Once you have signed up for the conference, you will receive your country assignment, your committee, and its topics. We will provide a Background Guide or Topic Synopsis that introduces the topics — read that first.
There are typically three items to prepare before you walk into your first conference:
➔ The Position Paper (sometimes called a Policy Statement)
➔ Your Opening Speech
➔ A Research Binder. Some novice conferences may also require a Country Profile.
1. Position Paper (or Policy Statement)
The Position Paper is a one or two page document that is essentially a summary of your knowledge of the topic and the position your country plans to take when it enters committee. It typically contains four sections: Background of Topic, Past International Actions, Country Policy, and Possible Solutions. Position Papers are usually due before the conference.
The key starting points for researching each section are listed below. They will help you get started with participating in your first Model UN conference, but you will want to dig deeper as you develop more experience.
■ Background of topic: Background guide of the topic provided by the conference, Google, the news, Wikipedia (to frame the topic)
■ Past international actions: UN website, your committee’s website, key treaties or resolutions mentioned in your background guide, UN or NGO reports
■ Country policy: CIA World Factbook, your country’s foreign ministry website, domestic programs within your country, and your country’s voting record on key treaties or resolutions
■ Possible Solutions: NGO or think tank policy recommendations, past UN resolutions that you’d like to change or expand on, and your own creativity!
2. Opening Speech
The Opening Speech typically lasts about 1 minute or 1 minute and 30 seconds and is the first speech you give to the committee. It is the best opportunity for you to explain your country policy and the key sub-issues you would like the committee to focus on. Opening Speeches are the main way for countries to determine who they want to work with, so it’s important to prepare a speech that conveys this. There are many tips and strategies on how to deliver an Opening Speech, but use your Position Paper as a guide when you are starting out. The most important action is to just be brave and make your first speech.
3. Research Binder
Research Binders are optional but highly recommended, especially since many conferences do not allow the use of technology in committee. An organized Research Binder will be your go-to resource during the conference as new terms and acronyms, previous resolutions and treaties, and possible solutions are mentioned. Here is a suggested list of 15 things every delegate should have for their Research Binder.
4. How to Write a Resolution
Delegates will be writing a document called a Resolution in committee along with other countries that they will be working with. It’s important to know the resolution format and phrases, but most conferences do not allow pre-written resolutions since they want countries to collaborate together during the committee. For more specific details, check out How to Write a Resolution.
5. Country Profile
The Country Profile is a worksheet to help you understand your country and may not necessarily be required by your conference. Most of the information needed to fill out a Country Profile can be found in the CIA World Factbook. If required, Country Profiles are usually due at the same time as the Position Paper.