Deciding which delegates go on the Author’s and Q and A Panels is one of the most chaotic portions of the weekend. Many will fight tooth and nail to get a chance to present and defend their research in direct view of the chairs who determine awards placement. It can be overwhelming to navigate the process and land a speaking spot if you haven’t competed before. If you are an experienced delegate, you may struggle to maintain control over a bloc when assigning positions, making it a stressful portion of the conference for almost everyone involved. This article will apply to both new and seasoned Model UN competitors.
In a typical General Assembly or Specialized Committee, the goal is to pass a comprehensive resolution. Although mergers between working papers will happen, there will still be multiple draft resolutions that end up on the docket to be voted on. There is no formal motion for an Author’s Panel or Q and A; however, once working papers are formally introduced to the chair, it is almost guaranteed to happen. It is usually five minutes for each Panel with five delegates on each, and the Author’s Panel always goes before Q and A.
The author’s Panel is the presentation period. Especially in a large committee, there will be many delegates who have little idea what you worked on for three days outside of speeches referencing the paper during moderated caucuses. The critical components of a draft resolution are summarized to the room, emphasizing its unique attributes. A good Author’s Panel is an essential tool to make sure your paper stands out and is understandable because nobody will vote for a paper they can’t comprehend.
Question and Answer
Q and A is when delegates can ask questions of the sponsors placed on the Panel. Even if your paper is popular, not all of the nuances may have been worked out because of the conference’s limited timeframe. This makes Q and A the perfect time for clarification. If your paper contains controversial elements, Q and A is also a great time to defend it publicly.
Which Panel should you strive for?
As a general rule of thumb, it is better to be on the Q and A Panel than the Author’s Panel, and being on the Author’s Panel is better than not speaking at all. This is because Q and A showcases the ability to think on your feet and understand the topic much more than a simple delivery. In order to solidify your spot on Q and A, you need to be constantly contributing clauses to the paper, especially those you understand more than others and are best suited to fight for. If your clauses make up a significant portion of the paper, you will likely end up on Author’s Panel even if you don’t end up on Q and A. It would be best if you tried to be at least one of the panels at the risk of being overlooked.
Even if you spent the entire weekend grinding out solution sets, the chairs would not know if you don’t fight to convey it.
However, sometimes stepping down is the better option as a bloc leader. Author’s Panel and Q and A are stressful because more delegates want to participate than there are spots. If you can accentuate clearly to the chair that you are diplomatically choosing to allow other delegates the chance to contribute rather than using your power to bully others into giving you a position, it can look favorable. If you choose to do so, it is essential to convey that you decided and did not simply give up and allow others to take control.
As always, the most effective way to get better is through experience. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out of there, and make the most out of the weekend even if it doesn’t go according to plan.