Three lessons I have learned as a Model United Nations Delegate.

Oluwasolafunmi Adejokun
5 min readAug 23, 2020

Model United Nations is an educational stimulation or academic activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations. It refers to an educational activity that involves bringing diverse individuals together to represent each member-state of the world just as would happen in the United Nations.

Participants in a Model United Nations Conference are known as delegates. They are placed in committees and assigned countries to represent, or political figures to represent. This in essence states that someone can be assigned as the Delegate of the United States in the Security Council while that persons friend can be assigned the role of the Peru president in let’s say ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council) and another friend assigned to be a Permanent Observer depending on the organizers or the Model United Nations as well as the Available Committees. Here is a little video that adequately explains it right here.

Delegates will be required to conduct research before and during the conference, formulate positions and come up with policy proposals that will be debated during committee sessions. Afterwards, written policies known as draft resolutions will be made with the goal of passing them with a majority vote. I have attached an article that is enjoyable to read. Just click here.

MUN conferences build critical thinking skills and serves as a great platform for networking. I say this because I met some of my closest friends via attending a Model UN conference. It is also a great platform to build soft skills like research as well as teamwork because creating your draft resolution will require that.

I have had the privilege of participating in two model united nations conferences, in 2019 and 2020 respectively, representing the great United States of America and I won awards in both as the Best Delegate and the Best Position Paper and I want to believe that this makes me able to speak on how to navigate a Model United Nations conference successfully. I will like to say that it is not about winning awards, though that is really cool. It is more about being able to effectively play the role that you have been assigned to.

In doing this, I have picked three key lessons I have learned on this journey.

  • Always be prepared.
    Here proper planning does prevent poor performance. As a first time delegate, it is advisable that you understand what it entails. Watch videos that will teach you about the art of being a delegate and what it entails. Read on the committee that you have been assigned to as a part of the United Nations. More importantly, read on the committee topic for discussion itself. I have made it a duty to skim through the assigned rules of procedure of each Model UN I attend. Also, read about your country, its governmental ideology, its ruling party as well as the state capital; which is extremely important. I have heard about a situation in which a delegate didn’t know the capital of his assigned country when he was asked by the committee chair. You wouldn’t experience that kind of embarrassment would you?
    To further reiterate this point, during my second Model UN experience, I was called up from my committee, the UN Women that was deliberating on Women’s rights to talk about Terrorism, the impact of COVID-19 and to explain why the United States was going to pull out of the World Health Organization. This was because no delegate was assigned to represent the USA in the Security Council. To be honest, I wasn’t prepared but I was able to give a bit of explanation till a friend of mine who had more knowledge on these issues was able to come in to say that he was the representative but wasn’t given adequate notification. Things would have gone south if this wasn’t the case.
  • Have a well prepared Position Paper.
    A position paper is simply a concise research on the position of your country on the given topic. It also states the activities of your committee so far on the topic in question as well as some proposed solutions to the issue in question. There are two basic rule guiding the formation of a position paper, the first is that the position paper must not be less than one page and must not be more than one and a half pages. Many are not aware of this rule. I recall a position paper I once wrote. It was above the recommended one and a half pages so I changed the font style and the line and paragraph spacing. I also changed the document to p.df format so it wouldn’t be altered. Smart right!
    The second is that the position paper must be referenced and the referencing style is usually determined by the MUN organizers. I make use of the MLA format when it is not specified. A friend of mine missed an opportunity to get an award because he didn’t add references. For anyone who is interested, please, send an email to lamongstt@gmail.com with the words “Killer position paper” and you will receive a position paper I have written.
  • Interact.
    Your level of interactions with other delegates can make or mar your Model UN experience. This is one thing I wish I did on a more personal level in my first Model UN. With interaction, you can get other delegates to stand up for your cause, to defend and back up your suggestions loyally, without any agreement before your committee session. My first experience of this was when I as the delegate of the USA was called upon to defend the support of Israel by the USA and I wasn’t really sure about what answers to give. The Delegate of Brazil, because of my previous interaction with her defended the actions of the USA.

Model UN is a proof of the fact that you don’t necessarily have to be the smartest person in the room to het what you want. You just have to be able to make use of what you have at your disposal plus a little research to participate actively.

There is nothing better than experiencing the thrills of Modelling the United Nations. Whether you are going the virtual way or the in-person way, never forget to always be prepared, have a good position paper and always interact with other delegates.

Connect with me with your questions via email at lamongstt@gmail.com and via Instagram at Oluwasolafunmi_a and Twitter at life_of__deola. I plan on addressing them in my next post. Today we model the United Nations, Tomorrow, we will be the United Nations.

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