs and policies. Don’t let people sway you off of that. There are powerful and persuasive debaters out there who will try to change your mind and push you off position just to discredit you later. Don’t fall into those tactics. Stay to course and recognize that you are just as capable as them. Tip: if someone is being particularly aggressive in debate, odds are other people feel uncomfortable too. Band together and support one another, y’all can succeed I promise. 

Don’t: Yell

Omg. I have to go off on this one. DO NOT YELL IN COMMITTEE. If its a particularly heated speech and your volume increases once or twice, ok, sure. But yelling? Unnecessary. If you have to yell to have your point heard you are a weak debater. Its an intimidation tactic that needs to stop and it makes everyone else uncomfortable (and also gives people headaches). The root of Model UN is diplomacy and screaming at people is clearly not that. Please, be civil, speak in an appropriate tone.

Some others-

Do: Read the committee about standing for speeches, crisis is typically no and GA is sometimes yes

Don’t: Propose a one minute speaking time

Do: Only use the speaking time you need, don’t stretch speeches to the full time if not necessary

Don’t: Roll your eyes if the chair doesn’t call on you

Do: Avoid um’s and uhh’s. Pause to collect your thoughts instead.

Don’t: Waste a speech to speak off topic. Pay attention to what others are saying and don’t go off topic

Do: Speak often! As much as possible!

Don’t: Cross talk or interrupt. So rude and also against parli pro.

These are just some general tips, we are hoping to come out with a comprehensive debate guide soon. Til then, I hope this helps. Have fun, debate hard, and remember: don’t yell.

Conference Recap: CMUNNY XIV

On September 26th, Columbia University kicked off their 14th iteration of the CMUNNY conference. The conference was projected to host over 400 delegates, according to their website. Headed by Stephanie Choi, this year’s Secretary General, this year’s conference vision was to expand and diversify committee offerings.

CMUNNY offered a wide range of committees listed here: Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary General, Blessed are the Peacemakers, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Interplanetary Council of Affairs 2300 A.D., Amazon HQ2 Bidding Process, JFK Assassination, The London Provision for the Preservation of the Timeline, The Nobles of Mexica, Plotting Independence: Koreans in Exile, When Life Gives You Bananas: United Fruit Company, Akhenaten’s Council 1351 B.C., The End of theNew Order, The Golden Horde, Iranian Revolutionary Government, JCC: Turkish Succession Crisis 2030, La Revolución Mexicana de 1911, The Monuments Men, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Verona.

With 19 committees, CMUNNY is one of the largest conferences on the North American circuit today. It’s also one of the few conferences that offers only crisis committees, which is no small feat due to the quantity of staffers needed to support all 19 crisis committees. We asked some delegates on the circuit to share their feelings about committee. 

One American University sophomore, Simon Lux, commented on winning his first gavel in the United Fruit Company Committee, “Winning my first gavel was a surreal feeling. I put a lot of work into this conference, so to see it pay off is super rewarding. I’d have to say my teammates’ screaming reactions during the awards ceremony was the best part. it’s so awesome to have such a supporting group around me that comes from model UN!” 

However, one delegate who asked to remain anonymous, critiqued the two notepad system of the conference and the response time to receive notes back from crisis. They cited response times of 45 minutes to an hour. The delegate explained that this was equally bad for all members of his committee, but also included that the slow experience was not the same for all committees based on the feedback from the rest of their delegation.

This year, CMUNNY hosted a Saturday night delegate social at Hudson Terrace in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. 

As the weekend came to a close on the last day of the conference on September 29th, closing ceremonies brought an end to the weekend with awards announcements. Courtesy of attending delegates, MUN01 was notified of the delegation awards.

Best Large Delegation – University of Pennsylvania

Outstanding Large Delegation – Georgetown University*

Best Small Delegation – American University

Outstanding Small Delegation – University of Chicago 

*Originally MUN01 reported Harvard as the Outstanding Large Delegation, but a collegiate delegate who attended the conference alerted us to the fact that Harvard was announced as the winner at closing, but that due to a mathematical error it was in fact Georgetown University who won the award which was later corrected by the conference.

