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Paper Versus Tech Conferences in Model UN

The tech policy of Model UN conferences can sharply impact the strategy and planning that a delegate considers before the opening gavel. A systematic approach to the rules and regulations regarding technology is essential to competing in Model UN with success.

Research and Preparation

There is a stark difference between research when preparing for paper and tech conferences. Concerning paper conferences, I have three pieces of advice:

  1. Print, print, and print.
  2. Have all of your research with you, whether it be the background guide itself, a report issued by your country, or statistics about an obscure UN agency that you may or may not even use to achieve your mission.
  3. Make sure you have the materials necessary to convey to other delegates that your arguments and proposals are rooted in ethos and evidence.

Additionally, once you have printed all of your materials, organize yourself. Use that three-ring binder that you haven’t touched since middle school. Use those dividers, sticky notes, and highlighters to locate your materials efficiently. With tech conferences, you don’t have to be as meticulous when gathering materials; however, it’s still important to be proactive about research. Consider making a folder with annotated PDFs of reports from IGOs and NGOs and a document with links to various sources. With access to technology, it can be difficult to avoid the temptation of looking up every point of policy contention. If you can rationalize your argument and neutralize that of an opposing bloc without having to look it up, your skills as a delegate will only improve. As the name suggests, we are modeling the United Nations! Imagine if an ambassador got into a heated debate with their colleague and pulled up Google to prove them wrong… As delegates, we still must be knowledgeable about our country’s position and committee topics independent of search engines. 

Resolutions

Resolution writing is one of the most essential parts of Model UN. One of the most affected aspects of a committee depends on a conference’s tech policy. Concerning paper conferences, delegates should bring plenty of lined paper, an assortment of colored pens, and sticky notes. It goes without saying that if delegates are going to author resolutions or amendments, they will need paper, but why pens and sticky notes? It is critical to know what each delegate wrote when collectively writing resolutions. So by bringing an assortment of pens, you ensure that it will be clear who authored what.

Moreover, when it comes time for choosing who to represent the bloc during Q and A, it will be clear who has authored the most and can best speak for the resolution. Additionally, if a delegate in your bloc (or a rival one) doesn’t have a colored pen, lending them one could be viewed as extending an olive branch of peace. Sticky notes are essential because they allow delegates to outline possible clauses and subclauses during the initial stages of writing a resolution. Bloc leaders can later determine in what order they want clauses to go in or if they even wish to the clause. Similarly, delegates should type their contributions in different colors with tech conferences to avoid confusion about who wrote what.

Furthermore, delegates should use the suggestion and comment mode features offered in Google to give feedback. Most importantly, with tech-based conferences, delegates should insist upon seeing the edit history before collaborating with an assigned delegate. When working papers are submitted to chairs, chairs will view the edit history, and in a committee where there is a writing ban, if there are edits made before the beginning of the committee, that working paper will be disqualified!

Remember to be mindful of the rules and your fellow delegate’s adherence to those rules during Model UN  conferences. Don’t allow their decisions to prevent you from earning awards come closing ceremonies. 

With the growing diversity of Model UN circuits and the continued possibility of online conferences, it is crucial to know how to approach the contrasts between paper and tech permitting conferences.

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