NZ Model UN 2013 will be awesome. Count on it.

This blog post is a compilation of stories that people have sent to me about their NZ Model UN experiences. No one could better describe the experience of NZ Model UN than these passionate alumni. For first time delegates who are feeling apprehensive about whether to register – read on to get a feel for what the conference is like and see what you have to look forward to at the event. And for past participants who are feeling nostalgic, relive your favourite memories and register this year as a conference assistant.

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VICTORIA REA

149467_479104512150841_857646586_nMy last NZ Model UN was in 2012 in my final year of high school. Imagine a room of 250 overly excited high school students ready to engage in debate, eager to interact with each other and most importantly, expand their knowledge on a varied range of topics. NZ Model UN is what many call the flagship event of the year and 2012 did not disappoint. I was representing World Vision, a non-governmental organisation, and this new group of representation would expand my ideas and ultimately my knowledge on how another facet of the United Nations functions. I had two major highlights for my 2012 NZMUN experience. The first was being selected as one of the New Zealand School’s Delegates to The Hague International Model United Nations. The second was Harry Tothill’s (this year’s coordinator) impression of Voldemort and Jerome (last year’s coordinator) as Captain Planet in their epic battle on the plenary session in the last day. UN Youth and New Zealand Model United Nations has always meant for me a week of socialising, in depth thought on topics I had never thought of and connections with so many others. NZ Model UN truly fulfils the purpose of inspiring global citizens.

 

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Outreach activities at Day 1 of NZ Model UN 2012

 

SAM BRUSTAD

603955_479100218817937_241944650_nAfter attending NZMUN 2011, applying for the next conference was a no-brainer. The chance to catch up with all of the amazing people I had met the year before was not something I would have passed up easily. Plus, this time I had an ulterior motive; I was gunning to be a part of THIMUN 2013 (a trip everyone should definitely look into). It was just as I remembered, the people, the laughs and an overall amazing time. This time I was representing North Korea (DPRK), providing me with a lot of great chances for intense and rewarding debate. But as well as all of that, the dinners, the ball, everything about the conference was geared towards creating such an amazing few days for the delegates. It was one of the most entertaining weeks I have had and when I look back to how apprehensive I was before my first conference I can’t help but laugh a little, and to top it all off, I got in to THIMUN.

 

 

 

 

KEARI HARVEY

250764_478070335587592_1678104489_nMy favourite memory from NZ Model UN is a hard one to choose because those four days were one of the main highlights of my year. The best moment would have to be when my name was called in the plenary session when I was announced as a member of the New Zealand Delegation to THIMUN 2013. What NZMUN gave me was the opportunity to meet like-minded people and participate in some challenging debate. The outreach program taught me that giving up a few hours of my time to volunteer really does make a difference and is something I’ve continued to do whenever I can.

 

 

EVE BAIN

393492_409638462430780_1324215471_nOne of my highlights of NZ Model UN last year was having a diplomat from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who was our committee’s expert speaker, go over the resolution I had written with the delegates, as if it was at the real UN. His session really helped inform the debate, and it was so rewarding to see the delegates engaging with the issue of democratisation, especially after a diplomat had just talked them through what he thought were its faults, from his perspective and work experience. Another, unrelated, highlight, would be getting to be Paula Abdul when judging the interpretative dance contest- UN Youth members are talented across the board.

 

 

 

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Scholarship winners being awarded by MP Sam Lotu-Iiga at Opening Ceremony of NZ Model UN 2012 held at the Beehive

 

HARRY TOTHILL

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Harry spicing up Day 4 of NZ Model UN 2012 Plenary as Voldemort

 

My favourite NZ Model UN memory is always Regional Grouping Dinners. After debating resolutions all day, there is nothing more exciting than going out for dinner with people in your regional groups – every year I’ve met heaps of new people. It’s also great to get a taste of the food from your country’s region – in the past I’ve slurped noodles and whirled lazy susans in Asia Pacific, burnt my tongue on hot chillies with GRULAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) and eaten a bizarre cinnamon-flavoured lasagne creation in Northern Africa. It’s always exciting wondering what weird and wacky experience each region will bring!

