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Model UN Help Center

Quick Answers to Your Most Pressing MUN Questions

How do I start a Model UN club?

Model UN is not a centralized activity– every club and team operates independently from one another, and there is no central organizing body. To start an after-school Model UN club, you’ll have to find out how your school recognized co-curricular activities. Each school will have different processes for creating a new club, so consult a teacher or faculty member and ask how to begin the process. Most schools will require a teacher or faculty advisor, so contact teachers you think may be interested. They can also help you create a constitution that will govern your club’s functions. Then, begin speaking to friends and peers about the club to grow interest in membership.

How many times should I speak during a moderated caucus?

Many people will tell you that you should always speak as much as you can no matter what. This can be the case in certain instances, but it’s also possible to overkill how much you speak.

The answer to this question varies depending on committee size and type. In larger committees, speaking opportunities are few and far between, so you should aim to speak as much as possible. In committees like this, your placard should always be raised up high whenever the chair asks if anyone wishes to speak; that way, you can establish a presence in committee.

In smaller committees, the answer becomes slightly more strategic. If possible, you should try to speak AT LEAST once in every single moderated caucus. If you speak once during the first half of the moderated caucus, it may also be beneficial to try to speak again during the second half by reiterating your ideas in different words or being responsive to speeches made by other delegates. In rare cases where your country or position is an important player in a particular topic of a moderated caucus, speaking more than twice is acceptable but should be used sparingly. If you feel a need to speak more than twice without being a central player in a discussion, it simply means that your first speeches were not comprehensive enough to get your point across.

When should I start writing clauses for my Model UN draft resolution?

In most US conferences, clauses cannot be written before the official start of a conference when debate is opened during committee session 1. Writing clauses before this time is called pre-writing and is considered cheating within the Model UN community. For most conferences, pre-writing is grounds for disqualification for awards and sometimes even expulsion from the conference.

You are free to begin writing as soon as debate opens, but it’s generally a good idea to wait and hear from other delegates and find ones with similar positions as you before you begin writing. Many delegates perceive people that write clauses before solidifying a bloc as uncooperative or manipulative, so it’s best to hold off at least for a little bit. What you can do to get around this is write out positions you have or ideas you would like to put into a draft resolution as loose bullet points that way you can remember and reference them when it is time to begin writing clauses but are still not cheating by pre-writing.

Should I leave the committee room during debate to write my draft resolution?

If you are a single delegate, in most instances, it is unwise to leave the committee room during formal debate. Debate is important in advocating for your country’s positions and stances. Missing out on debate makes you appear weaker and less visible in committee to other delegates and the chair. Draft resolutions in Model UN are also supposed to be written in groups of delegates called blocs, so writing yours alone during structured debate time can make you seem uncooperative or undiplomatic. If you’re concerned about not having enough time to write your draft resolutions, don’t worry! Committees usually move towards the writing stage during the middle of the second day of a conference, where there will be plenty of longer unmoderated caucuses that you can use as time to write your resolution along with the rest of your bloc. 

The main exception to this would be in a dual delegate committee, where at the chair’s discretion, one delegate can stay in the room and participate in debate while their partner leaves the room with other delegates to write resolutions and optimize committee time.

How should I structure my draft resolution?

Draft resolutions contain three main parts: the heading, preambulatory clauses, and operative clauses.

The heading will vary depending on your committee and conference, but headings will always include sponsors and signatories of the resolution. They also typically include the committee’s name and the title of the resolution.

Preambulatory clauses state the purpose of the resolution or the situation that the resolution hopes to rectify. These clauses are always followed by semicolons.

Operative clauses provide the concrete action being taken to resolve the issue or topic at hand. They can be very specific and are also followed by semicolons. If subclauses are used, they will be followed by commas. If you have one subclause, you must also have a second subclause. The final clause is followed by a period.

For more information about writing resolutions, check out our MUN 101 Draft Resolution Guide.

Does my opening speech really matter?

Absolutely. Opening speeches are your chance to make a strong first impression on the chair and the other delegates in committee. Not only is it important to show other delegates that you’re confident and know what you’re talking about, but it’s also always good practice to share your country’s stances and platform very early on to make sure those with similar stances know that you both align and can potentially work together on a resolution. If you do not show the other delegates in the room who you are as a delegate, you will be perpetually behind in committee.

For further guidance on giving speeches, visit our MUN 101 Guide to General Assembly Public Speaking and Debate.

What are important parts of a Model UN club constitution?

Remember that your club’s Constitution will govern how your Model UN organization operates, so include provisions about requirements for membership. Examples include attendance at meetings, financial requirements, or performance evaluations. It is also important to outline the club’s purpose and how it can better serve the student body. Two other aspects of a strong constitution are finances, how the club will be funded, and other officer positions and roles within the club.

Should I write and rehearse my speeches before committee?

No, rehearsed speeches are a very common pet peeve of many chairs and may result in you scoring lower. One large facet of Model UN is its fluidity. It’s impossible to predict exactly where committee debate will go during the course of a conference, and writing/rehearsing speeches before the beginning of the conference may very well end up being a lot of work for nothing. The only speech you should plan out is your opening speech, but even still, writing and reading verbatim is never a strong strategy. 

Speakers are viewed as more confident and knowledgeable when they speak without notes or without reading directly from a page. If you feel you need to have notes with you for your speech, try writing brief bullet points of ideas you want to incorporate into your speech and using them as a guide while you deliver your speech for reference. Ideally, though, once you are more experienced as a delegate, you will leave the notes behind.

What should I do if I can’t think of clauses to write for a draft resolution?

Try to do further research on your topic and solutions that may have already been implemented by the UN or another relevant international organization. If those solutions have proven successful, try to build off of them in your new clauses without plagiarizing the content you found in your research. If the solutions you researched did not work, try to address ways the failure occurred in your new clause. Many common clause topics are neglected in Model UN and can help strengthen your resolution. These include funding mechanisms, collaboration with other international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and enforcement mechanisms if your committee has those powers.

What are operative clauses in a Model UN draft resolution?

Operative clauses are the actionable orders or recommendations of a Model UN resolution. The purpose of operation clauses is to design a solution for a particular global issue. 

Operative clauses start with an operative phrase, known as active verbs, such as “designates,” “urges,” or “recommends,” and must include actionable items that are realistic and within the jurisdiction of a committee. Examples include the Security Council sending peacekeeping forces to a country or the World Health Organization organizing an emergency vaccine distribution program. Operative clauses can also include subclauses for further depth of information.

Check out our MUN 101 Resolution Writing tutorial for more information on operative clauses.

What are sponsors and signatories?

Sponsors are people who meaningfully contributed to or helped write the resolution. Signatories are people who wish to see the resolution debated, but do not necessarily have to agree with the content in the resolution. Most conferences will have minimum and maximum numbers of sponsors for any given resolution, as well as a minimum number of signatories for any given resolution.

For an in-depth explanation of sponsors and signatories, read our MUN 101 Resolution Writing Guide.

What do I wear to a Model UN conference?

Model UN delegates dress in “Western business attire” (WBA) during all committee sessions at conferences. WBA is business formal attire that business professionals in the Western part of the world are expected to wear. This would include formal dresses, skirts, pantsuits, button-downs, and suits. Ensuring that you are wearing appropriate attire will help you appear professional and well-kept during a conference.

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