Sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch
University resources (for organisers)
- Choose a date and time to hold your Model UN and decide how long it will last. Events can range from a half-day session involving one class in a school to a three day international conference.
- Make sure that you will have rooms available where you can hold the event. The best rooms have tables that can be rearranged into a horseshoe shape to face a top table where the Chair, reporter, and other advisers or committee staff will sit. Each delegation will need a placard that displays their country’s name in large letters. Adding the country’s flag can be a nice touch and nametags are essential for identifying representatives when they are not seated.
- Choose the committee(s) that you will be simulating and a topic to discuss, which may be chosen for its relevance to the curriculum or students’ interests.
- Make sure that a computer will be available for writing and typing resolutions and amendments and that there will be reproduction facilities.
- Delegates should be divided into teams and assigned a country to represent. For ideas on which countries to choose, click here.
- For an event lasting a day or more, it is a good idea to ask a local VIP to open the first session. They could be somebody connected with the school, university or group organising the Model UN – the Chair of Governors in a school, or the Head of a Faculty in a university. Other options include the local MP, a local councillor or a person who is involved (or has been involved) with the UN or with foreign affairs in general.
- Divide up the work for the conference. Here are some suggestions (although you may not need some of these, depending on the size of your conference)
- Secretary-General: the principal organiser should take on this role. In the UN, the Secretary-General is in charge of the Secretariat. During a Model UN, the Secretary-General is in charge of all the people co-ordinating the sessions and taking messages. The Secretary-General assists and advises the Chairs and acts as an adviser on matters of procedure.
- Chairs to run each committee and reporters to take notes and assist each Chair with amendments.
- Advisers are needed to help delegations with drafting amendments and operative clauses. These are probably teachers or people who have taken part in previous Model UN events.
- Secretariat: the members of the Secretariat take notes, assist the President and Chairs with amendments, act as the go-between for delegations during the debate, distribute papers and generally assist with the smooth running of the negotiations.
- Press: participants can act as the press corps, either for the event in general, or attached to certain delegations. The press corps could produce reports of the different delegations’ positions in a newspaper or online format.
Skills for students to practice
The emphasis should be on delegates researching their countries and issues themselves. They should learn how to be efficient and to detect bias in information. For notes on how to conduct the research process and some links to get started with, click here.
Delegates should practise their public speaking skills – in particular, the need to speak slowly and to project their voices when speaking in a large room. Presenting general information about their countries can be a great way for students to practice. You should assign a maximum length for each speech and enforce the limits. Participants could practice answering questions from their peers, as well. For more ideas on public speaking, click here.
Practising resolution-writing should be part of the preparation process and it may even be useful for the delegates to pre-draft preambulatory clauses for use on the day. For details of how to write a Model UN resolution, click here.
Delegates should be asked to write a position paper, which discusses and explains their country’s views on the issue. For more information on writing position papers, click here.
Rules of Procedure
A short Model UN conference may use only very simplified rules of procedure – having an experienced Chair to direct the debate may be all that is necessary. However, for a more complicated conference, rules must be discussed and agreed in advance. Everything will go much more smoothly on the day if everyone is already familiar and comfortable with the way that committee sessions are run and understands their role. For more information on rules of procedure, click here.