 

 

 

JEROME CAMERON

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Jerome as Captain Planet ‘saving’ the Plenary of NZ Model UN 2012 from Chair Voldermort (AKA Harry)

I’ve had a lot of magic moments during the 5 NZ Model UNs I’ve been to, a particularly memorable feeling is that of waking up after the final day conference and missing everyone like crazy also known as the post-Model UN blues! I keep coming back to NZ Model UN as it is an unparalleled educational and social opportunity where you can meet like-minded people from all over the country. It always amazes me how often I bump into people from NZ Model UN a year or two or even more down the track and seeing the amazing things they have accomplished since I last saw them. NZ Model UN is a place where global citizens emerge through the intensely enjoyable few days of the conference and for that it will always have a special meaning to me.

 

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Thank you so much to the contributors. The NZ Model Un 2013 committee can’t wait to recreate the experience for a new group of people in July.

Registrations are open from now until the end of April. Places are filling up so register as soon as possible to secure a place at this year’s conference.

Register here: http://unyouth.org.nz/events/national-events/new-zealand-model-united-nations

See you there!

 

COCA-COLA AND THE UN: What do they have in common?

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to have been the sole New Zealand delegate at Harvard Model United Nations held in Boston. As the representative of Oxfam, I was placed into the High Level Meeting where we discussed Failed States. However one of the committees that appeared in my Study Guides was the ‘Coca-Cola Board of Directors’. One may wonder “How on earth does the Coca-Cola tie in with the UN?”

Firstly, here are some UN+admitted facts about Coca-Cola:

  • Coca-Cola and Pepsi together have earnings greater than 40% of the GDP of the world’s poorest states combined (i.e. 80 member states of the UN).

  • Coca-Cola’s $35.1 billion in revenue makes it the 84th largest economy in the world, just ahead of Costa Rica. (As the delegate of Costa Rica for AMUN 2013, I can say that this surprises me)

  • If you stacked up Coca-Cola’s 2.8 million vending machines, they would take up 6,592,458,240 squared metres. This is the size of 4 Empire State Buildings.

The Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York City

  • During the Nazi regime, Coke was banned because it contained too much sugar so Fanta was created in 1936 so that Coca-Cola wouldn’t have to stop trade with Germany.

  • Coca-Cola has over 3500 beverages and it would take the average person 9 years to try each one.

Coca-Cola is an example of a Multinational Corporation (MNC) willing and able to expand their firm so that it operates in more than one country and because they are so large, they can produce more output at a lower cost. One may think this is great because they can expand into developing nations and reduce unemployment in order to train and educate people to improve efficiency and knowledge. Moreover, globalisation allows us to make a shift towards democracy. But at the same time many problems arise. Here are some UN+canny facts:

  • MNCs are responsible for economic exploitation. They can expand into developing nations because it is cheap to do so due to weak laws and regulations. They also risk polluting and damaging the environment.

  • Developing nations receive very little profit as it gets sent back to the country of origin (e.g. the CEO of Starbucks receives an annual salary of $2.15 million USD whereas coffee producers in Ehtiopia receive less than $1 USD a day which is 1-3% of the profit earned) and as a result we are seeing an ever-increasing gap between developed and developing nations.

  • Water is a key ingredient in its beverages and the future stability of the Coca-Cola Company depends on the management of water.

Believe it or not, 94% of the world’s population can recognise the popular red and white logo we see in supermarkets.  People purchase Coca-Cola because they see it’s affordable and represents a Western lifestyle.

The Coca-Cola Logo

Cary Folower, the economist for the UN Commission for Checking Transnational Companies stated that: “Poor people in the third world can see the company’s advertisements how Coca-Cola and Fanta is equalled to happy, well-off, often white middle-class families. The poor that want the best for their children consequently buy Coke or Fanta for their children, or even worse, they start buying it for their infants. Instead of breast milk, the children get Coca-Cola!”

