So, a Model UN conference approaches, and you are given a topic or two and a position. It is time to develop your plan of attack to give you the definitive edge over the other delegates in the room. From the moment you begin your solution set, the most comfortable route is as follows: you go with the more conservative approach and stick with already-passed resolutions or adopted bills designed to handle the issue(s) at hand in the real world. That said, have you considered the reason why the assigned topic is now up for debate in committee? Clearly, the answer is because the previous solution(s) did not work, or were not good enough. Model UN committees are not intended to recycle the same mediocre solutions that perpetuated, or failed to entirely resolve, the topic of debate in the first place; rather, committee should be a breeding ground for new innovative approaches to sometimes century old conflicts.
A creative approach to Model UN solutions offers a more fruitful committee experience: that is, if you are willing to put in the work. In addition to a positive conference experience, a carefully crafted, well-laid out, and innovative solution can even win you awards. To be successful, however, this approach must not only be imaginative and attention-drawing, but it must be viable, simple, and sturdy against counter criticism from other committee members.
Ultimately, that’s the key: a solution must be imaginative just as it is grounded, innovative just as it is proven, and exciting just as it is reasonable.
The theatrics of an attention-drawing, but otherwise ridiculous solution will earn you the label as a delegate who does not take committee seriously. Needless to say, chairs do not appreciate this, and they won’t reward such behavior with a certificate at closing ceremonies.
Once you understand the nuances of the topic(s) at hand, as well as your position and respective views on the topic(s), you should then familiarize yourself with as many successful approaches already employed to resolve similar issue(s) around the world. Specifically, identify the specific reasons why some of these solutions worked better than others: then, go one step further. Using these solutions as a launching pad, get out of your comfort zone and think outside the box to come up with an economically feasible, realistic, straightforward, and creative approach based on science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, economics, trade, military, or other areas.
I have long employed this strategy of heavily researching innovative solutions at a multitude of conferences, and it works. Consider, for example, inventive ideas such as gene modification geared towards drought-resistant plants to deal with famine, algae as an alternative energy source, or carbon nanotubes to break down plastics. Focus on innovative or unlikely strategies such as changing your military tactics when fighting asymmetrical warfare and terrorism, researching existing building codes in earthquake-prone cities, building railroads in economically-depressed areas to stimulate the economy by building up infrastructure and lowering the cost of transport, or providing water in arid regions areas through the use of desalination plants and then processing the leftover brine into salt and cement to sell.
These are just a handful of potential options, a few of which I even have used myself. While relying on proven, or arguably “safer,” solutions can be an effective method at a conference, it fails to provide the one thing you need to end the weekend with a gavel in hand: to stand out. Choosing a bolder, more imaginative approach can be just as (if not more) successful when it comes to earning awards and expanding your arsenal of Model UN skills.
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