American University Delegation after their Best Small Delegation win

Regarding their Best Small Delegation win, American University Head Delegate Josh Iseler provided us this comment. “American got a fantastic start to the semester at CMUNNY.  It really helps use reflect the work we put in last year and has got us ready for more competition this season. We’re looking forward to another great year and competing with Columbia delegates on the circuit!”

Congrats on all the participants of CMUNNY XIV, those who awarded, and especially those who helped contribute to the article!

MUN01 offered CMUNNY Secretariat a chance to comment for the article, but did not receive a response. Thank you to all delegates and teams who reached out to comment on the conference and supply quotes for the article.


Read more about CMUNNY and this year’s conference on their website here.

The Pros and Cons of Different Committee Time Periods

So the time has come. You were selected to go on conference; maybe for your first, fifth, or last time. Your president or head del as sent you the list of positions allotted to your team. Now, which do you choose? A historical wartime crisis? A present day board of directors? A future interplanetary government? 

Past, present, and future committees all have their pros and cons, and preferences greatly depend on who you are as a delegate and what your research style is. Frankly, the biggest difference between these types will come before the committee starts, so don’t be discouraged if you are placed in committee outside of your preferred time period. Debate will go on (which is also my fave Celine Dion song).

Past:

A tried and true classic. An opportunity to hash out events of old and make up for the mistakes that world leaders make all while making mistakes of your own. This kind of committee is very research heavy. Historians have covered it, so you will have a plethora of information to skim over. Those who like this committee type (read: most people) feel comfortable knowing the topic at hand well, and will base their crisis arcs off of historical precedence and plausibility. The flip side of that, though, is that sometimes you can be placed within historical confines, limiting creativity. Also, if you hate research and prefer to fly by the seat of your pants, this may not be for you. In short:

Pros-

  • Easy to research
  • Established precedence
  • Fun to remake history
  • Great for history buffs

Cons-

  • Needs a lot of research
  • Can lack creativity if stuck in canon
  • Can be difficult to research or plan for if the topic/position is obscure

Present:

I feel like these committees are a bit more rare on the circuit. By present, I mean more in the modern era, or the last 10 years or so. This committee period also requires quite a bit of research, but it can be easier because you’re looking more at news articles and current affairs analysis rather than having to comb through the ancient Egyptian archives on the Met website, for example. This can also be great because you know the time period well…because you live in it. You have the best insight into the current state of the world, and may be very invested in these topics as they are happening right in front of you. However, you will likely need to stay very much in character for this, as everyone would know you were off the mark if the delegate acting as Bernie Sanders advocated against Medicare. 

Pros-

  • Easy to research
  • Familiar topics
  • Fun to solve current issues (hopefully better than current leaders)

Cons-

  • High scrutiny levels over character accuracy
  • Can be dry
  • Requires a high level of knowledge on the topic

Future:

This is one of the more ~controversial~ committee time periods. If you love it, then you LOVE it. This is not as research heavy, because, ya know, it hasn’t happened yet so the materials are slim pickings. But that doesn’t mean no research, because you need to orient yourself. This is fun for people who like supreme amounts of freedom to be creative, but not super fun for people who like to be grounded in a topic they know. If done well, these committees can be great, but a poorly written background guide and an uninformed staff with send this kind of committee spiraling way easier than the other two.

Pros-

  • Ultimate creative freedom
  • Light(ish) research load
  • Great niche to become skilled in

Cons-

  • Lack of orientation
  • Can be confusing
  • Volatile in terms of losing structure and direction quickly

Every delegate has a preference, and this article is not intended to shift yours. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll try a new time period and it’ll change your mind completely. (Doubt it, MUN people are pretty stubborn and like what they like, but it’s the thought that counts.)

Spotlight: Raise Your Placard

A few months ago, while browsing r/MUN (a common pastime of MUN01 gals), we came upon a post from a charity called Raise Your Placard. We were so moved by their mission and goals, we reached out and asked if they would write an article explaining their organization so we could help spread the word. Below is the article RYP’s leadership provided us. We are honored to share their message and are so excited to see the future successes of their organization!