However, children who are raised on these soft drinks are likely to suffer from malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies because they are missing out on essential vitamins.

Multinational Companies have the potential to destroy environments and cultural traditions by their Western Influences. However at the same time multinational companies such as Coca-Cola are striving to make a change.

The Coca-Cola Board of Directors plays a major role in the public face of the company by deciding which philanthropic efforts the company will change (e.g. in 2012, Coca-Cola donated $3 million to conservation efforts by the World Wildlife fund)

Coca-Cola also has a water stewardship program aimed to protect and conserve water and has also teamed up with the UNDP. Perhaps this occurred as a response to allegations about poor water treatment and abuse in India. Like several NGOs that work with the UN such as Charity Water and World Vision, Coca-Cola is trying to help developing nations in Africa get clean water by installing water pumps, etc.  As a delegate at HMUN 2013, I contributed to one of the water pumps being built by Charity Water as my committee fundraised $862.54.

Charity Water has a goal of monitoring and recording the water flows of 4000 water pumps across Africa by 2015

 

In 2011, Coca-Cola paired up with UN Women to form a global partnership aimed at improving Women’s Economic Development. This partnership generated the ‘5 BY 20’ initiative which aims to empower the 5 million women entrepreneurs within the Coca-Cola chain by 2020. Together they will be providing increased access to business skills training, mentoring and financial services, focusing in growing markets such as Brazil, India, the Philippines and South Africa.

UN women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet and Coca Cola CEO, Muhtar Kent, announced partnership for Women Empowerment in 2011

So next time you participate in a MUN, take note of how multinational companies (not limited to Coca-Cola) may impact your country’s cultural tradition, the environment and the wellbeing of its citizens. Multinational corporations have a great impact as they contribute a lot to the economies of both developing and developed nations. Though economic development and expansion is important, one must look after their environment as this will impact the stability of our member states and their industries in the future.

 

Many questions and a few answers: a glance into the EU-Asia dynamic

It has sometimes been suggested that even the term ‘Asia’ may be a false concept, bestowing an artificial homogeneity on the vastly diverse economic and political geography of the region.  But labels matter less than the reality, which they represent, and it is the reality of Asia, which is of essential importance for the EU.   

-European Commission

 I think one of the best things about university, and the debate that UN Youth promotes, is that it makes you ask important questions.  What does it mean to be European? What is Asia?  These questions are the sort that do not have clear-cut answers; they are sometimes frustrating, but quite often fascinating. Discussion is one of the best ways to understand these issues, and I was lucky enough to have a chat with Dr Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre and former British diplomat.

With the growing role of the EU and the infamous ‘pivot’ towards the Asia-Pacific, not to mention the wealth of photo opportunities the European continent offered our THIMUN delegation over January, I thought a brief discussion of European Union foreign policy and the dynamic between the EU and Asia would be of interest. Read: I am a massive International Relations nerd.

But firstly, can you name these people?

[1]

[2]

[3]

(Check bottom of this post to see whether you got them right!)

It’s no secret that the European Union’s structure can be confusing. Here is a very rough guide:
European Commission = the executive, can propose legislation
European Parliament = 750 directly elected members, arranged by party not country
European Council: summits of the Heads-of-State throughout the year
The Council of the European Union: meetings of national ministers meet adopt laws and coordinate policies. This is the main forum for the cooperation in external affairs.

F+UN fact: The European Commission has a staff of around 25,000. The EU is often criticised for being an inflated bureaucracy, however Dr Cameron informed me that many city councils in Europe have larger staff numbers.

If you have represented a country that is part of the EU lately, you would have likely discovered that the European Union has its own foreign policy and what is, essentially, an EU Minister for Foreign Affairs: the CFSP and HRFA- The Common Foreign and Security Policy and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

But what does it mean to have a ‘common foreign policy’? And why would sovereign states want to have one?

