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Individual Actions and Portfolio Powers

Individual Portfolio Actions

Private actions are one of the most dynamic aspects of a crisis committee. Most crisis committees will allow individual delegates to take private actions in areas that they directly control or oversee. These are often called Portfolio Powers. For example, the Minister of Finance may be able to control the interest rates of the central bank. The Minister of Transportation will have control of the rail lines in a country. And the Minister of Education may be able to have control over national curriculum and the use of school facilities.

It is extremely important to note, however, that the crisis room will ultimately have final say over an individual’s portfolio powers. Just because you write a private note, does not mean the crisis room will automatically accept it.

If you wish you write a private note to the crisis room, all you have to do is write your instructions on a piece of paper, fold it in half, and write clearly CRISIS ROOM on the front. Then pass it to the dais or a committee page (note runner), and it will be delivered to the crisis room.

Tip: Don’t simply address the crisis room inside of your private note. Be creative and make up a secretary, colleague, or the like to send your instructions to.

Private Group Actions

There may come a time in debate when you want to take a private actions outside of your portfolio. In this case, you can co-write a private note with other members of your committee. The more delegates that sign onto an action, the greater the chance the crisis room will respond to it.

However, be careful with whom you trust! If you share a secret plan with the wrong delegate, they could always report your plan and get you arrested, put on trial, sanctioned, or worse!

Asking Questions and Gathering Information from the Crisis Room

You’ll often be given partial and incomplete information by the crisis room during an update. Writing notes to the crisis room is a great way to acquire new information, which you may choose to share or not to share with the rest of your committee room.

Tips for Writing to the Crisis Room:

  • Ask specific questions without being overly specific. “Is it possible to mobilize troops along the southern border?” is much more likely to get a response than “Please send troop numbers for all of the battalions along the southern border.” Likewise, crisis rooms hate responding to questions like, “How much money do I have?”
  • Be patient. A crisis room has to juggle notes from everyone in your committee, plus directives, and may even need to coordinate with other crisis rooms. If you don’t get a response, assume your note isn’t important enough to the crisis line. Don’t send additional notes saying, “Can you please answer my last note??”
  • Include an objective in your notes. Make your notes creative so that they capture the attention of the crisis room. Make up an assistant and imply you’re having an affair with them, but then at the bottom of the note, explain to the crisis room what the heck you’re talking about and what you hope to gain from the note.
  • Don’t overdo it. Remember that committee directives and public directives push the crisis storyline forward. Private actions shouldn’t be your only strategy to get things done. Work with the committee to respond to the crisis updates.

YMGE Specific Crisis Rooms

It’s important to note that because YMGE takes place in Budapest and not the lovely New Haven, Connecticut that the conference will have less staff than a normal Yale Model UN conference. Because of this, the crisis “capacity” at YMGE is somewhat more limited than other conferences. Some committee directors may not even allow for individual actions.

The point is: you have to go with the flow. Don’t get upset or frustrated that the crisis room isn’t responding specifically to you. Refocus your attention on working with the committee.


Continue to Lesson 6: Specialized Committees at YMGE