In Model UN conferences, it is all about the diversity of the 192 countries and their national interests. Although it is important to have a strong personal opinion, you have to act according to the nation’s background and stances to be persuasive enough.
Once you put on your suit or blouse on, you are not yourself anymore, you are an ambassador of THAT nation, you are a citizen who knows what you can compromise and what you cannot. For example, a delegate of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (a.k.a. North Korea) will unlikely to be totally agreeing on a topic that is about regulating nuclear weapons or development while a delegate of China will definitely not be agreeing on the global enforcement or education of democracy. This is sometimes where it gets difficult for many of us because topics and country assignment are often, in a sense, pure luck. In certain situations, the topic and positions might not fit with what we have in mind or what we believe in. For this reason, we had provided an example below on a commonly-discussed topic during conference and some tips and research highlights for you to be able to act more easily and flexible yet sticking to your position:
Topic Examples: Weaponry and Espionage or Privacy Affairs
To start off your journey to becoming a citizen of your representing country in such topics, finding the right websites to help you during research is crucial to avoid unwanted situations! We strongly advise you not to read upon collaborated websites such as wikipedia (it can be a starting point on information, but not a source to rely on). If you are not certain on a statistic or information, double check it on another website to make sure its credibility! Little tip, it is easier to first copy and paste the informations and sections you find useful on a document which will be more convenient for your further research and analysis. Here are some websites that can start you off:
- https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ (Focus especially on sub-topics such as miltary and security, military expenditures, export and import partners, and transnational issues)
- http://www.world-nuclear.org/ (Facts on nuclear affairs for most countries with statistics!)
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/country_profiles/default.stm (Shortcut in knowing a countries’ historic profile and current affairs)
- http://www.worldbank.org/en (economy profile, industry, and partners)
After some intense researches, you must compile it into different categories and jot down notes. Your first step will be acknowledging your country’s current army affairs. If you had followed the tip and copied it onto the document, start analyzing your research according to the questions below:
- Is your country currently involved in wars?
- In what degree/ size is your country’s armed forces?
- Is your country currently developing or purchasing any type of new weapons?
Another factor you can consider is your alliance and non-allied nations, in this aspect, you can also look in some of the country’s historic profile. The more facts you gain, the more prepared you will be! Here are some profiles you can consider:
- Great historical & international events involved on both positive and negative perspectives and their causes (it is important to know the reason, always better to dig deeper instead of inspecting only the surface!)
- Positive events can be signing a treaty or cooperating with a country in development or defense
- Negative events can be involving in/ declaring a war or not ratifying a treaty.
- Remember to emphasize your positive events more during the conference, you would definitely not be the “one” nations are unsatisfied with!
- What countries are on your side during these historical events or ever supported you till today? What countries will you be unlikely to agree upon? (for example, the United States will likely group with Russia in arm forces besides extreme or rare conditions especially in the Security Council)
It will be easier if you draw a T-shaped table and list out both allies and countries that need negotiating, while putting a few bullet points besides each. During THIMUN procedure, you can then easily refer to this table when delegates are doing their opening speeches and decide your allied countries when writing resolutions and forming blocs! Or during UNAUSA, knowing who you should find and interact with more during unmoderated caucuses!
Lastly, a country that stands against you does not mean you should never talk to that delegate. If time permits (especially during THIMUN when you have extra time in lobbying after submitting off to the approval panel or finishing your bloc paper), make sure to stop by these countries and talk to them.
Perhaps, if lucky, you will find common grounds and get a higher possibility in passing (and more supporters!) Hence, a tip for amendments, make sure to amend other blocs’ paper to match your countries’ stances, you would not want a paper to pass regarding allowing free nuclear weapon if you are Switzerland!
To wrap up, do not be afraid to go against some countries just because they are your friends or classmates. In the end, this is the fun part of Model UN! It is the difficulty and challenge that makes this event extraordinary and meaningful. Be prepared and enjoy, happy research!
References "Unamed Image." Joint Photographic Experts Group. Multiweb.press, n.d. Web. 16 July 2016.