The Council of Foreign Ministers from all Member States will discuss an issue and come to a consensus on an area in all the countries’ interests, known as a Common Position. This then has to be unanimously approved by the European Council (Heads of State). Joint Actions then operationalise this agreement and are binding on the Members.

This is only when an agreement can be reached, and some experts question the true extent of foreign policy cooperation. Smaller states especially, however, clearly have a lot more clout when acting as a unit.

F+UN fact: The EU is the largest provider of international development assistance and the largest contributor to the United Nations budget. 

Dr Cameron says that “Asia” is of essential importance to the EU, and although it is mainly a trading relationship (18% of EU trade), the region is important because of its sheer size, in terms of global population, economic power and being the centre of many of the world’s “hot spots”. Most global issues cannot be resolved without Asia. While there are clear common interests in growing their global leadership respectively, there is a clear divide between progress in trade and progress in other areas one might deem “values”.

F+UN fact: The EU continues to impose an arms embargo on China and refuses to grant it Market Economy status.

How does Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN) compare to the EU, and is it looking toward following the “EU model”?

ASEAN would like to follow the EU model – it has a 2015 programme for an ASEAN community – but the member states cannot agree to share sovereignty like the EU. Its focus is on economic integration, not political, and one of its key principles is the non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

Further, the driving values of the European Union, such as tolerance and consultation, are relevant to the future of Asia. You can draw a comparison between France/Germany in the early part of the 20th century with the current Japan/China territorial dispute. Reconciliation depends on truth and forgiving past wrongs, and there is a great reluctance to so in Japan and China, as both refuse to come to terms with their recent history, and therefore this poisons their bilateral relations.

F+UN fact: the EU recognised “Asia” as an equal partner in 2001.

This is part of a concept of the ‘triangular world order’; Dr Cameron feels we are moving towards a world of major blocs in which the US, Europe and Asia (with China at the core) will be the key powers.

Could you please explain the scale of EU-Asia cooperation, with the TREATI initiative and Asia-Europe Meeting?

ASEM is the major region-to-region talking shop for leaders held every two years with a ministerial held the alternate year; there are also regular EU-ASEAN meetings; but the most important part of the relationship are the bilateral ties – especially with the four strategic partners – China, India, Japan, Korea. TREATI is a technical initiative with ASEAN alone, aiming to improve trade and investment flows, and as a result, foster understanding in areas of mutual interests.

What do you see as the changing role of diplomats in Europe?

The role of diplomats everywhere is changing due to the revolution with TV, YouTube, Twitter and blogs reporting instantly on events. Leaders also talk directly to one another which means the role of foreign ministries are downgraded. Diplomacy is also much broader – currencies, climate change, terrorism, cyber security, energy and piracy all new issues. But never underestimate the vanity of diplomats- they won’t negotiate themselves into oblivion.

Personally, how have the experiences of working for a national government and working for a supra-national organisation differed?

National government one dimensional – i.e., how to promote national interests; working for EU is like a multi-dimensional chess game as have to take into consideration 28 viewpoints and come out with a compromise acceptable to all.

 

It seems that more I learn about the EU, the more question marks loom above its precise classification as an international actor. Will there one day be a UN seat for the EU? Before we start printing a single EU placard for events, I think there are a lot of developments to watch out for, don’t you?

Assistance from Dr Cameron and his book Introduction to European Foreign Policy is gratefully acknowledged.

You can read more about this think-tank here.

Answers:

  1. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council
  2. José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission
  3. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

 

What future do you want?

Still buzzing with excitement following Youth Declaration, or perhaps experiencing post-conference blues? Never fear, enthusiastic member, the opportunities to engage with global affairs just keep on coming. Allow me to elaborate:

In 1992 there  was a United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  This was known as the Earth Summit, or the UN Conference on Environment and Development. It was here that Agenda 21 was adopted, a comprehensive plan-of-action, meant to deal with all issues arising from humans using or exploiting the environment. Quite a hefty task, one might add.

