Frequently Asked Questions
Three questions often asked by soon-to-be MUN participants are:
Here are the answers as provided by the United Nations Association of the United States of America.
- How do I register for a Model United Nations Conference?
- How do I select a country?
- How do I select a conference?
How to Register for a Model United Nations Conference
The 2000-2001 Calendar of Model United Nations Conferences is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to select the conference best suited for your schedule, financial resources, and location.
The steps to register for a Model U.N. Conference are fairly straightforward:
- Select the dates and location of the Model U.N. conference(s) appropriate to your group's academic level and financial resources.
Also, set goals on what you would like to (or can) achieve by going to what particular MUN conference.
- Write to the Secretary-General or contact person of the Model U.N. conference(s) to request registration forms, and if you wish, information about contacting a faculty advisor or student who attended the conference(s) the year before.
Many conferences have Internet sites, which can provide a good look into the size and scope of a conference.
- Remember that many conferences are student-run.
If you do not receive the information you requested within a reasonable period of time, a quick call can get things on track.
- Once you have received the registration forms, complete and return them with the requested information and fees.
Your group will soon receive confirmation or notification of registration and a "country assignment" as well as background materials, the conference schedule, etc.
Remember to keep a copy of all material and checks sent to the conference organizers.
- This whole process becomes easier when would-be participants can register on-line or download the registration forms.
So check the web sites.
How to Select a Country
When registering for a Model U.N. Conference, you will usually be asked to indicate your preferences of countries to role-play in the conference.
With 188 countries to choose from, the opportunities are immense.
The greatest competition among Model U.N. groups is often for the 15 countries of the Security Council, especially the 5 permanent members with veto power:
It is worth noting, however, that in the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and most other U.N. governing bodies, the principle of sovereign equality governs the proceedings.
That is to say that each member state has one vote and even the "smallest" member state not only has a role to play, but can sometime wield considerable influence.
Therefore, when selecting countries that you would like to represent, bear in mind that size and power are not the only important criteria.
- United Kingdom,
- United States,
- and the Russian Federation.
Most conferences work on a first-come, first-served basis when it comes to country designation.
However, the sooner you send in your registration material and pay the fees, the better your chances of getting the country of your choice.
Other conferences give country assignments according to which schools received awards the year before.
It may be helpful to consider some of the following criteria when narrowing down the countries to list as preference:
How to Select a Conference
- What would you like your group to learn from the experience?
Which of the countries would help you to satisfy this learning experience?
- How do these countries fit into the existing course of study for members in your group?
Are you creating a pattern for your course of study?
For example, you may wish to teach about Economic Development and would therefore choose countries that are emerging economically.
- How much of a challenge do each of the countries pose for your group?
- How familiar are members of your group with the countries or region that you have chosen?
- Are there enough people in your group to represent the countries that you have chosen in the Model U.N. conferences that you plan to attend?
Most conferences provide a matrix detailing the minimum and maximum number of delegates needed to represent each country.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a conference to attend, most notably:
There is no international rating system or quality index for Model U.N. Conferences - the reputation of a given conference is the only indication of quality available.
If you have never participated in a particular conference, it is wise to request the names and addresses of faculty members and students who participated in a previous conference and contact them directly.
UNA-USA does not rate conferences or promote competition among them, but will assist teachers and students by recommending conferences.
- travel distance,
- conference size,
- and dates.
If you are doing Model U.N. for the first time you should consider starting out small.
Success at a smaller model will often give your team the necessary confidence and skills to debate well on the larger scale.
The ideal is to attend a series of conferences that gradually increase in scope and size, marking your team's progress and improvement.
For many MUN delegations the goal is to work toward a final large event, thus retaining focus, momentum, and excitement throughout the year.
At the same time, smaller conferences can offer a challenge to even the most experienced delegate.