Raise Your Placard is a not for profit organization founded by four Bronx High School of Science seniors. Two of the founding members, Jack Tapay and Lillian Tzanev, came from middle schools in low income neighborhoods. Both students have seen first-hand the education disparity in New York City, and both students have been profoundly impacted by Model United Nations. These students along with fellow MUN veterans, Anthony Bonavita and Jaclyn Harwood, believe that public speaking and research skills which Model UN teaches would prove to help disadvantaged students immensely. 

Model UN is not an activity only important to those wishing to enter the field of international politics. The research required for conferences, the confidence and memory required for speaking in front of a crowd, and the social skills required for winning a position of power in a room full of competitive delegates all are invaluable skills that all fields. Model UN is a fun way to acquire these skills. Model UN builds strong connections between teammates building a good environment for all kids but especially those at risk due to the environment of impoverished neighborhoods. Students will also learn diplomacy and the art of argument. MUN teaches students how to look at a conflict from every angle as students are required to represent diverse views. In addition, MUN provides an extra source for academic skill and fruitful knowledge. 

Raise Your Placard (RYP) has begun working with Bronx middle school, M.S. 101. Together, they have created a plan to establish a Model UN team at M.S. 101. Raise Your Placard will aid in creating a curriculum, and attend some of the meetings and conferences. 

RYP hopes to give these underserved middle schoolers skills they can use for their entire life as well as a better shot at succeeding in high school. Model UN can inspire a great love of learning which can motivate students to work hard and pursue their goals. Raise Your Placard also hopes to give students tools which they can use not only in any career of their choosing but in an effort to change their own communities for the better. 

Education reform is a massive issue but it begins on a small scale. Chinese philosopher, Laozi, once said “ A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”. The Raise Your Placard program hopes to be a valuable step in an ultimately larger journey. 

You can find out more about Raise Your Placard at https://www.raiseyourplacard.org/. If you have any questions or would like to reach out to RYP, their email is contact@raiseyourplacard.org.

Help Wanted: Conference Recaps

Are you a North American collegiate delegate? Are you on the Secretariat or Staff for a North American collegiate conference? We need your help!

It is our goal this season to write a conference recap for every North American collegiate conference that we can get data on to help provide delegates with a way to choose conferences in the future. This is also an opportunity to share what you’ve been up to at conference with family and friends! However, we can only really do this with YOUR participation.

Below are a list of the conferences we plan on covering through Fall 2019. An updated Spring 2020 will be published once more conference have published conference dates. If you do not see a conference listed that you are attending or hosting this fall, please email us at mun01.business@gmail.com or DM us @mun01podcast on Instagram to get the conference added.

Expected Conference Coverage Articles for Fall 2019:

  • CMUNNY XIV at Columbia University (9/26/19-9/29/19)
  • BARMUN XII at Boston University (10/3/19-10/6/19)
  • NCSC XLVII at Georgetown University (10/17/19-10/20/19)
  • SCSY XLII at Yale University (10/24/19-10/27/19)
  • TrojanMUN 2019 at University of Southern California (10/24/19-10/27/19)
  • UPMUNC 53 at University of Pennsylvania (10/31/19-11/3/19)
  • DISCon 2019 at Duke University (11/1/19-11/3/19) 
  • CIAC X at Cornell University (11/7/19-11/10/19)
  • QMUNi 2019 at Queen’s University (11/14/19-11/17/19)

Being a “Conference Reporter” requires very little effort! We promise! All you have to do is DM us or email us which conference(s) you are attending and let us know your thoughts from the weekend. We will typically publish conference reviews the Friday after the conference. (For example, the CMUNNY review will be published on 10/4.) Please have your thoughts to us ASAP! Use this format below to guide you:

  • What committee were you in? Which position did you have? Did you award?
  • Did conference weekend run smoothly? Was your chair effective? Did crisis run well?
  • Did you enjoy the socials/which did you attend?
  • Favorite parts of the weekend/anecdotes and stories!
    • You can tell us about something crazy that happened in your room or anything else you think would be fun to share with the MUN world!

