As delegates, we bear the immense responsibility of confronting and resolving contentious issues within not only the confines of Model UN procedure but also our own personal fears. The challenge of diplomacy demands a supportive faculty advisor to ease the tension during moments of growth and strategic difficulty. Oftentimes, though, a faculty advisor’s actions or responsibilities pale in comparison to the team’s needs, as their sole responsibility may be to “show up” to events. Rather than serving as active coaches and disseminators of knowledge, advisors sometimes take a passive role, leaving most of the coordination of their team up to student leadership.
Like the nature of true democracy, each team should derive its passion and direction from student leadership; however, the strict organization and personal growth inherent in the activity also demands the assistance of an adult that is not only present and accessible, but also encouraging, knowledgeable, and engaged.
Faculty advisors are key to an edifying conference experience since part of their role involves introducing the very international issues we will later address ourselves. An ideal faculty advisor should serve as a resource for strategy and material. The breadth of advice my faculty advisor has provided me, from colonial America to the functioning of modern U.S. Congress, has allowed me to prevail in committee and expand my working knowledge about the political climate of the world.
In addition to providing sufficient preparation that makes for an enjoyable conference, an ideal faculty advisor should also ensure discipline and order to a MUN team. Given that each team bears the image of their schools, regions, or even countries, discipline is paramount to a positive reputation. Discipline is also critical to the efficiency of the team; the chaos that ensues without order leads to an uncoordinated conference procedure and impedes team preparation, which is critical to committee success. In addition to disciplined meetings, an ideal faculty advisor should actively ensure logistical discipline, equipping the team leadership with any tools necessary to coordinating team events, whether it be bake sales or team breakfast plans.
The faculty advisor serves as more than a resource at a team’s disposal. He or she is an engaged and educated member of the Model UN community, who drives a team to its full potential of diplomacy, passion, and ingenuity. The collective dedication of students and their advisor is contagious, transforming Model UN from a mere pastime into a captivating passion.