As you will be well aware, the world is rapidly changing. The General Assembly found that there were a lot of new issues emerging as impediments to this plan, things that didn’t really exist two decades ago, or at least not on their current scale. Globalisation, for one thing, and unprecedented technological advancement. And although we have seen a growing global middle class, there are deepening inequalities on the fringes.  The reality of Agenda 21 was divorced from the original ideas and goals, despite commitment to ‘further action’ and ‘full implementation’ coming from the UN.

So, twenty years on, we get Rio + 20. Clearly the international community has more pressing issues than creative conference titles.

 

What is Rio + 20?

Clause 20 (a) of 2010 GA resolution [64/236] (a real one, keen Munsters) reads,

The objective of the Conference will be to secure renewed political
commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the
remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on
sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

This conference will set the sustainable development agenda for the decades ahead.

The Economic and Social Council have identified seven key issues, which you can see in the symbolic diagram below:

So it is at about this point in the blog post that you might be starting to think, how can I get involved and play my part in this global conference, which is going to determine the world I live in? While pondering this, you may have also perused the aforementioned resolution, and came across operative clause 12, which of course reads,

Also reaffirms the objective of enhancing the participation and effective
involvement of civil society and other relevant stakeholders, as well as promoting
transparency and broad public participation…

And you’re right in thinking that this applies to you. So, read on, young global citizen, and prepare yourself for exciting information.

Your line: ‘Wow, this is neat! But how do I become part of the process?’

This questions plays on your mind for a while. You keep thinking, ‘These leaders are making decisions on my behalf. But how do they know what I think?’ So you get together with your friends, are you start talking about how super it would be if you could all somehow present your views to these decision-makers.

Well, dear friends, this blog post is going to make your day!

UNICEF, in cooperation with a bunch of other great organisations, are running Rio + 20 youth consultations in the three major centres in the coming weeks. Here, you will learn more and discuss the critical issues of sustainable development, and express your views to our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and also international forums like the World Youth Congress, which will run concurrently with the conference in Brazil.

Before you start think of excuses for why you shouldn’t go, consider yourself already qualified. It’s not about technical knowledge, but about your vision and hopes for your future.

Imagine the city you want to live in when you’re older.

Do you imagine safe streets and green, open spaces?

Do you want a well-paying job, and financial security?

Will you and all your friends drive your own car?

What kind of world do you want to live in? How will we get there?

This is the essence of sustainable development. You are a key stakeholder in these issues, and you now have the opportunity to influence the conference which aims to ‘define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.’

During the consultation, you will hear from guest speakers and a panel of experts, as well as participating in facilitated group discussions. Your views will be brought together not only in a document, but expressed through an art project and video message.

 

What is ‘sustainable development?

If simplified, it can look a little bit like this:

Or summed up like this:

We must also remember that the human system is only one of  many, and it is imperative that it operate along side natural systems- climatic, for example.

We can’t solve all the world’s problems in a day, no matter how many UN Youth events we’ve been to. We can, however, through educating ourselves and engaging in society, build the foundations for sustainable change.

So, while you are recovering from this wildly inspiration post, register for a free youth consultation in your city!

Auckland
Saturday 21st April
9am-5pm
Case room 1, Owen G Glen building
University of Auckland

Wellington
Saturday 28th April
9am-5pm
Location to be confirmed

Christchurch
Saturday 5th May
9am-5pm
Dovendale Village rooms DA1 and DA2
University of Canterbury

Register at: www.unicef.org.nz/thefuturewewant 

For more info email: pip@unicef.org.nz

See you there! 

How to become New Zealand’s Next Top Model (UN delegate)

So you want to be on top?

I remember my first Model UN conference. The passage of time has left me with a pleasant reminiscence. However, in reality I was so nervous beforehand I was struggling to function normally. Not only was I the only one from my school going, I wasn’t sure what to wear, how much I was expected to know or how I was going to find the entrance to the university building.

USEFUL TIP #1: RELAX

Model UN, while intellectually stimulating and sometimes challenging, is meant to be fun. Conferences are what you make of them, and so with this blog post I hope to impart a few tips that will help you make the most of events.

