Yasmine A.

Nov 06, 2021

Soft Skills - The Hidden Curriculum of MUN: Part III

By Ioana Staicu, Lindsey High, Xuan Zi Han

** This article is adapted from the workshop conducted by the MUN Department of United Nations Association Youth Platform - UK (UNAYP) during the 1st edition of the UK UN Youth Summit 2021. **


What about Chairs?
The 2nd group of key stakeholders that lead the conference and mould Delegates are “Chairs,” also known as Committee Directors. Just like Delegates, there are different archetypes of Chairs. 

Strict Chairs are likely to follow the Rules of Procedure (ROP) very firmly and expect Delegates to do the same. Being rigid in their ways, they will follow the MUN format and decorum very strictly. For example, they will prefer Delegates who are aware of how to raise a point or motion and the relevant language that is employed in doing so. Similarly, they will award Delegates who follow the formats of documentation, such as Working Papers and Draft Resolutions. 

Second, Chairs can be described as “Strategic or Diplomatic”, as they award Delegates who harness their diplomacy and strategic skills. Such Chairs will pay close attention to how Delegates form ties and lobby in the Committee, especially in unmoderated caucuses. They will award the strategic, diplomat or even the bloc leader Delegate for their efforts in advocating for their blocs and their interests, floating between blocs to make allies, as well as bringing blocs and countries together. These Chairs prioritise two key characteristics: lobbying and negotiation. Hence, standing out in unmoderated caucuses is crucial. 

Third, some Chairs are the “Public Speaker” and award Delegates on their public speaking skills. The Public Speaker Chairs will focus on a Delegate’s speeches, namely the structure, rhetoric, content and public speaking style the Delegate delivers. Hence, keeping your hand up in moderated caucuses and substantively leading the debate is pivotal if you have a Public Speaker Chair.

Fourth, the “Writer/Author” Chairs focus on how well and correctly formatted the documents such as Position Papers, Working Papers, and Draft Resolutions are written. Is the writing clear and concise? Can the reader understand the stance, national interests, and aim of the Delegate in the Committee? Are the solutions or Operative Clauses in the Draft Resolution clear, understandable, and effective? Is the language too superfluous and verbose? 

Lastly, just like Delegates, Chairs fall on a spectrum. Chairs may have most or all the above-mentioned characteristics, prioritising each of them equally or one more than the other. Nevertheless, Chairs can also be empowered to judge and mentor better. First, Chairs must be communicative and approachable. They should explain and repeat ROPs and formats of documentation, clearing out any confusion. This key characteristic will enable Delegates, especially novices, to perform more effectively in MUN.  

Second, through the approachable nature of Chairs, they should ease Delegates into the conference, via ice-breaker questions or quizzes and introductions. Also, Delegates should be encouraged to attend and engage in socials, allowing them to make friends, foster connections, and become acquainted with their Chairs. Gossip boxes and light-hearted entertainment sessions during Committee are a plus too!

Third, Chairs must be very organised. They should use tools such as a Debate Tracker, Google Sheets/Docs or hardcopy notes to pen down the flow of debate and the strengths and weaknesses of Delegates. Moreover, it is imperative that Chairs have feedback sessions, where they can provide one-on-one critique and general critique, as well as allow Delegates to give them feedback. 


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Yasmine A.

Oct 09, 2021

Soft Skills - The Hidden Curriculum of MUN: Part II

By Ioana Staicu, Lindsey High, Xuan Zi Han

** This article is adapted from the workshop conducted by the MUN Department of United Nations Association Youth Platform - UK (UNAYP) during the 1st edition of the UK UN Youth Summit 2021. **


What Types of Delegates are there? 

As the ‘loudest voice in the club’, the powerhouse Delegate clearly makes an impression on the committee. They stand their ground in an assertive and confident manner, tend to dominate unmoderated caucuses, and can appear uncompromising at times. Such behaviour is evidently compatible with, but not limited to, the P5 profiles in the Security Council. Their presence and visibility are well appreciated, though they can afford to be more inclusive in listening to and validating the ideas of others.

 The bloc leader serves as the lead advocate or representative of a bloc and is usually recognised as the ‘first among equals’. They are most adept at organising and mobilising an alliance. By serving as the main sponsor of a draft resolution, they play an integral role in gathering and speaking for the voices and perspectives of like-minded states in the bloc. Examples of such representation can include France/Germany on behalf of the European Union and Indonesia on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the same time, they will be on the lookout for competing blocs and scrutinise their proposals and policies with great detail. 

