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Model UN Preparation

Researching for Conference

Preparation Guide

Table Of Contents

  1. Writing
    1. How to write a position paper
    2. How to write a resolution paper
  2. Speech
    1. Public Speaking Preparation Guide
    2. How to make an opening speech
    3. How to make a speech during the debate
    4. Public speaking tips
  3. Professional Dressing
    1. How to dress for success


How to Write a Position Paper (learn more)

Writing a position paper might appear to be a daunting task, especially for the new delegates. But with enough research, you will find that writing a position paper will be easy and useful. (Research)

Position papers are usually one page in length. Your position paper should include a brief introduction followed by a comprehensive breakdown of your country’s position on the topics that are being discussed by the committee.

A good position paper will not only provide factors but also make proposals for resolutions.

A good position paper will include:

  1. A Brief introduction to your country and its history concerning the topic;
  2. How the issue affects your country;
  3. Your country’s policies with respect to the issue and your country’s justification for these policies;
  4. Quotes from your country’s leaders about the issue;
  5. Actions taken by your government with regard to the issue;
  6. Conventions and resolutions that your country has signed or ratified;
  7. UN actions that your country supported or opposed;
  8. What your country believes should be done to address the issue;
  9. What your country would like to accomplish in the committee’s resolution and
  10. How the positions of other countries affect your country’s position.

Please visit this link to see a sample position paper:

Position Paper Tips

Keep it simple: to communicate strongly and effectively, avoid flowery wording and stick to uncomplicated language and sentence structure.

Make it official: Try to use the seal of your country or create an “official” letterhead for your position paper. The more realistic it looks, the more others will want to read it.

Get organized: Give each separate idea or proposal its own paragraph. Make sure each paragraph starts with a topic sentence.

City your sources: Use footnotes or endnotes to show where you found your factors and statistics. If you are unfamiliar with bibliographic form, look up the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines at your school’s library.

Read and Reread: Leave time to edit your position paper. Ask yourself if the organization of the paper makes sense and double check your spelling and grammar.

Speech! Speech! Do you plan to make an opening statement at your conference?
A good position paper makes a great introductory speech. During debate, a good position paper will also help you to stick to your country’s policies.

Let the bullets fly: Try not to let your proposal become lost in the sea of information. For speechmaking, create a bulleted list of your proposals along with your most important facts and statistics so that you do not lose time looking for them during the debate.

How to Write a Resolution Paper (learn more)

Tips for Resolution Writing

  1. Be sure to follow the format for resolutions provided by the conference organizers. Each conference may have a slightly different format.
  2. Create a detailed resolution. For example, if your resolution calls for a new program, think about how it will be funded and what body will manage it.
  3. Try to cite facts whenever possible.
  4. Be realistic. Do not create objectives for your resolution that cannot be met. Make sure your body can take the action suggested. For example, the General Assembly can’t sanction another country – only the Security Council can do so.
  5. Try to find multiple sponsors. Your committee will be more likely to approve the resolutions if many delegates contribute ideas.
  6. Perambulatory clauses are historic justifications for action. Use them to cite past resolutions, precedents and statements about the purpose of action
  7. Operative clauses are policies that the resolution is designed to create. Use them to explain what the committee will do to address the issue.


Public Speaking (learn more)

Public speaking is one of the most important skills you will use as a Model UN delegate. You will need to convey your member state’s positions, help build consensus and formulate resolutions. Usually, the length of time a delegate is allowed to speak is set by the conference organizers. Delegates can make a motion to increase or decrease the time allotted to each speaker. If another delegate seconds the motion, then the committee will vote on changing the speaker’s time.

You will have numerous opportunities to speak in your committee during a Model UN simulation. The Chair will maintain a speakers list of delegates who would like to make formal speeches. During caucusing you will have an opportunity to speak informally to delegates in your committee, but it is still important to keep the principles of effective public speaking in mind.

Although speaking is an important part of any Model UN simulation, many delegates fear speaking in front of a large group. The best way to cope with these fears is to be well-prepared. You should research as much as possible about your country and the issue the committee will be debating. You should be comfortable explaining your country’s position and have ideas on what you would like to include in the committee’s resolution. If you come to the conference prepared, you will be eager to speak in committee and project confidence.

How to make an opening speech

  • First, you should thank the presiding official by saying “Thank you Mr./ Madame/ Honorable Chair/ President…”
  • Then begin by providing a brief history on the issue as it relates to your country.
  • Speak about how the issue is currently affecting your country.
  • Provide your country’s position on the issue. Include an explanation for your country’s stance, such as economic or security concerns or political or religious ideology.
  • You may choose to give an explanation of how your country’s position relates to the positions of other member states such as the major powers or countries in your regional bloc.
  • You should discuss some of the past actions taken by the UN, member states and NGOs to address the issue.
  • Present ideas for a resolution, stressing your country’s objectives for the resolution.
  • Talk about the role that NGOs or regional organizations have to play in addressing the issue.
  • Indicate to the committee members whether your country is willing to negotiate.

