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How to Become Head Delegate

So, you have participated in Model UN since your freshman year, attended multiple conferences, and maybe even won a few awards; now, you want to take your engagement to the next level by pursuing election for a club leadership role. Whether it be secretary general, head delegate, treasurer, director general, or any other leadership position, you believe it is time to step up as a leader and expand your involvement in Model UN beyond participation and competition and into the administrative side of things. For anyone with genuine interest in the activity, securing election for a leadership role is a fairly straightforward pursuit, so long as diligence, personal accountability, and active engagement are maintained along the way.


Be diligent with Model UN club meeting attendance.

Step one, though it may seem painfully obvious, is maintaining a high level of participation. Frankly put, this is table stakes. Attending meetings–no matter how much of a time-drain they may be–is a sign of respect for the club. Any individual who cares so little as to not even attend the club meetings is simply unelectable for any club leadership position. 


Maintain a good attitude.

Holding a leadership position in any given group ultimately boils down to one central principle: being a team player. When a fellow team member doesn’t win the award they believed they deserved, when logistics get disrupted while attending a conference out-of-state, or when fundraising efforts do not yield the funding necessary to attend an additional conference that year, you must be magnanimous, calm, and positive in the face of adversity. 

Above all else, lift up your teammates in every way possible, regardless of the circumstance; that is how you stand out. 


Deliver success to your Model UN team.

Now, the most awarded delegate is not always the best leader; that’s for sure. That being said, a great way to reinforce your contributions to the team is to bring home awards and boost your team’s odds at winning a delegation award. Easier said than done, right? Even so, remaining focused and confident at any conference you attend, as well as being diligent with your research and preparation, is all that it takes to be a competitive delegate.

Conduct research, derive solutions, and advocate for them in committee; ultimately, it really is that simple. 


Engage with underclassman.

Often the most overlooked members of any given Model UN club or team are the newer ones, or the freshmen and sophomores. A foolproof way to demonstrate leadership is to engage with these underclassman members–it is the responsibility of upperclassman to do so. Encourage them to deliver speeches during simulations, offer them strategic advice during conference weekends, push them to try different types of Model UN committees, and above all else, include them in the team dynamic. Despite the fact that as a senior or junior, most of your friends in the club will also be upperclassmen, you should always push to include younger members in team traditions. Not only will they greatly appreciate the social outreach, but you will stand out to your faculty advisor and other team members as someone actively bridging the divide between different generations of club members. 


Express genuine interest.

One of the main reasons why highly participatory, impressive individuals do not always get elected for the leadership roles they have objectively earned is because of suspicion from other team members that their goal lies in boosting a college application rather than pursuing a genuine interest for the betterment of the team. Accusations of meaninglessly chasing another leadership role for your college application are easy to avoid if you are deliberately verbal about your genuine interest and love for Model UN, global affairs, and the skills you learn along the way. 

Essentially, do not be afraid to get a little nerdy; genuine interest and passion will boost your likeability. 


At the end of the day, the goal is to garner the support of your peers, so adapting your strategy to secure votes based on the nuanced circumstances and social dynamics of your particular club will be the most important step towards eventual election. Focus less on taking down your opponents and more on doing what you see fit to stand out as a natural leader with wholesome intentions to better the experience of all club members.


Lastly, making substantive plans for the reforms and goals you plan to pursue while holding a leadership position is critical. Need some ideas? Check this out: A Head Delegate in More Than Just Name: A Letter to Incoming MUN Leaders

Up Your MUN Game this Summer
The Ad Hoc Academy at Johns Hopkins University will give students plenty of opportunities to practice their speaking skills while taking advantage of professional coaching and guidance. Compete in six simulations in six days for over $6,000 in prizes.

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