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.     

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.

MUN conference placard

What is a Crisis Committee?

Crisis committees are like General Assembly committees in the sense that they both follow Parliamentary Procedure, focus on solving a problem, and (if you’re in a good room) incite lively debate. That’s about where the similarities end. 

Basic Structure

Crisis committees are based around a central situation, the “crisis,” which delegates are pushed to solve over the course of the committee. For example, a common crisis committee topic is the American Revolutionary War. For a committee like this, delegates may be starting debate in the middle of a battle and have to come up with battle plans, or they may be at the tail end of the war and have to start building a government. In crisis committees, delegates are typically given people, characters, or specific positions (e.g. Russian Embassy Official, Senior VP of Marketing) to represent rather than acting as a country representative. 

In-Room vs. Out-of-Room

In the committee room, debate will often focus on the bigger problems at hand. Oftentimes solving these problems in only a few committee sessions is a lofty goal. How do you stop human trafficking globally while also trying to crack down on the black market sale of illegal weapons used by traffickers? I’d go so far as to say that the point of committee is rarely to completely solve a problem, but rather to make some sort of progress towards solving a small part of the problem. Sure, it would be nice to find a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I doubt that a room full of high school or college delegates can do that over the course of a weekend (but if you can, you’d probably receive some sort of Nobel Prize). Delegates in the room will likely try to be cooperative – this is often because they are doing something shady outside of the committee room through the crisis team.

The Crisis Room

There are two rooms in crisis committees – the debate room and the crisis room. The crisis room is where staffers from the conference answer notes from delegates regarding the committee and their personal plan for how they want their position to affect committee. This plan is called an “arc.” A crisis arc is used by a delegate to influence actions in the debate room and also affect the outcome of committee through actions not taken in the debate room.

For example, if a delegate’s position in a committee structured like a political cabinet was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the goal of the committee was to solve some sort of environmental crisis, the delegate could use their individual powers (called “portfolio powers”) as the Sec. of HUD to start research into more sustainable construction practices. Since this isn’t an issue that the whole committee might be interested in, that delegate could send a note to crisis saying something along the lines of “please reach out to scientists in my department and tell them to look into more sustainable ways to build housing.” We’ll break down crisis arcs and how to do them properly in a separate article. What you should know for now is that every delegate in the room could potentially be working on a secret plan to impact committee, and that plan isn’t always positive.

Crisis Notes

Crisis notes are how delegates in the debate room communicate plans for their personal arc to staffers in the crisis room. They can be anywhere from one sentence to a full page long – different conferences prefer different styles of notes and it’s often a game of trial-and-error to see what the crisis staff responds to best. One thing to note with crisis notes is specificity. The more specific your notes (try to answer who, what, when, where, and sometimes why in your notes) the better your response is going to be. Also try and make sure that there are no errors in your spelling in the notes – instead of sending 50 planes to rescue people, you could send 50 plans because you simply forgot an “e.”

Tips and Tricks (without getting too in-depth)

  • Be specific in and out of room! Specificity in your speaking, directives, and crisis notes will let other delegates and staff know that you know what you’re talking about and may increase your chances of awarding.
  • Creativity is big, especially when it comes to crisis notes. The more interesting a note or arc is, the better your responses from crisis are likely to be. This doesn’t mean you should go off-position though – if your position wouldn’t do something in real life, it’s very likely crisis won’t let you do it in committee. 
MUN delegate writing on legal pad

What is a JCC?

JCC, The Acronym

We all know that Model United Nations, MUN, loves acronyms. To learn more about MUN acronyms and terms, check out our official MUN Term Glossary. JCC stands for “Joint Crisis Committee.” As the name would imply, JCCs are crisis committees, meaning they follow crisis procedure. You can read more about crisis committees here. Before launching yourself into the world of JCCs, you should have a strong grasp on crisis committee procedure and how crisis powers function. However, JCCs are special in that they are not only one committee room.