What to do during the debate:

  • Again, you should thank the presiding official by saying “Thank you Mr./ Madame/ Honorable Chair/ President…”
  • Encourage collaboration among member states by proposing ways that your country would be willing to work with other member states.
  • By referencing what other delegates have said, you can show support for your allies or indicate which proposals your country does not favor.
  • Present ideas for draft resolutions.
  • Explain why your country does or does not support other draft resolutions.

Public Speaking Tips

Prepare: Decide how you feel most comfortable delivering your speech. You may choose to use your position paper text as your opening speech or you may write out some key points. In time, you may feel comfortable speaking without any written notes at all. If you plan to use a word or phrase that is unfamiliar to you, make sure you learn its meaning and how to pronounce it properly.

Practice: Rehearsing your speech is the best way to perfect your public speaking skills. Try practicing in front of a teacher, a parent, or fellow Model UNers from your class or club. When you listen to a speech, provide constructive feedback rather than criticism. When someone critiques your speech, accept the feedback graciously and use it as a tool to strengthen your public speaking.

Consider your audience: Make your speech appropriate to the age and experience-level of the other delegates at the conference. Remember that the beginning of the speech should captivate your audience and make them to want to hear more.

Eliminate unnecessary “filler” words: Fillers are words and phrases such as “umm,” “well,” “sort of,” and “like”. These words take away from the message you are trying to convey. Some additional fillers to avoid are “so,” “you know,” “I think,” “just,” and “uh.”

Use meaningful pauses: Leaving a moment of silence between sentences can be a powerful public speaking tool. Pausing after an important point or before answering a question will help to hold the audience’s attention. A pause can also give you time to formulate your next statement.

Breathe: Try to breathe from your diaphragm – the organ below your lungs that controls your respiration. You are breathing properly if you can see your abdomen rising and falling with each breath. Try to inhale and exhale completely.

Pace yourself: Don’t talk too fast or too slow. Remember that most speakers have a tendency to talk too quickly.

Choose a powerful posture: Be aware of your posture when you speak. Slouching, tilting your head and crossing your arms or legs will take away from your message. Stand up straight, relax your shoulders, plant your feet firmly and keep your knees unlocked to help you communicate confidence.

Project your presence: Speaking in a low to medium volume can help to project authority, but make sure that you are speaking loud enough to be easily heard. Focus on speaking with enthusiasm and energy.

Gesture: It is worthwhile to use your face, hands, arms and body to help you communicate as long as your motions do not distract the audience from your speech.

Connect with your audience: Glance at your notes rather than reading them so that you can make eye contact with the other delegates. It is often helpful to speak directly to individual members of the audience.

Get to the point: Speak concisely so that your audience does not lose your main arguments among less-important details. Try not to speak in circles. Instead, go straight to your most important point.

Be positive: Rather than criticizing another point of view, critic it in a constructive way. Always provide alternatives and be sure to back up your argument.

Professional Dressing

Dress for Success

Dressing professionally and appropriately is an important aspect of Model United Nations preparations. Just like being polite and having proper manners, dressing appropriately is an important way to show respect for the nation you are representing, for your fellow delegates and for the United Nations. At some conferences, delegates may wear their own national dress; however, most conferences will require western business attire.

What is Western Business Attire?

Western business attire, or international standard business attire, serves as customary dress for workplaces. It entails wearing a suit, which is made up of trousers, a matching jacket, a button-down dress shirt, and a tie. Conservative dress shoes and socks are also important. Skirts and dresses may also be worn as long as they fall to a decent length. The main thing to remember is to always insure that your appearance is tidy and put-together, and that you are well-covered.

Females Males
Suits A suit always looks professional. Be sure to keep suits clean and wrinkle-free. A suit always looks professional. Be sure to keep suits clean and wrinkle-free.
Tops No t-shirts. A blouse, sweater, or button-down shirt of any kind is appropriate. Dresses are also appropriate as long as they are not revealing and adequate in length (follow the rules below for skirt length). No t-shirts. A collared/button-down shirt is appropriate and do not forget a tie!
Bottoms No jeans or shorts. Slacks and suit-pants are acceptable. Skirts must be worn with pantyhose/stockings and should not be more than two inches above the knee. Bottoms should have a subtle pattern; avoid loud designs. No jeans or shorts. Slacks, preferable in dark colors, are appropriate.

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