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!