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Elements of Preparation
2010/11/11 20:30
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Elements of Preparation



 



 Preparing
well for a Model United Nations conference is the most vital component on
determining how much you get out of the experience. Delegates who prepare well will not only
learn much more about an issue and country than most adults will ever learn,
they will also be able to actively interact with other delegates over the
entire course of the conference. Those
who fail to put in an adequate amount of preparation will not gain so much from
the experience.



 Preparation
is even more important for English language learners preparing for a conference
conducted in the English language. Such
students start off at a disadvantage due to language issue. However, students
who put in the appropriate time and dedication into preparation, these students
can gain the same benefits as other students, and even more as they will gain
the skills in a second language and can further apply them to work in their own
language.



 Getting
ready for a Model United Nations conference takes several steps and can take
several weeks to three or four months. The steps are not mutually exclusive. You will almost always be working on two or more steps in the
preparation process at the same time.



 It
is extremely important that you be very familiar with the country that you will
be representing. Part of the Model
United Nations experience is being ready for the unexpected and being able to
deal with it. One can prepare well for
their opening speech and resolution; however, over the course of the
conference, other delegates will say things that you will have to respond
to. The better you understand the
country that you are representing, the more effectively you will be able to
respond to unexpected events and statements made over the course of the
conference. This is why it is extremely
important that you not only prepare a comprehensive Country Profile, but you commit as much of the information to
memory as possible so that you can call on it over the course of the conference.



 The
next step is to prepare a Policy
Statement
for your country on the issue/issues that your committee will
address. Some conferences, like TAIMUN,
CENTMUN, and MIMUN, only one issue is addressed by a committee However, at larger and longer conferences,
such as MUNOS and MYMUN, you may deal with two, three or even more specific
issues.



 Preparation
of this Policy Statement requires two steps. First, you must research the issue(s) on the table. This is general research on the issue. Here, it does not matter what country you are
representing. The second step is then to
discover what your country has to say about the issue, and then present that in
a one-page summary.



 Once
you have done your Policy Statement, you can then begin working on your Resolution. You will use both references to actual United
Nations resolutions and your countries view of the situation to construct the
first part of the resolution known as the Perambulatory Clauses. After that, the Operative Clauses will put in
writing what your country sees as an effective solution to the issue that is
being considered.



 Your
Policy Statement will also be used as the main source of information for your Opening Speech, which must be no longer
than one-minute in length. The objective
of this speech is to outline as clearly as possible what your country believes
to be the problem and how your country proposes to solve it. An effective Opening Speech can be the first
step to getting other delegates to see things your way.



 You
should also consider your Rights-of-Reply. There are not as impromptu as they may appear
to a casual observer. One can prepare
effective Rights-of-Reply through research on what the other delegates to the
committee are likely to say. You will
need to know which countries will be sympathetic to your view and which will
not be. You should then decide whom you
want to respond to – both pro and con – and draft comments. Rights-of-Reply may last no longer than
thirty seconds.



 All
of this preparation leads to the actual conference itself. You will Lobby
and Merge Resolutions. If you do your research, you will go into
this process knowing who your friends are and these are the delegations you
should make your initial offerings to. Your primary goal is to get your resolution accepted as a main
resolution to be submitted. Failing
that, you would like to get as much of your resolution incorporated to the
resolution you will ultimately co-sponsor as possible.



 Then
comes the Debate. The nature of Debate is largely left up to
the Chairperson of the committee. It is
important to be fully prepared for this process. You need to have a thorough
knowledge of the issue and your country’s stance to debate effectively.



 After
the Debate comes the Vote. Each issue will be debated, to be followed by
a vote. If a Resolution receives a
majority of the vote, it will be considered to be accepted by the Committee.



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



Country Profiles



 In
order to effectively represent your country, you must have a thorough knowledge
of the politics, history, culture, and values of the government you are
representing. You are not to infuse your
own opinions on the issue, but rather you are to represent the interests of
your country as determined by the position of your government. Thus, the country profile assumes a
significant part of preparing for an MUN conference.



 Country
profiles should include eight sections: Political Structures, Cultural Factors, Geography, Economy, Natural
Resources, Defense, Views on World Problems and History.



 Country
Profiles should be prepared by the entire delegation from a country as a
collaborative effort. Thus, if you have
three committees, and you have one delegate from your country to each
committee, all three delegates should work on preparing the Country Profile
together.