 The strategic Delegate thinks, first and foremost, in terms of interests, not friends or enemies. They tend to float between blocs and are capable of manipulating alliances and antagonisms in their favour. They tend to make opportunistic interventions (be it through points of information, lobbying, and draft amendments), and their adaptability can be reflected by their sensitivity to dynamic developments within the committee.  

The diplomat Delegate is clearly most likely to become the next UN Secretary-General. They are especially capable of bridging gaps between blocs to facilitate reconciliation. Furthermore, their tactful and balanced nature means that their choice of words and actions is usually intentional and mindful. Notably, they are acutely aware of their country’s bottom lines but willing to trade minor concessions for core national interests. 

The quiet Delegate is, essentially, everyone on their first conference. They are still figuring it out in the foreign world of MUN, writing down speeches before speaking, choosing to yield the time to the Chair 100% of the time, and standing by the sidelines during unmoderated caucuses. However, this is more often than not a phase that they will transition out of as they participate in more conferences. 

Having outlined the 5 archetypes of Delegates, it is important to note that most Delegates will lie along the spectrum and may adopt multiple postures during a conference (and reasonably so). Ultimately, we think that delegates should find a MUN style that both helps them succeed in conferences and also is most aligned with their authentic self. In this way, they can maximise their chances of having a fun and rewarding experience!

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Yasmine A.

Aug 29, 2021

Soft Skills - The Hidden Curriculum of MUN: Part I

By Ioana Staicu, Lindsey High, Xuan Zi Han

** This article is adapted from the workshop conducted by the MUN Department of United Nations Association Youth Platform - UK (UNAYP) during the 1st edition of the UK UN Youth Summit 2021. **


If you have ever been part of a Model UN club, society, or even conference, you most likely had the opportunity to read numerous articles on how to perform in these simulations. Constructing your argument, writing a position paper and a good speech, as well as what on earth you should write in the preambulatory clauses - these are just a few of the staple things MUNers read about when preparing for a session. 

However, what is not explored as much, are the 'unwritten rules' of MUN, the subtle cues and personality dynamics that everyone witnesses but no one really discusses. We all know that there are 'quiet' vs 'loud' Delegates or 'chilled-out' vs 'strict' Chairs, but did you know that there is a spectrum for both categories, rather than two polar opposites?
Also, remember those people who say that 'MUN is just roleplay with no consequence'? Well, there are actually lots of applications and transferable skills that you can use not only in your academic endeavours but also in your personal life. (Take that, nay-sayers!) 

Sounds interesting, right? Read on so we can spill the tea on the 'hidden curriculum' of MUN and give you some tips on how to best harness those soft skills to become your best MUN self! 

 MUN 101

Model United Nations is, as we all may know, a type of simulation that imitates the procedures and debates at the United Nations. This activity aims to find solutions for real-world problems through discussions, debates, lobbying/negotiations and drafting resolutions. All around the world, Model UN is carried out in high school and university-level societies, as well as in their own dedicated conferences. 

What do Delegates and Chairs do, again?
I'm glad you asked - let us break it down for you:

The Delegates' main goal:  represent a country's interests.

Other roles:
  • debate, discuss and negotiate with other Delegates
  • vote on motions, amendments and resolutions
  • draft working papers and resolutions to solve the issue at hand
  • follow the Rules and Procedures specific to the committee + any other directions from the Chairs

The Chairs' main goal:  impartially moderate the debates/discussions.

Other roles:
  • encourage Delegates to speak (especially beginners/shy ones)
  • approve amendments/resolutions
  • take notes on the arguments presented and the blocs formed during lobbying sessions
  • make sure the Delegates respect the ROP
  • give the Best Delegate awards

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Alexander Kapp

Mar 11, 2021

A new era for mymun!

In a changing of the guard at mymun, the team of MUN Command takes on the future of the platform.

Since January 1st 2021 there is a new team running mymun. Robin and Matz, who were running the platform previously felt it was time to move on to other projects and in mid-2020 contacted us - Alex, Alex, Tobi and Jonas - whether we'd be interested in taking over. Previously, we had launched an MUN software project of our own: MUN Command. An all-in-one conference app for chairs, delegates, and organizers, combining chairing software, live polling, chat as well as document- and conference management. It was logical for us to also cover the application process at one point or another so mymun became an interesting proposition. The benefits are clear, yet we were and are also aware that mymun at this point has some shortcomings. Especially when it comes to transparency and usability.