RESEARCH

Chances are, if you are taking time to read this blog, you are committed to a number of extra-curricular activities already. Preparing for a Model UN Conference need not be a major time-suck. It in fact can be quite a fulfilling experience. Allocate some to reading a little about your country- a useful guide for this, especially for first-timers, is the ‘My Country’ sheet.

You are not expected to be an expert on your given country, but knowing about its government, history, and economy will facilitate your involvement in committee sessions. Read-up on recent news articles relating to the region and your member state.

USEFUL TIP #2: A real gold mine for research is  the website of country’s permanent mission to the UN. There, you will find their foreign policy outlined in black and white, and I would highly recommend taking a look.

RESOLUTIONS

Read through the resolutions beforehand, and make sure you understand why the issue is being discussed. Because UN Youth is nice and helpful, you will often be provided with a briefing paper. Ensure you understand all the terminology, because you don’t want to waste valuable committee time getting explanations for something you could have Googled yourself.

USEFUL TIP #3:

Before the conference, I always found it helpful to go through each operative (numbered) clauses and, using your understanding of your country’s stance on the issue, marking it with either a tick, cross, or question mark. By doing that, you get a rough idea of where your country stands on the resolution as a whole. You may have to remove or alter a certain clause in order for the resolution to be favourable to your country, for example. 

USEFUL TIP #4:

The first part of a resolution, what are known as the preambulatory clauses, serves as an introduction to the issue, and they are not subject to debate. They will often mention previous documents or resolutions pertaining to the resolution at hand. What I have found helpful in the past is to research these referenced resolutions and look up the voting records. This is likely to give you a very clear indication of where your member state stands in relation to the issue, as you will be able to see how they voted in the real UN.

 

 Now, remember that you are representing the government of your member state, not the population. This can be easily confused, especially if there are popular movements occurring within their borders. It is not your place to decide whether the governmental stance is right or wrong, for you are playing the role of a public servant, and you are there to voice their official policy. While this can sometimes be difficult, being forced to argue from another point of view is one of the beautiful education journeys you will embark on with UN Youth.

 GET DIPLOMATIC:

For more experienced delegates, one thing I found useful was researching your state’s foreign relations, and there is a section for it on most country pages on Wikipedia. This means you can approach other countries with authority, for example ‘We have strong diplomatic ties, so you would probably be interested in supporting this…’ It can be particularly useful to see how your country gets on with the more powerful members, or countries which are especially concerned by the resolution, as this may influence your state’s voting.

In addition, if a clear divide in the issue becomes apparent during your research, looking into the opposing side’s views, the reasons for it, and the actions taken, will mean that you will be able to question their stance more competently, and perhaps give you a better chance of reaching a compromise.

That brings me to an important point: act in a constructive matter. The goal of a Model UN is to achieve something, namely to pass a resolution. Thus, your goal is to make that document appealing for your country, and ideally the majority of others also.

Always remember that your country is in that committee, debating that resolution, for a reason. Its relevance may not be instantly clear, but you have to look beyond the obvious. If you are truly lost as to where your country’s government opinion lies, take a look at some of your allies, especially your regional grouping. You will have mutual goals and views a lot of the time, so work together.

 If your country isn’t a fan of the resolution as it stands, propose an amendment; try and make it better. Do not, however, get hung up on what percentage of GDP should be dedicated to whatever cause. This is just annoying.

Furthermore, in the real UN, they can spend hours debating the placement of a comma. In Model UN, we simply do not have time to dedicate to such details. By all means, strive for accurate semantics and sound wording, but often you will have to allow for things that are less than perfect.

This will all probably seem more complicated than it really is. So I will ask you now, please do not be intimidated by the more experienced of the bunch. Just because they come up to you wielding a pen and an amendment form and using words you don’t understand does not mean you have to sign it. You and only you are the representative of your country, so how your country chooses to vote is your decision.

