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.

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!