Please note, if you share your thoughts from the conference weekend we will default to publishing your first name with your quote unless you ask otherwise. You can choose to include up to your full name and school or leave an anonymous response.

If you are on Secretariat/Staff for a conference it’s also pretty low effort! Just like a Conference Reporter, all you have to do is DM us or email us in advance to let us know you would like to participate. We will typically publish conference reviews the Friday after the conference. (For example, the CMUNNY review will be published on 10/4.) Please have your responses to us ASAP! Here are some things we look for from conferences:

  • A quote from the Secretary General or another member of the Secretariat or Staff
  • The number of delegates attending and the names of the delegations 
  • Awards breakdown
    • Who got the delegation awards?
    • What committee awards went to which schools?
  • Any photos or extra comments! (Not necessary but appreciated!)

Participating in the article as a conference organizer is a great way to demonstrate your conference’s commitment to sharing news with and participating in the MUN community. In return the delegates who competed get to share the article about your conference with friends and family and delegates who didn’t attend may be interested and come next year! Free publicity!

How to Dress Business Professional

The phrase “business professional dress” or “Western business professional” is one of those things that so incredibly subjective that it pretty much means nothing. That being said, here are some rules that we tend to follow when we hear this.

Before we get into this, a little note. We are big feminists. Wear whatever you want in life if it makes you feel good. That being said, there are certain things that are/aren’t appropriate in certain situations, as deemed so by society (not us). People will also 100% judge you for what you wear, as much as we wish they wouldn’t. This is sadly the world we live in. This is just us telling you (with a lot of love) what we tend to see on the circuit as far as dress code goes.

A few general rules for everyone in Western business dress:

  • Take out the tacking stitch in your jacket. For the love of everything, please do this. It is Carol’s number one pet peeve. This is a tacking stitch if you are confused. (Source)
  • Tuck in your shirt unless debate is so heated that you’re sweaty and need to cool down.
  • Please wear socks if your shoes warrant them.
  • No sneakers.
  • No T-shirts.
  • No jeans (unless its Sunday business casual, but that’s a whole other topic).

A few general rules for the ladies in Western business dress:

  • Knee-length (or at least almost knee-length) skirts or dresses.
  • Slacks that aren’t aggressively tight like leggings.
  • A generally modest shirt that isn’t too low-cut.
  • No spaghetti strap shirts without a jacket over them.
  • Optional blazer.
  • No t-shirts.
  • Closed-toe shoes – This is a huge point of contention between the three of us. We love a good, classy, strappy sandal with a sensible heel, and Kyla loves her peep-toe shoes. But for some reason closed-toe shoes are the norm.
  • Heels of a sensible height with no aggressive platforms.
  • No fishnets (you’d think we wouldn’t have to say this but we’ve seen some stuff).

A few general rules for the gentlemen in Western business dress:

  • A good suit is a good thing and you should have one.
  • Tuck in your shirt.
  • Wear either suspenders or a belt. Not both.
  • Undershirts help with sweat.
  • Match your shoes with your belt.
  • Probably learn how to tie a tie.
  • If you’re wearing a tie, make sure it’s not too long or too short. (Source)
    Related image

With these guidelines, you should easily be able to stay within the reasonable bounds of committee appropriate dress. Being appropriate doesn’t mean you can’t still look fly as hell. Maybe we will do a follow up article on our favorite conference outfits… food for thought. Regardless, if you have any really good conference looks, DM them to us @mun01podcast on Insta for a potential feature!

As always, email us at mun01.business@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or concerns!

How to Research a Crisis Position

Researching for a Model UN committee. Some love it, some hate it. Some think deep research is an invaluable part of preparing and some like to just cover the basics and see what they can do on the fly, in the room. I’m a part of the former camp, but regardless of your feelings on research it’s undeniable that you must have a baseline understanding of your position and background to succeed in committee.   

The following guide will teach you how to research a crisis position in a present or historical committee, given that the position actually existed. An article about preparing for futuristic committees with invented positions or any type of made-up position is coming soon.