Over the coming weeks and months we are going to get to work to start changing that step by step. This is an incredible opportunity for us - the MUN community - to take this platform and turn it into the amazing hub and catalyst for MUN that it can and ought to be, making MUNs more accessible for students and easier to host for organizers. It is clear that we cannot achieve this on our own. After all we are only four guys ourselves. We need to hear and talk about your experiences with mymun and your dreams for what it could be to make sure we set the right priorities moving forward.
To that end organized a mymun vision workshop on the 21st of February to get some first ideas for how our core community feels about the direction we might take. Of course there will be more workshops to follow as we continue to develop the platform so stay tuned for that! 

If you'd like to hear more about who we are and what we're dreaming of, be sure to check out the latest episode of the MUNCAST on your favorite podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We're beyond excited to get this process on the road and you will see the first changes happening on the website over the next couple of days and weeks. Do not ever hesitate to get in touch if you have questions, ideas or suggestions (info@mymun.com) Your (new) mymun Team
Alex, Alex, Jonas and Tobi

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Ekin Tug

Apr 11, 2019

A Case For Fictional Crisis Committees

Why do we need more fictional crisis during MUNs? 

I had the immense pleasure to chair a fictional crisis committee during Amsterdam University College MUN (AUCMUN) 2019. Greek mythological gods all gathered in a room and they were given the task of solving climate change. Imagine Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Athena, Hermes all gathered up to discuss if humans are worth saving or not. But while trying to deal with climate change, the gods made everything worse.

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Ekin Tug

Mar 14, 2019

Chairing Interview 102

How to get prepared for a chairing interview?

Introduction: 

Once you have submitted your application for a MUN conference, the secretariat will contact you for an interview. Most conferences will do a pre-selection of applications before proceeding to the interview. You will receive an email, asking you to fill out a doodle form in which you will fill out your availability, and indicate your skype username.

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Robin Schoss

Mar 06, 2019

Best Conference Awards 2018

Interesting Trends Emerge in the 2018 MyMUN Best Conference Awards: WorldMUN Secures the Title of Best Large Conference, and Polish Conferences Sweep the Small and Medium Conference Categories

Starting in 2017, MyMUN has been awarding the "Best Conference" of each year, as voted by its attending Delegates. For the first time, MUN Conferences and their organizers around the world are acknowledged and honored for organizing the best events our little niche has to offer.

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Philippe Lefevre

Feb 27, 2019

Partnerships - No MUN is an Island

How to navigate the difficult situation of partnerships in the crowded field

As you may have noticed from the very website you are reading this from, there are more than just a few MUNs. At last count there were at least 30 conferences with applications open, all with the classic –MUN ending! So what makes one MUN different from another? How can you progress in the endless amount of conferences there are? One answer is partnerships.


Now partnerships can come in many different formats, and the word itself simply means working together with another organisation. However, in this article we will look at three different types of partnerships, how they can be managed, their benefits and difficulties.

Conference Partnerships
These are by far the most common form of partnerships, with other MUN conferences. They form a backbone to the swathe of other conferences out there, are simple to enter, and depending on your agreement, rather simple to leave.

Now the terms of conference partnerships vary significantly, but generally involve three conditions. Firstly, sharing of publicity on website or social media. This is very useful as a basic tool to engage other likely interested people. This should play a role in your media plan, especially changing depending on what type of audience you wish seek! If you are looking for more local MUNers then local conferences give the best possibility, and if you seek international MUNers then it stands that you would want more international conferences to partner with and share media.

Secondly, potential sharing of delegates between conferences. This really depends on the commitment level of conferences, and you must be able to hold yourself accountable to this down the road. Try not to use this lightly, but if you truly seek a long-term and dependable partner, then it is a good idea to try and formally set this up. Personally, an informal sending of delegations would be best, as it does not tie people too far down should future delegations seek other locations.

Thirdly, sponsorship or support to other delegations or applications. This refers to perhaps wavering of certain fees for partner conferences. This is a good encouraging way to get applications from other conference but conferences should be careful not to discriminate other conferences through this. The same chances and opportunities should still be open.The last two terms vary wildly within conference partnerships, but it is useful to have a more significant term rather than just media participation. Try to think more deeply about your marketing and outreach plan to understand further how conference partnerships could work.

Institutional Partnerships
Institutions are a fantastic partner to have, as they are often key stakeholders in important sectors. An example would be a university department, government office or think tank. The variety of these institutions is wide and impossible to quantify, so what I want to discuss here instead is what you as a conference can offer, and some ideas about how to highlight the importance of MUN to a potential institutional partner.

