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Guide to Double Delegations in Model UN

Written by Sarah Schwartz

September 8, 2022

Guide to Double Delegations in Model UN

What is a Double Delegation and why is it Important?

A double delegation is a set of two delegates that are paired to work together to represent one country in a committee. Double delegation committees are almost always larger United Nations organs such as the UN First Committee (DISEC) or the UN Third Committee (SOCHUM) with the rare exception of the United Nations Security Council. 

Committees with double delegations often consist of one hundred or more delegates. This often means that speaking time throughout the conference weekend is limited to a small handful of times. Being in a double delegate committee may be both advantageous and disadvantageous. Although having a partner to rely on during the ups and downs of committee is always great, bear in mind that when dealing with other double delegates, you have more bases to cover. While these committees pose a significant set of challenges that are distinct from single delegation committees, collaborating with another trustworthy delegate can make dealing with these enormous General Assemblies more manageable.

The following course will walk you through the steps necessary to succeed leading up to the conference and during the conference. This includes deciding an in-room delegate and an out-room delegate and how to choose an effective double delegate.  The tutorial is structured in a way that delegates of all levels will benefit. Steps will include term definitions, common mistakes and misconceptions, and action items to improve your skills.

Dividing the Responsibilities Amongst Two People

The best double delegate pairs will play off of one another’s strengths, and hide one another’s weaknesses. For double delegate pairs to be successful, they must divide responsibility, and ensure that both parts of the pair are viewed as equals. You never want to have one person seeming as if they’re the ‘leader’ of the pair. Dividing responsibilities while in committee generally boils down to the distinction between an in-room delegate and an out-room delegate.

What is an In-Room Delegate?

The “in-room” delegate is the person in a double delegate pair that is mostly responsible for formal debate–they are the one making speeches and listening to others in committee, particularly during moderated caucuses.

This person should be someone who is stronger at public speaking, especially ad-libbing, and has a larger range of speaking abilities. This means that they are able to give straightforward informative speeches and more dramatic emotional appeal speeches at a high level, and can switch between the speaking styles very smoothly and without hesitation. They should also be strong at synthesizing information, and relaying it back to their partner for out-room usage.

What is an Out-Room Delegate?

Double delegation committees differ from typical single delegate General Assemblies in that they allow delegates to meet outside of the committee room during normal debate to write draft resolutions and form or meet with blocs. 

The “out-room” delegate is the person in the pair that is in charge of handling all of the business that occurs outside of the room during these times. They should be strong and quick resolution writers first and foremost. They should also be the person best at forming blocs and making friends with their strong charisma and personable qualities. They will also need to be able to think quickly on their feet to process and adapt to information their in-room partner shares with them.

Is the In-Room/Out-Room Setup Strict?

Generally, one delegate in a double delegation should specialize in either in-room or out-room, but switching is also something that should be considered. Many chairs prefer double delegates to switch on and off between being in-room and out-room so they have more visibility on how well-rounded the pair is as a whole. Speeches can also be given together, with one person in a pair beginning the speech, and the other person continuing and finishing the speech. This should only be done sparingly though, as it’s very important to make sure at least one delegate is in the out-room at all times. Also note that at least one delegate in a pair must be in the in-room at all times, so plan bathroom breaks strategically.

Overall though, you and your partner must decide for yourselves how you would like to divide up the in-room and out-room duties, and how often, if at all, switching should occur. 

Who Should I Choose as my Double Delegate?

The most important framework to keep in mind when selecting who to pair up with is the aforementioned concepts of an in-room and out-room delegate. Select someone who is able to complement your strengths and weaknesses and generally someone you also get along with. However, choosing your best friend for a double delegation committee can also lead to problems, so be extra careful. 

Dividing Work as a Model UN Double Delegation

Alright, so you picked out a double delegate partner to work with, and now it’s time to divide up the work, or not, but how do you go about doing that?

Research

Before the conference, you and your double delegate should meet up and discuss plans for committee and ideally, also do most of your research together. It’s a poor strategy, albeit a common one, to have one partner specialize in each topic. It is of the utmost importance for both delegates in a double delegation to be intimately familiar with both topics, as both the in-room and out-room delegates must know about the topics, especially if you plan on switching multiple times throughout the conference. For this reason, it can be beneficial to research together, or if you can’t meet up as often before the conference, text each other sources and share a running document with research information and statistics.

You should also work on and brainstorm potential solutions to the topics together so you’re both on the same page at all points of the process. One of the worst things that can happen during a double delegation committee is your partner saying one thing in the front-room and you saying the opposite in out-room, or vice versa. You and your partner must act like a well-oiled machine and always be in sync. This synchronization begins by being on the same page before the conference in the research stage.

Additionally, it can be helpful to roadmap committee with your partner. While Model UN can be unpredictable, setting up a rough guide of where you hope to be at the end of each committee session can be helpful to keep you both on track. If there are changes that need to be made during the conference, make sure you promptly let your partner know.

Communication

When working together with another person, communication is paramount. Try to keep a text chain going during committee, or an email chain is your chair is strict about phones. If you and your double delegate partner is in the room with you, you can rip a page out of your legal pad and jot down things you want to say to the other or ideas about how to progress in committee. Writing to each other makes sure your conversations are kept quiet, and can be useful if you need a quick turnaround, such as letting your partner know that you want to speak and your speech is next up.

If you choose to write notes to each other on paper, be diligent about covering them up or throwing them away when you aren’t at your seats. The last thing you want is a sneaky power delegate reading your private and confidential conversations.

Five Rules of Thumb Regarding Double Delegations

  • You must always trust your double delegate. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. That person is the only person in committee you should tell everything to. Other people may seem nice, but put aside the fakeness and the strategizing – you are all each other has. 
  • You must always be someone your double delegate can trust. It does not matter what you have done during the weekend, you tell your double delegate everything, and you work through it together. Never, ever be one of those schools where each double delegate picks their own bloc, or one person speaks out against their own double delegate. It happens, but the united front is always more important. 
  • Knowing your double delegate is very important. Make sure you have a good chemistry, and can understand what the other person is saying with a simple glance. Spend time together before the conference: researching, strategizing, and most importantly learning how the other one works best. Get their phone number so you can communicate easily in committee.
  • Figure out your strengths. And, be honest about your weaknesses. Decide how you can best compliment each other, and stick to that plan. It is important that one delegate feels extremely comfortable with on-the-fly speaking, and the other feels comfortable creating, leading, and maintaining a bloc of people. 
  • Have a plan. When thinking about the actual conference, it is important that the chair(s) knows both of your faces and countries. To do this, you have to switch between in – and out – room, but you have to make sure you do it at the ideal moments.

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