If your member state is particularly relevant to the issue, you have a specific responsibility to be prepared. For example, if you are the delegate for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and you are debating nuclear disarmament, the debate will not be as interesting or active if you cannot participate in a capable manner. You can research as much or as little as you like, but Model UN conferences are always more fun if you have a firm grounding in what is going on.

USEFUL TIP #5:

If you are nervous about speaking, a really good place to start is by asking a Point of Information. This is a question directed to a delegate at the conclusion of their speech. Committee sessions are a lot more enjoyable when you’re participating in them, so do not be afraid to raise your placard and express your country’s views. If you don’t understand a point that they’ve made, you can use a Point of Information to ask the delegate to clarify.

Similarly, if you have made the leap into giving a speech, don’t be nervous about taking points of information at the end. It makes you appear significantly more confident in your country’s stance, and if your understanding of the issue is sound, fielding questions should be a breeze.

If another delegate asks you a question that you can’t answer, remember that there is no cross-floor debate, so it is easy for you to avoid the question. Just reply nicely that this delegate believes it should be examined at a later date.

The points do not have to be means by which you rip apart a delegate’s speech, you can also use them to offer your support or emphasise a particularly positive point another delegate has made.

USEFUL TIP #6: As long as you seem confident, chances are everyone in the room will think you are too.

While it is tempting to call everyone by their country name, also take the time to learn their real names and get to know a little bit about them. You’re likely to find a whole lot of people who are as nervous as you. One of the best parts about Model UN is the opportunity to meet a variety of new people, so make friends, talk to people, and at the next conference you go to you will feel popular and it will be awesome.

Don’t just approach others when you want them to be signatory for your amendment. If you take interest in their country’s views and ideas, they are more likely to give you the same respect.

USEFUL TIP #7:

Use unmoderated caucus time (Model UN-speak for a free-for-all lobbying session) to see what the other member states are hoping to achieve. Do not sit in your seat and pretend to be texting.

 And please, take it seriously, but not too seriously. You are here dressed in a suit and wearing a name badge out of choice, so no one is going to believe you are too hipster to care. On the other hand, we know it’s cool to be the USA, but never forget that this is Model UN, and if you want the people in your committee to accept your friend requests later, try and not let the power go to your head.

In large sessions, such as the General Assembly, you may find it frustrating trying to get on the speakers’ list. I have a few tricks that may help in this situation, but number one, thrusting your placard in the air and making faces at the Chair is not going to help your case.

The Chair will try and give everyone an opportunity to speak, so one way to improve your chances of getting to the podium is to save raising your placard until your country really needs to speak. If you haven’t been chosen before, it is more likely you’ll get picked.

This is also a reason why you should aim to be as involved as possible in your smaller committee sessions, because you’ll regret the relative ease with which you could share your country’s views once you compare it to the plenary.

USEFUL TIP #8:

If you’re feeling especially OCD, you can pre-write notes to the Chair, such as ‘The delegate of [your country] to speak for the resolution’, so as soon as note passing opens, you can get your note to the Chair. I have found this eliminates the unpleasant, frantic ripping of pieces of refill and illegible handwriting that can occur in the rush to get on the speakers’ list.

Moreover, this is when your allies can come in handy. Under the Rules of Procedure, there can be a ‘yield chain’ of up to three speakers. Generally, as long as the delegate is on the speakers’ list, you can yield the floor to them. This can allow you to have three subsequent speeches of a similar stance, meaning you will be able to send a clear message to those in your committee. And while you do this, remember to never use personal pronouns, otherwise the Chair may pull you up on this, and that will just disrupt your train of thought.

After all this, I must admit that there is no substitute for practical experience, but I promise you will get the feel for Model UN very quickly. Every conference you will go to you will improve your skills and confidence, as well as your general knowledge. With a bit of effort, Model United Nations can become one of the most positive parts of your time as a secondary school student- and beyond.

USEFUL TIP #9: There are so many opportunities out there, so do not hesitate to get involved.

To conclude, honourable delegates, be fierce, but diplomatic, and you will still be in the running to make a difference!