 Each
of the subsections within each section will in most cases be no more than one
paragraph (except history.)



 



Part 1: Political Structures



A  Origin of Political Structures

1. How did your country get the
political system it has today?

-- Long period of time? Revolution or coup? Explain



B. Constitution and Government

1.  Brief summary of the Constitution of the
country you represent.

-- Branches of government (usually three)

-- How do the branches relate with one another.

-- Is the Constitution followed by the government, or is it routinely ignored?



C.  Stability and Policy of Present

1. Who are the head of state and
government?

--In some countries, it is the same while in others it is different.

2. What are the priorities of the
government of your country?

3. Is that government stable, or does it
change on a regular basis?

-- how does it change? Violence? Peaceful elections?







II: Cultural Factors



A. Ethnic Groups

1. What are the ethnic groups in the
country?

-- Is one group a majority while others are minorities? IS there a majority
group?

2. How does ethnicity influence the domestic
life of the nation?

3. What is the government’s policies
regarding ethnic minorities?



B. Religions

1.  What are the primary religions in the country?


2. How influential are they in the life
of the country?

3. What is the history of the
interactions of those religions?



C. Cultural History

1. What are the cultural achievements of
your country?

2. Is there cultural homogeneity, or are
their many different cultural groups that have contributed to the cultural life
of the country?



 



III. Geography



 



A. Bordering Countries



1. Which
countries border (or are near) your country.?



 



B. Topography



1. What
are the major landforms (mountains, plateaus, deserts, plains, river valleys,
et cetera) of your country? 



2. How
do they influence life in your country?



 



C. Environment



1. Describe
the state of your country’s environment. 



2. What
are the current environmental issues domestically?



3. What
is your country doing to address these problems.



 



D. Geo-Political Considerations



1. How
does the location of your country affect relations with other countries? 



2. Does
your country have any territorial disputes with neighbors that have the
possibility of causing friction with that, and other, countries?



IV. Economy



 



A. General Economic Conditions



1. Explain the basic nature of your economy: Is it an advanced, diverse economy, or are
most of your people just trying to survive with subsistence agriculture? 



2. Is
your country’s economy growing, stagnating, or getting smaller?



3. Basic economic statistics. i.e.
GDP (real and PPP), growth, etc.



 



B. Monetary System



1. What
currency does your country use? 



2. How
does that currency function within your domestic economy? 



3. What
influence does your currency have in the global economy? 



4. Describe
the banking system in your country.



 



C. Dependency and Debt



1. How
much does your country depend on financial assistance from other countries and
institutional financial institutions? 



2. How
much government debt is there? What is
the trade (current accounts) deficit?



 



D. Trade Agreements



1. Is your country a part of global or regional trade agreements or
zones? 



2. Does your country have any Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) with other
countries?



 



E. Membership of Economic and Trade Organizations



1. What
economic and trade organizations is your country a member of? 



2. What
role does your country take in those organizations?



 



V. Natural Resources



 



A. Basic Commodities



1. What
natural resources does your country possess? 



2. Are
they are in abundance, or are they insufficient? 



3. What
is imported and exported? - quantities



 



B. Degree of Self-Sufficiency



1. How
much does your country rely on imports for the natural resources needed to keep
the economy of the country running? 



2. Which
resources and from which countries?



 



VI. Defense



 



A. Military Structure



1. What
are the branches of the military of your country? 



2. Who
commands the military? Is it controlled by civilian authorities, or do military
commanders exercise supreme authority over the military.



 



B Dependency on Other Nations



1. How
much does your country rely on other countries for its defense? 



2. Does
your country manufacture its own weapons, or are they imported – or both? 



3. Who
are your primary military suppliers?



 



C. Membership of Alliances



1. Is
your country a member of a general alliance structure (i.e. NATO?) 



2. Does our country have any bilateral
defense agreements? 



3. What
countries do you cooperate with in defense matters?



 



VII. Views on World Problems



 



A. Role and Influence in the World



1. How
important is your country in regional and global politics? 



2. Is
your country respected and does it have a lot of influence, or is it routinely
ignored because it is not important enough?



