Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an extracurricular activity in which students typically role-play delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees.The Model UN committees take up agendas and the delegates debate and discuss their country’s position on the same. At the end of MUN conferences, outstanding delegates in each committee are recognized and given an award/cash prize and a certificate.
FLOW OF DEBATE ( Rule Of Procedures)
Like in real UN bodies, Model United Nation conferences adopt rules of procedure to establish when a delegate speaks and what he or she must address.These rules of procedures vary from conference to conference.All the conferences generally either follow United Nations rules or Robert’s Rule of Order.
The flow of debate in UNA-USA Rule of Procedures is as follows:
- Roll Call: Every committee has an executive board consisting of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Rapporteur. The Chairperson will announce each country’s name. After delegates hear their country’s name being called out, they should answer in “Present” or “Present and Voting”. The difference lies in abstaining from voting. That means if you say “Present”, you can either wish to vote for Draft Resolutions or u can wish not to vote for it (i.e. you can abstain from voting). But if you say “Present and Voting”, you’ll have to vote either in favor or against the Draft Resolution. You cannot abstain from voting.
- Setting the Agenda: When Model UN committees have more than one topic available, the body must set the agenda to begin working on one of these issues. At this time, a delegate typically makes a motion, stating “The delegate of [ Country/ Representative name] would like to set the agenda as [Topic]”. Then the committee would go for a voting and the topic which gets the maximum votes is chosen as the agenda. In case there’s only one topic, the agenda is by default set.
- Debate: Formal Debate: Formal debate revolves around a General Speakers List (GSL). It is established by stating “The delegate of [ Country/ Representative name] would like to establish a GSL.” The Chair begins by asking all delegates interested in addressing the other members to raise their placards. The Chair then chooses delegates to be placed on the speaker’s list. A country may only be on the speaker’s list once, but delegates may add their country to the end of the list after their speech.
- When the session begins, speeches focus on stating country positions and offering recommendations for action.
- Delegates now make statements describing their draft resolutions to the committee. Delegates make statements supporting or disagreeing with specific draft resolutions.
- Delegates try to garner more support through formal speeches and invite others to offer their ideas.
Informal Debate: Informal debate involves discussion outside of the speaker’s list.It can be of two forms moderated caucuses and unmoderated caucuses.
- After several countries state their positions, the committee breaks for caucuses (often in blocs) to develop regional positions.
- Writing begins as countries work together to compose draft resolutions. Countries and groups meet to gather support for specific draft resolutions
- Delegates finalize draft resolutions.Draft-resolution sponsors build greater support for their resolution and look to incorporate others’ ideas through friendly amendments.
During moderated caucuses, the Chair calls on delegates one-by-one so that each can address the committee in short speeches. The motion to initiate the Moderated Caucus is set as “The delegate of [ Country/ Representative name] would like to suspend the formal debate and move into a moderated caucus on the topic being [Topic] for a total time of [minutes, maximum 20 mins] and individual speaker’s time [seconds, maximum 90 seconds]”.
During unmoderated caucuses, the committee breaks for a temporary recess so that delegates may meet with each other and discuss ideas.
The motion to initiate the Unmoderated Caucus is set as “The delegate of [Country/ Representative name] would like to suspend the formal debate and move into an unmoderated caucus for a total time of [10-20 minutes].”
The motion is then voted upon by delegates. The motion(s) can be extended by maximum 50% of total time of the same.
- Close of Debate: Once the speaker’s list is exhausted, the committee automatically moves to voting. Also, once a delegate feels that his or her country’s position is clear to others and that there are enough draft resolutions on the floor, he or she may make a motion to proceed into the voting procedure by moving for the closure of debate.
- Voting Procedures: Once a motion to close debate has been approved, the committee moves into voting procedure. Amendments are voted on first, then resolutions. Once all of the resolutions are voted on, the committee moves to the next topic on the agenda.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS FOR MUN
- First, you should thank the presiding official by saying “Thank you Mr./ Madame/ Honourable Chair/ President…”
- Then begin by providing a brief history on the issue as it relates to your country. Speak about how the issue is currently affecting your country.
- Provide your country’s stance on the issue. Include an explanation for your country’s stance, such as economic or security concerns or political or religious ideology.
- You may choose to give an explanation of how your country’s position relates to the positions of other member states such as the major powers or countries in your regional bloc.
- You should discuss some of the past actions taken by the UN, member states and NGOs to address the issue.
- Present ideas for a resolution, stressing your country’s objectives for the resolution. Explain why your country does or does not support other draft resolutions. Talk about the role that NGOs or regional organizations have to play in addressing the issue. Indicate to the committee members whether your country is willing to negotiate.
- Encourage collaboration among member states by proposing ways that your country would be willing to work with other member states. By referring to what other delegates have said, you can show support for your allies or indicate which proposals your country is against.
8 popular Model United Nations organized in the Indian colleges:
- Chaitanya Bharti Institute of Technology (CBIT), Hyderabad
CBITMUN was the first of its level in Hyderabad. In the maiden year itself, they had 200 delegates from 12 countries. It is one of the most acclaimed MUNs in South India.
- Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar
KIIT Model United Nations Society organizes the KIIT International MUN every year in Bhubaneswar. It was the largest MUN in Eastern India in its first year and the largest MUN in Asia in its second year.
- Government Law College, Mumbai
GLCMUN has been renowned for its excellent quality debate. In 2016 they organized the 8th edition of GLCMUN
- St. Stephen’s College, Delhi
Stephen’s MUN is very interactive and educational. The formats for the MUN committees are extensively researched and designed. The committees constitute to make St. Stephen’s MUN unique.
- VIT University, Vellore
VIT’s Model United Nations was held for the first time in 2009. It is one of the largest MUN in South India. VITMUN has collaborated with the heforshe campaign, the UNIC and YLC (A UNESCO GAMAG Organisation ). They’ve also gotten endorsements from Mr. Ban Ki Moon himself.
- School of Law, Christ University
School of Law, Christ University International Model United Nations Conference (SLCU MUN) was held for the first time in 2013. The had approximately 200 delegates from all over India and Lebanon. They are famous for their good quality debate and hospitality.
- Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Shirpur
They organized their first MUN in the year 2009 with 60 delegates.They have partnered with initiatives such as IARC’s Rio +20.Here the desalinated and water conservation suggestions discussed in the UNEP committee were forwarded to the United Nations.
- Symbiosis Law College, Pune
The MUN of Symbiosis college is organized at the time of Symbhav, the annual cultural fest.It is considered to be one of the best MUN in the country for its quality of debate.The fifth edition of Symbhav MUN was held in 2016.
So, one can conclude that Model United Nations conferences indeed give unique experiences. They help you interact with people from all over the world, overcome the fear of public speaking, become acquainted with diplomacy and international issues and enhance your leadership skills.Everybody should participate in these at least once.