The Basics

Where you should look: The Background Guide, Wikipedia (gasp), Online Encyclopedias (like Britannica), The First Page of Google 

In this portion of research I’m looking for the essential facts about my position and the world and time period the committee is set in. I would keep an eye out for position background information, maps, and major events.

Obviously, the first thing to do is read the background guide. Print out the guide. Not only will you be able to carry it into committee to reference when you need it (as most conferences do not allow electronics during committee), you can also mark up the guide by making highlights and margin notes when needed. I typically read a guide thoroughly multiple times. To find out tips and tricks to making the most out of your background guide reading, click here

When you’ve identified your position, the other positions in the room, the time period, and the historical events that start off the committee continue on to the next step. Make sure to take notes as you go, write down all the important information that you find, and highlight key points.

The next thing I do is Google my position’s name. Typically one of your top hits will be the Wikipedia page for your position. If that’s the case, click on the link to Wikipedia and begin reading. I usually print out all my major research sources resulting in the decimation of a small forest’s amount of paper and a bizarrely large stack of stapled packets. That’s up to you. I, again, like to highlight and write in the margins as ideas pop into my head or I find important facts.

I’ll also check out the Wikipedia pages for any notable events mentioned in the background guide that I’ve highlighted as well as the key locations for the committee. You want to form a holistic understanding of the world you’re operating in. Another resource for researching both the world and your position is the online Encyclopedia Britannica. I recommend using a few sources in case anything important has slipped through the cracks.    

The last thing I would do for baseline preparation is print out maps. Now, this may depend on the committee you’re in, but I’ve always been a believer in the importance of maps–even as a backup. I’ve had good luck sending maps in crisis arcs to better explain my plans and they’ve turned me into the go-to delegate to consult with during war games. Always print out a few of your committee’s location, as well as any places that might come into play mentioned in the background guide.   

Going Deeper

Where you should look: Niche Websites, Youtube Videos, Wikipedia Citations, The Second Page of Google

If you are a crazy prepper like I am, the basics are not enough to feel ready for committee. When I go into competition, I don’t just want to know who my position is, I want to be them. Having a full and complete understanding of my position allows me to take action that I feel is representative of what would actually happen from my position’s motivations and in the world. At this level I would look for my position’s interests, family/friends, education, and assets. 

During my time as training coordinator I created a crisis committee research outline which is loosely based on Rutgers University “The Crisis Handbook v1.2” (an awesome guide which is available online, for free at the time this article was written). You can access the crisis committee research outline, also free, by clicking here or under the Training Materials tab. This outline helps breakdown the most important aspects to understanding your position and your position’s motivations.

This research is a great way to spark ideas for a crisis arc and, at the very least, will give you a good idea of resources you can use either in your arc or in a pinch. Typically I derive my crisis arcs from my position’s interests and job history. I’ll use family and friends as contacts to help me in my arc, draw upon skills and contacts from education, and use my assets in my plan. This isn’t to say that coming up with an unrelated arc is a bad idea, this is just an easy path to creating one. It also provides assets and contacts to use down the line if you find yourself needing them. We’ll have an article about building a crisis arc soon!   

At this level, I would research more about the society my committee is set in at a macro level. I would look at the history of the central topic, how society functions at this time period, and the actors in recent history who have affected the topic.  

YouTube videos, especially if you’re in a complex committee with a background unfamiliar to you, can be a lifesaver in breaking down intricate political and economic ideas. The CrashCourse channel is fantastic for anything ranging from history to technology to science to economics. (They even have videos on public speaking and projecting confidence, but I digress). Understanding the context of your position within the committee and then the context of your committee within the outside world is important!

How Did I Even Get Here

Where you should look: Google Books (Autobiographies, Biographies, Textbooks, Historical Books, Books Your Position Wrote), Full-Length Documentaries, The Tenth Page of Google, Bing?

If you’ve reached this point in research, congrats! You’re officially as crazy as I am. All of my teammates know I’m insane like this, but it’s what has worked for me. Again, disclaimer, everyone performs differently. I’m here to share how I succeed in committee through research. 