The Structure

So if a JCC is not made up of one committee room, how many are there exactly? Typically, JCCs are made up of two, separate committee rooms. However, some conferences are experimenting with “JCCs” that are, in reality, three, four, five, or more committee rooms. Regardless of the size of a JCC, the rest of the structure remains the same. The committee rooms in a JCC are separate in their physical location, but united under the same committee topic. Take the most fundamental JCC, the war themed JCC, for example. One committee room can be on one side of the war while the other committee room is on the other side of the war. A popular committee for this type is the American Revolution. One room would be the British and the other would be the American Revolutionaries. 

To summarize, JCCs are often two, separate committee rooms (sometimes more) that are battling against each other. Crisis operates in the same universe and actions from one committee can affect the other. Usually there is a “win condition” that will end the committee on Sunday morning with one room being victorious over the other. Typically JCCs will be themed as wars (cold or regular) and have a high likelihood of war games happening.

How Should I Prepare for Committee?

Alright, so you volunteered or were volun-told to be in a JCC. What now? Hopefully, you’ve already got your crisis game down. This isn’t to say your first ever committee shouldn’t be a JCC. In fact, my first committee was a five way JCC. Hear all about that in Episode #3 of the podcast here. Just make sure you know crisis procedure and that you understand the powers of crisis notes well. From there, follow the normal steps to research your crisis position and prepare your arc. We have multiple articles on how to do this from background guide strategies to questions you can ask yourself while reading one.  Keep in mind that everybody’s strategy for a JCC differs. You can go into committee and play anything from the strong leader fighting for your side’s cause to the traitor feeding information to the other side. Make sure to read up on your position and understand their motivations and figure out a strategy that will work with that as well as your own strong suits.

For JCCs, you will need to go the extra step in researching a bit about the other side. Read their background guide, if it’s a separate document, and take note of a couple things. 

  • What is their motivation in the fight? (Land, wealth, information, control, etc.)
  • What positions are in the other room? (Who you should worry about and who you can work with)
  • What kind of resources do they have? (What kind of things can they use on your side)

What Will I See in a JCC?

In every JCC I’ve ever been in, there’s always someone, two, or three who feeds information to the other side. There’s always been the leader rallying people against the other side. There’s always been the loud dissident fighting for the cause but against the leader. These are all archetypes that you will see in a normal crisis committee except for the first. You need to be aware that nothing you say or do in committee will stay secret within the room. Another new aspect to committee will be the communication that is available between the two committee rooms. You’ll be able to create crisis arcs that involve both rooms and may even be able to meet face to face for secret hallway meetings.

Parting Words

Don’t be scared about going into a JCC. If you understand crisis, going into a JCC will feel familiar, but with fun, fresh aspects that will keep committee engaging and exciting. It’s always interesting to battle against the crisis room in a typical committee, but it’s a whole new level to battle against another room full of delegates. 

This article covers a topic that was discussed in Episode #14 of the MUN01 Podcast. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Questions, comments, and concerns can be shared with us at or through our “Contact” page. All feedback is appreciated!

Gavels over Model UN name placards

What is a General Assembly Committee?

When the typical person envisions Model UN, it is likely that they will immediately picture a General Assembly (GA) committee. This is the ~classic~ form of MUN which has sprouted all the other fun variations that we have talked about (i.e. Crisis).

GA Structure

In my opinion, the best way to describe a GA committee is that it mimics the actual UN. While Crisis committees can cover any topic in the world and can have several different structures, a GA is traditionally a more literal interpretation of what the United Nations does. Many of these committees will follow actual UN bodies, like DISEC, UNODC, or UNHRC. The topics in these committees tend to be historical or current day, as they will either allow you the opportunity to go back and solve a real world global crisis as the UN in a way which you think would have been better, or take on a current global issue that hasn’t quite been handled yet. A good example of this would be UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime) covering the topic of international drug trafficking. This is a very real issue that the UN would potentially pass a resolution on. Furthermore, to keep with UN structure, delegates will typically represent countries instead of individuals. Therefore, you have to know your nation’s foriegn policy, heads of state and government, and allies. For more info on how to prep for a GA, see our article on pre-conference research.While this is the standard way that GAs work, that is not to say there are not other GA style committees that are futuristic or that act as non-UN bodies, it is just less common. I’ll get more into the unconventional GA styles in a bit.