The first thing to note is that a gathering of hundreds of educated, diverse, internationally driven young professionals is a very important demographic for many institutions. The cohort that often go to MUNs are sought after in universities and international institutions the world over. Use this to highlight the potential advertising possibilities that institutions could use at your conference.  Many academic institutions also wish to be seen engaging with youth, and MUN is a perfect way for them.

It is unlikely that through this, you could get anything significant, but if you sell the conference well to potential sponsors, then you can build longer-term partnerships bringing sustainable benefits to your conference.

Important to note is the support universities could potentially bring. Try to look out for society or youth event sponsorship they can give, speakers they could supply, or rooms they could offer. This might sound basic but the amount of support departments or universities can give varies across the world, it’s always worth a try.

Local Partnerships
Lastly, as long as most MUN conferences exist in a relatively liberal, cosmopolitan setting, local partnerships allow conferences to explore their unique culture, and boost local recognition. A fantastic example is local cuisine, where local bakeries, or drinks, can really give a new exciting edge to a conference and bring the local setting into the delegates memories. MUN should also be a chance to explore a unique setting and what better way than to forge local partnerships.

These local partners are sometimes the hardest to get, being usually smaller than usual, highly tailored and relatively expensive; it might be difficult to get a cheaper deal or bonus produce from them. The answer to this also lies in local partnerships. Whilst firms or local governments might seem loathe to just giving money to a conference in their area, if they know it is funding the use of local products, they might be willing to sponsor that section of the conference. This is often used in Europe to help build up local connections in conferences and bring that extra edge that many conferences seek.

Fundraising for local causes is also a very satisfying way to build these partnerships. Many conferences run side-projects such as Roses, or Messages to hand between committees. Why not use this money, usually too small to actually fund the conference, and donate it to a local charity, perhaps decided by a key stakeholder. This way, you help support a local cause, and relationships with the community.

Conclusion
I hope what I have given you here is just a taster of the wide opportunities that constructive partnerships can bring to a conference. You are never just on your own in this, and there will always be interested people willing to help you out. All it takes is perseverance and the determination to know your conferences worth, put it out there, and reap the rewards.

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Ekin Tug

Feb 21, 2019

An Introduction To MUN Socials

Preparing yourself for socials at MUN

Introduction:

MUN is the perfect platform to live by the rule <<Work Hard, Play Hard>>.  Because after hours sitting and raising placards in your committees, the fun begins when the session is adjourned. But how can you prepare for a social? What’s the purpose of MUN socials? With this article, we’re going to understand why socials are a very important part of the conference. 

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Matz Radloff

Jan 15, 2019

Last Week’s Month’s Update

not even close

I hope everyone got into the new year well, with new resolutions (heh) and hopefully not too hungover. Unbridled by the holidays we have been hard at work and I want to share some of mymun’s new features. In addition to a comprehensive changelog I wanted to go a little bit more into the detail of the two biggest changes we made since my last post.
Let’s start with a feature that has been requested a lot but took some time because the changes touch many different systems.

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Matz Radloff

Dec 10, 2018

Last Week's Updates, Nov. 28 - Dec. 10 2018

Well, not quite a week but close enough

Dear Delegates,


Since my last post we have been working on a lot of enhancements for our internal tools. Those include migrating to a different sales- and issue-tracking system, updates to our accounting system, updates to our automatic testing solution, and many more. This is why the following list is rather short but still includes many bug fixes and "Quality-of-Life" improvements.

Yours,
Matz (CTO at MyMUN)

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Dear Delegates,


this is the first in a series of posts where I will recap the past week (or so) of MyMUN’s development. I am Matz Radloff, technical lead at MyMUN and have been working on the platform since 2014. I do everything from implementing new features, fixing bugs, answering your mails to server maintenance and infrastructure. As many of you know, MyMUN has a lot of features and there is always room for improvement. With this series I would like to give you insights into some details of the development process, announce new features and include a list of changes / bug fixes.

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George Mullens

Nov 26, 2018

Public Speaking 101

An Introduction to Public Speaking

In Loving Memory of Daniel Page (1993-2018)*

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” Joseph Conrad

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Dear Delegates,

My name is George and I’m honoured to be writing the first ever blog post on MyMUN! I am the editor of the blog and I’m really happy to be bringing some incredible content to MyMUN for you all.

So what can you expect to find on MyMUN’s new blog in the future?

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