Delegate Preparation Week 1
An Introduction to Model United Nations
What is Model United Nations?
The best way to learn how to participate in Model UN is through simulations. Before doing anything else, we recommend running your team through the following introductory simulation to introduce them to Model UN and prepare them for BDMUNC. This simulation is called “Fruits and Vegetables.”
Fruits and Vegetables
There are 3 goals for this simulation:
Break the ice - Each of your delegates is required to speak and participate. Students should feel comfortable making jokes and having fun; this isn’t supposed to be an intimidating activity!
Introduce the elements and format of Model UN in a fun way - Your delegates will gain an understanding of the flow of Model UN without needing to understand the intricacies of Rules of Procedure or the complicated language used in international negotiations.
Determine your delegates’ strengths and weaknesses - This simulation will allow you to observe your delegates skills in public speaking, leadership, and negotiation.
In Model UN, students represent a Country to discuss a Topic in a Committee. In Fruits and Vegetables, we do basically the same thing.
Instruct your team that they will be simulating the United Nations Cafeteria. This will be their Committee.
Tell them their Topic is to determine if Fruits or Vegetables would make a better salad to be served in the UN Cafeteria.
Divide the room evenly into two groups: fruits and vegetables. You may either assign delegates specific fruits and vegetables or ask them to come up with their own- this will be the equivalent of their Country Assignment.
Note: We have included a number of Placards with various Fruit and Vegetable titles as a resource. Using Placards will help your team take the simulation more seriously and better prepare them for a real conference.
Instruct your team that they have 5 minutes to Research their Country Assignment. They should come up with 3 reasons why their fruit or vegetable makes a better ingredient for a salad. These 3 reasons should then be combined into a 1-minute speech.
We have included a worksheet to assist your students as they write out their reasons and with structuring of their 1-minute speech.
Once five minutes are up, begin the Debate. have your students stand up one at a time and give their 1-minute speech for the entire room. We strongly recommend giving everyone a turn, time permitting.
After the speeches are finished, instruct delegates to begin Negotiating with other fruits and vegetables for 15 minutes. During this time they must build a “salad” (similar to a Model UN Resolution) by finding a group of like-minded ingredients with which to determine a salad name, a list of ingredients, and a step-by-step guide to building their ideal salad.
Note: Delegates must formally agree to add the fruit or veggie they represent to a salad. We have also included a worksheet for salad groups to fill out, in which delegates may fill out the above information in a structured format.
Once negotiations are complete, groups should go to the front of the room and present their “recipes” one at a time for a period of 2 minutes each- groups should first read off their recipe, and then explain why they think other students should support it. Following this, each group should be given 1-2 minutes to answer questions from other students.
After each group has presented their “recipe”, delegates can take a Vote. Inform your delegates that recipe’s will need more yes than no votes in order to be “passed” and be served in the cafeteria. More than one recipe may pass and in order to Vote delegates must raise their placard either “in favor” or “opposed” to the recipe. Take turns announcing each recipe, collecting Votes “in favor” and “opposed,” and announcing if a recipe passes.
Congratulations, you have completed your first Model UN simulation! Delegates represented an assigned role to discuss a topic in an assigned committee. Then they debated, negotiated, and voted on their ideas. This is what we do in Model UN! Now, let’s add in some of the Model UN-specific language and procedures.
Watch the following introductory video and lets jump in!
Special thanks to the GatorMUN team at the University of Florida for allowing us to use this video!
At BDMUNC, we’ll feature exclusively “General Assembly” committees.
Model UN Stages of Debate
Model United Nations can be broken down into 5 simple steps. During the Fruits and Veggies simulation, you completed each of these in order:
After delegates chose a fruit or vegetable to represent, they did research to find reasons why they belonged in a salad. The first step of preparing for a conference is for delegates to research the country they have been assigned to represent, the topic they are discussing, and the committee in which they are discussing it. The best delegates have a strong understanding of all three of these things, earned through plenty of research.
Once delegates figured out why their fruit or vegetable was valuable for a salad, they organized these points into a speech and delivered it to the entire committee. The same is done in a real Model UN committee, but debate can last for several committee sessions and cover many sub-topics and issues. During debate, delegates advocate for what should be done about their topics on a wide range of issues. Delegates should listen to the speeches given by others during this time to figure out who they want to work on resolutions with later!
To negotiate during Fruits and Vegetables, students moved around the room to find others with similar policies that they could work with. They formed alliances with like-minded fruits and vegetables. Those alliances are called Blocs in Model UN. At a Model UN conference, students will look for countries with similar policies to their own to work together on a common resolution.
Once blocs are formed, students start writing “resolutions”, similar to their recipes during Fruits and Vegetables. Resolutions are documents created by students that detail the solutions they’d like the United Nations to pursue on the topic. Just like the recipes, resolutions must contain a title, a list of sponsors (instead of ingredients), and a number of solutions to the given issue (instead of the steps for a salad). Once resolutions are complete, students will present them to the committee and answer questions.
Once all resolutions have been presented, the committee will vote on which resolutions it thinks matches their policies and best solves the issue up for discussion. Resolutions need more “yes” than “no” votes in order to pass.
It’s important to remember that these stages are fluid! Sometimes a committee will move between debate, negotiation, and resolution several times before the action phase is reached. In Model UN, delegates use “Motions” to help move through these different stages of debate until resolutions are ready to be voted on. More on this later.
Interested in more MUN vocabulary to help prepare for the conference? We’ll cover all this terminology in the on-site training, but you can also download a Model UN Vocab List here!
Now that we have an understanding of what Model UN is and how it works we can start preparing for BDMUNC! After paying your delegate deposit, you’ll receive your country assignments for your team, and your students can begin the very first stage of Model UN: Research.
To help your students prepare, have them complete the linked Country Profile Worksheet before your next meeting. This worksheet will help them gain some familiarity with their country. Next week we’ll introduce you history and work of the United Nations and teach how to research more specific information, such as countries’ policies and stances on particular international topics.
For further details or more in-depth guides for an Introduction to Model UN, please visit https://bestdelegate.com/teachers/.