 



B. Current Views and Positions



1. What
are the major global issues in the world today? 



2. What
does your country feel about these issues? 



3. Is
your country influential regarding these issues? 



4. What
has your country done (if anything) to help resolve these issues?



* note: in this subsection, you may want to organize by individual issue rather
than listing all issues, then how the country feels, etc. (see sample)



 



C. Membership of Blocks and Geo-Political Groupings



1. What
political organizations is your country a member of? 



2. What
role does your country have in these organizations?



 



VIII. History



A. General History



1. Describe
the major historical events and trends of your country up until World War II.



 



B. Post-World War II (1945-1989)



1. What
were your country’s relations with the three major powers (United States, Soviet Union, and China) over the
course of the Cold War? 



2. If
your country was a colony after World War II, how did your country gain its independence?
 



3. What
other major events occurred in your country over this time period.



 



C. Post-Cold War (1989-present)



1. How
has your country evolved from the major changes in the international world with
the end of the Cold War? 



2. If
your country gained independence during this time, describe how it
happened? 



3. What
is your country doing in reference to the War on Terror? 



4. What
other major events have occurred in your country during this time.



 



Preparing a Policy Statement



 The
writing of a brief, but comprehensive, policy statement is a fundamental step
of MUN preparation. Each delegate must
write one policy statement on each issue that will be addressed by the committee
of which they are a delegate to. This
statement has three important purposes:



1. It allows the delegate an
opportunity to think his/her policy out more thoroughly.



2. It serves the greater need of
his/her delegation to have a document which contains the country’s policy on
all of the issues in the conference which allows for a consistency of policies
among the members of the entire delegation for each country.



3. The policy statement acts as an
outline for your draft Resolution and the major source of elements of your Opening
Speech.



While this is in
a sense a collaborative effort, in that all members of our country’s delegation
will use all of the Policy Statements, the primary preparation of each Policy
Statement will be made by the specific delegate to each committee.



You will need to
refer to your Country Profile in the process of preparing your policy
statement. However, there are two major
elements of research you must engage in to further prepare the Policy
Statement.



First, you must
research the issue in question. You must
have a complete knowledge of the issue from a variety of sources and perspectives. It is not inappropriate to work with other
delegates in the same committee in this stage of the preparation process. 



Once you have a
firm grasp of the issue, you then need to look at the issue specifically from
the perspective of your own country. Obviously, you will not rely on other members of the committee for guidance
here, though you may certainly work with other members of your country’s
delegation. Most countries have
information available on the Internet in English so you can at least get some
basic information as to the government’s official position. Another source of information would be
English language newspapers or newsmagazines available online. Nearly every country has at least one such
publication available. Keep in mind that
while in many countries there publications are controlled by the state; this is
not undesirable as you are, in fact, representing the government that controls
those publications.



It is important
to be fully prepared. The course of
debate may very well deviate from what you anticipate will occur. Preparation is the best way to prepare for
any such deviations. It will also permit
you to ascertain what your government’s position on a specific issue may be
even if you do not, in fact, know what exactly that position may be.



Each Policy
Statement should contain five basic components:



1. An explanation and definition
of the issue and its key terms as they appear on the agenda,



2. A background summary of recent
international events related to the action in question,



3. Some reference to key documents
relating to the issue (underlined,)



4. A general statement of the
country’s position on the issue,



5. Specific suggestions for a
solution to the question.



Researching the
issue is a continuous process. Most of
the issues that will be discussed are continually evolving. Do not be surprised if some elements of the
issue(s) to be discussed evolve even in the week prior to the conference. Thus, it is imperative to keep up-to-date on
your issue and your country’s involvement in that issue. You should:



1. Keep abreast of the
developments in the international news,



2. Read about the historical and
geopolitical background to the issues,



3. Study United Nations
resolutions (both General Assembly and Security Council), reports, and documents
relating to the issues.



Many of the
resolutions, reports, and documents may very well be referenced in the perambulatory
clauses to your draft Resolution.



Many countries
will be happy to assist you in the research process. One of the missions of a country’s
representatives abroad is to educate local people about their own country. Thus, you may want to do the following over
the course of your research:



1. Visit or write to the country’s
embassy, trade office, or other representative office in Taipei
(or in the case of the Philippines,
Taichung,)
and/or



2. Write to the country’s
delegation to the United Nations,



In such a
letter, you should explain that you are a student preparing to represent their
country in a Model United Nations conference, and explain that you would like
as much information as possible regarding the position of that country on the
particular issue(s) so you can effectively represent that country in the
committee to which you are assigned. This
can be done together with the other members of the delegation.



 

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