At this level I would do a cursory search on the background of other positions. I would also look for niche facts about my position that would help give me ideas for interesting crisis arc ideas and resources. To sum it up, the importance of this level is to look for more assets and standout crisis ideas. Sometimes I struggle coming up with a unique crisis idea (trying to differentiate myself from the age old cult arc) and I’ve based entire arcs off of something I’ve seen in a documentary or a line from a Google Book. 

This is where I finalize my confidence in the subject going into committee. Most research at this point will serve to reinforce the research you’ve already done, but there can still be new facts and stories that affect how you approach committee. Just doing a brief skim of the Wikipedia pages for other positions can also give you an idea of what others may be up to over the weekend. All of this information should come together to shape your debate, your crisis arc, and your general committee attitude. 

Like it is said, everyone researches differently to prepare for Crisis Committees! Questions, comments, and concerns can be shared with us at mun01.business@gmail.com or through our “Contact” page. All feedback is appreciated!

Joint Crisis Notes

What is a joint crisis note?

If you already know what crisis committees are, joint crisis notes (JCNs) are pretty easy to understand. If you don’t know what a crisis committee is, click here to learn more about the committee structure you use joint crisis notes in. A joint crisis note is, as its name suggests, used in a crisis committee. While typically a delegate would send personal notes, crisis notes, to complete actions through crisis and directives to complete actions through committee, JCNs serve as a medium point between these two choices. JCNs are notes to crisis authored by more than one delegate in the committee. They could also be, in the case of joint crisis committees (JCCs), notes authored between delegates on opposing sides of the room to take action through crisis while in different rooms. Read more about JCCs here. Usually, these two or more delegates are working together with their joint power to affect the room through crisis.

What are the benefits of a joint crisis note?

As previously stated, joint crisis notes are a way for multiple delegates to join their personal powers through crisis. One of the largest benefits of a JCN is that two or more delegates, if they write a solid note and work together effectively, can heavily influence debate. Anecdotally, I’ve found that crisis directors and crisis rooms really enjoy seeing JCNs. From what I’ve seen in committee, JCNs have a higher success rate as the crisis room likes to utilize them to help build the committee arc. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have your own, well-thought-out arc, but that demonstrating you can work effectively in different ways in-room and out-of-room is important for your success as a delegate.

For example, in one of the committees I was in at CIAC, I was in a JCC for the Peloponnesian War. I, as an Athenian delegate on one side, was able to contact a Spartan delegate on the other who held an important piece of land in the battle to eventually flip him to our side. Through JCNs, we were able to have this happen with negotiations through crisis. When he eventually joined our side, we gained an important ally in the battle. Although Athens ended up losing the war, I believe the JCNs I wrote with the other delegate helped us both stand out in committee to award.

What are the negatives of a joint crisis note?

Joint crisis notes are not without their risks. When you open yourself to working with others through crisis, you are also allowing your position to become vulnerable to them through crisis. You are also allowing for yourself to be potentially exposed by your bloc writing the JCN if the note is nefarious. If a delegate you worked with decides to play your actions against you in the future, you could find yourself facing restrictions, trials, and death penalties in your committee. 

For example, in Episode #9 of our podcast (listen to it here) we talk to a delegate, Stephen, who used a JCN work with a delegate that he wanted to assassinate to further his own arc. Through a JCN, he ensured that the delegate would be invited over his house for dinner, where he kidnapped them through his own personal crisis notes. The delegate was later fed to the tigers at the zoo Stephen owned, but you can hear more about that by listening. The delegate fell prey to lowering their own guard with their JCN partner and that was their own downfall. 

The Ultimatum

Joint crisis notes, in my opinion, are a very powerful tool in displaying your abilities as a delegate, as a negotiator, and as a creative thinker. A successful joint crisis note can prove that you can work well in all levels of debate and crisis. However, delegates need to be aware of the potential for a JCN to be exposed by their allies. When writing a JCN, keep your guard up, don’t give too much away about your own arc, and work with those in committee who have been proven trustworthy. JCNs are the time to demonstrate your abilities to covertly collaborate with others in the room and if you can succeed, you can pull off some seriously impressive moves.