How GAs Run

As far as the way the committee runs, it is an amalgamation of parliamentary procedure, debate, and writing. Parli pro is far more stringent in GA committees. Now, I’m not trying to intimidate you, everyone can always improve on parli pro and mistakes happen to beginners and advanced delegates alike. However, the function of the committee is much more dependent on the structure of traditional parli pro than in a crisis committee. For a more expanded view of how the parli pro works and in what order things happen, see our outline of GA parliamentary procedure. 

Debate is vital in GA committees, mostly because there is no other aspect of committee. There are no crisis notes in a standard GA committee, you may only write notes to fellow delegates (which you should absolutely do to plan ideas for resolutions and build alliances). Because of the lack of crisis, your speaking is the most important part of your performance. Come in knowledgeable and ready to think on your feet, because speeches will make or break your award potential. Unmoderated caucuses will also be vital to your success in a GA. This is the time where you will convince people to believe in your proposed solution. Charm their pants off, have answers to their questions, and rebut the opponents. For more info on unmods and how to become a superstar at them, click here.

Writing is the other major aspect of a GA, as the committee will culminate in the passing of a resolution, which is a very large, comprehensive, and collaborative piece meant to solve the issue at hand. Generally, two resolutions will be presented, one from each block (a group of allies that are working for the same solution), but only one will be passed. If both are passed, any parts of the second resolution that contradict the first resolution will hold true over the first. Resolutions, like most GA things, are more structured than their crisis counterpart: directives. Preambulatory clauses, operative clauses, signatories, sponsors; it’s all a little convoluted. However, it can be learned pretty easily with some practice. See our article on writing resolutions to learn more about the process (wow how many self-promos is that now? 6?). 

Unconventional GAs

I won’t spend too much time on this, because this is supposed to be an into article, i suppose. However, I think it’s important to mention the fact that there are some kinds of GA committees that don’t quite fit into what I previously described. There are futuristic committees that may fall into a GA style, like an intergalactic governing council. There, too, may be a committee that doesn’t have you act as a country but rather as an individual, like a board of directors of a major company. You may also find yourself in an “adjusted crisis” committee. Don’t panic if that’s the case, you’ll make it. Generally, those are a GA style committee with resolutions and all the typical things, but they allow crisis notes in some capacity. It may be limited crisis powers or you may have to send group notes to encourage cooperation. However it is structured, it should be outlined in the background guide (read this to learn how to use a background guide well). If not, ask your chair! They’ll gladly explain, its their job.

Final Thoughts

GAs often get a bad rap from crisis delegates and are seen as stuffy and hoity-toity versions of the scrappy and often silly crisis committees. However, without GA, we wouldn’t have crisis, so lets collectively pour one out for the homies who choose to devote their MUN careers to mastering the fickle art of the GA. If you are a debate person, a UN, history, or international relations junkie, or just got excited by this article, this style of committee may be for you. Long live the GA dels (and the crisis dels that got their start in GA, like me). I hope this gave you an idea of what you are getting yourself into and will give you a basic roadmap for success in committee. Good luck!

MUN Term Glossary

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

MUN: An acronym that stands for Model UN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delegate: A person who participates in Model UN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaggle of gavels

Conference Packing List

So… you’re going to conference. If you’re anything like the three of us, you’ve now waited until the night before you leave to pack for the weekend. If you’re anything like Carol, you’re stressed about this. Here you will find an (almost) comprehensive list of everything you should pack for you exciting weekend getaway to the great land of debate.


  • Underwear! As a life rule, always bring more pairs than you think you’re going to need. 
  • Depending on the number of days of the conference, at least one business formal outfit for each day. Carol sometimes brings five, but that’s because she’s indecisive and changes her mind constantly. 
  • A casual pair of pants
  • A few casual tops for non-committee events
  • Comfortable clothes for sleeping in
  • Business professional shoes to match your committee outfits
  • Comfortable shoes for when your feet start hurting
  • Ties, if that applies to you
  • Belts, also if that applies to you
  • A coat if it’s going to be cold

Committee Things

  • A legal pad for writing notes
  • A padfolio if you’re like us and like to look important
  • Multiple pens or pencils because you will definitely lose some
  • A stapler so you can be *that delegate* with the stapler when someone needs it


  • A toothbrush 
  • Toothpaste
  • Makeup (if you wear it)
  • Face wash
  • A hairbrush
  • Whatever hair products you may need
  • Multiple hair ties to tie up your hair during lively debate and since people always need them


  • A speaker to blast your chosen conference playlist while you get ready
  • Snacks
  • A water bottle (if you’re like Kyla and Casey and carry one around at all times like it’s your child, or if you’re like Carol and lose one almost every conference)
  • A bang-up attitude and some moxie!

Good luck and god-speed!

Mun gavel with hand in front of United Nations logo

What is Model UN?

Trying to describe or define Model United Nations is a lofty task. When you tell someone that you compete in Model UN, or you list it on your resume, there are inevitably questions about what Model UN really is. However, there’s not one sentence that can sum up exactly what it means to be a participant in Model UN, or what the competition itself even entails. The reason simply is that Model UN can mean a lot of different things.

Other Definitions

Wikipedia begins its article on Model UN by defining it as, “an educational simulation and/or academic activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations” (Wikipedia), but reading that sentence doesn’t relate well to what I do when I say Model UN. In its 2007 article also titled, “What is Model United Nations?” Best Delegate sought to answer the same question. Best Delegate also begins their article with the same style of response, “Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an extra-curricular activity in which students typically roleplay delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees” (Best Delegate). I don’t think that relates to what I do either. So what do I think Model United Nations is?

Answering the Question

Model United Nations is an activity that focuses on the use of debate, creative writing, problem solving, and role-play to resolve issues using Model UN rules of procedure. This activity can relate to United Nations bodies, but often does not. The goal of the activity is to step into the shoes of another country or person to resolve issues surrounding a certain topic that is at hand. Delegates, the students who compete in Model UN, compete to win awards for those who best encompass the qualities mentioned above.

The Structure of Model UN

There is really no exact structure of a Model UN committee. To summarize, Model UN is a club or class that students from middle school through college can participate in. Each individual club is a team that often trains together to improve their ability to compete with other teams at a conference. At a conference, delegates are split up into different committees. Each committee has a set topic, but can vary in style and procedure. There are two main types of committees: General Assembly (GA) and Crisis.

General Assembly Committees

General Assembly committees are what people typically think of as Model UN, generally because of representation in the media (looking at you, Parks and Rec). Delegates role-play as different countries in this style and the committee body is typically one from the United Nations, like DISEC for example. Delegates typically have a couple topics within the purview of that committee to discuss and come into committee with plenty of background research in the topics to be discussed and the country they are representing. The committee seeks to come to a cohesive resolution, a final document outlining new policy measures, for each topic at hand. A more nuanced description of this type of committee can be found in our What is a General Assembly Committee? article.

Crisis Committees

Though most non-delegates are unaware of this structure, it is undeniable that Crisis committees are on the rise, certainly within the collegiate level of Model UN. Crisis committees take the core of Model UN, and turn it into an even more fast-paced, creative, and competitive endeavor. Using a looser, more informal, but equally important Model UN procedure, Crisis delegates step into the role of an individual in a committee is not a United Nations body. These committees can be historic, present day, or future organizations–real or invented. While GA committees typically only discuss a few topics that are made known before the competition, Crisis committees prepare delegates only for the first topic at hand. New crises (hence the name) can occur at any time. This pushes crisis delegates to be quick thinkers and efficient problem solvers. Crisis delegates can also write notes to the “outside world” and influence the crises that affect committee. In addition, Crisis committees do not culminate in large resolutions, but directives. These are similar in goal, but are shorter and directed at solving the individual crises that arise. There is much more to be said about this complex style of committee that can be found in the What is a Crisis Committee? article.

Parting Remarks

There is no one article that can possibly describe Model UN perfectly. There are so many different styles and values that one can attribute to the umbrella term of “Model United Nations.” However, it would be limiting to say that MUN delegates only deal with the United Nations and its member countries. However, it can be said that Model UN delegates train to become the best debaters, creative thinkers, problem solvers, delegates, and policy writers they can be, in whatever style of competition they are involved with.

Like we said above, one article can not possibly encompass all aspects of Model UN. Questions, comments, and concerns can be shared with us at or through our “Contact” page. All feedback is appreciated!