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Tips for Preparation

In preparation for an incredible time at conference this year, the HMUN India Team offers a Guide to Delegate Preparation so that you can excel at conference. If you have questions about position papers, the Guide also includes a sample position paper and explains the ideal format for writing one.

Like any activity or sport, Model UN takes practice and skill. We hope that you will have the opportunity to improve your Model UN skills both before and during your committee at HMUN India. If this is your first conference, not to worry! Many of our delegates are first timers to Model UN and this webpage and your background guide are your first resources to build the skills necessary to prepare and debate effectively. During conference, you will have the opportunity to take part in specialized delegate trainings based on your skill. During committee, your committee director is trained to answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to ask any of the committee dais staff or Secretariat about any questions about procedure, your topic area, or about Harvard life. Committee director e-mails are listed on the Committees page.

Topic Preparation

Students should spend time researching the topic areas their committees will be considering. Once background guides become available in April, the background guide will provide an extensive background and overview of the topic areas to be discussed. The background guide should be your first stop for committee information as the Director of the committee has compiled, organized, and presented all information that he or she expects the committee to discuss. Take note of the “Questions A Resolution Must Answer,” helpful guiding questions of the committee and questions that are expected to be answered in the final resolution. All of our background guides also include a bibliographic essay as a starting point for additional student research.

Country Preparation

Delegates should learn as much as possible about the country they will be representing – both in general and in relation to the topics they will be discussing. While our background guides include an analysis of bloc positions on topic areas, students should also learn about the specific positions of their respective nations.

General HMUN India Preparation

Students should familiarize themselves with the Guide to Delegate Preparation. Our training materials help both experienced and first-time delegates learn about the goals, accomplishments, limits, and powers of the UN and the international system.

Thorough preparation is essential to making HMUN India an excellent educational experience. Pre-conference research makes committee more fun and rewarding, as delegates can then immerse themselves in their roles as high-ranking diplomats.

Position Papers

Delegates will be required to submit position papers on their topic areas prior to the conference. General guidance for HMUN India position papers will be listed in the background guide as well as the Guide to Delegate Preparation.

If you are in a GA, ECOSOC or Regional Body, Please write a position paper of 1-2 pages stating how your country or position views the issues at hand in the background guide. Think about what historical perspective your country or position brings, and what that might imply for what you (as a representative of that country or position) will aim to accomplish in committee. Your position paper should be submitted on MUNbase under the file name [committee_position_school]. Please submit as a .doc, .docx., or .pdf. In addition, keep in mind HMUN India's policy against plagiarism. Any delegates with plagiarized position papers will not be considered for awards. If you have questions about your position paper or what constitutes as plagiarism, please email your director. You can also watch our webinar on the topic plagiarism.

NOTE: Specialized Agencies committees will often submit position papers in a different, specialized format from those of the GA, ECOSOC, or Regional Bodies. More information will be available in the delegate preparation guide provided above. The conference-wide position paper deadline is 24 July 2019.

Committee Dynamics

Debate

Every HMUN India committee holds six sessions over the four days of the conference for a total of nineteen hours. Committee sessions are designed to keep the delegates engaged and thinking on their feet. The substantive aspects of the committee are coordinated by a committee director, who also serves as a moderator to guide debate according to formal rules of parliamentary procedure. The delegates usually spend the first committee session setting the agenda by deciding which topic area to discuss first. Delegates then move into a mixture of formal debate and caucus aimed at formulating a resolution that addresses problems relating to the chosen topic areas. Formal debate provides delegates with the opportunity to address the entire committee in order to clarify their positions. During caucus, rules are suspended to allow for informal debate: delegates have the opportunity to share their ideas with other delegates so that ideas begin to coalesce outside of the constraints of parliamentary procedure. In debate, delegates are challenged to reach a consensus within the committee while accurately representing their countries’ policies.

Committee Topics and Background Guides

Every HMUN India committee director spends a significant period of time researching and compiling an extensive and comprehensive background guide. Background guides are the ideal starting point for delegate research, providing a detailed bibliography of further sources. However, additional, self-directed research is the cornerstone of the delegate experience. Delegates are encouraged and expected to conduct outside research to increase their participation in and enjoyment of committee. Background guides are made available online to students beginning in April. When your school receives its country assignment, you will also receive a brief description of the topics being discussed by each committee.

Working Papers and Resolutions

Working papers are used to collect and circulate delegate ideas. The ideas in a working paper are debated and eventually molded into formal documents written in the style of actual UN resolutions. After formal introduction in committee, resolutions are debated, amended, and voted on by the body. Passed resolutions represent hours of debate, negotiation, and compromise.

While it is satisfying to see the hard work of the committee culminate in a resolution, HMUN India’s philosophy emphasizes the process of negotiation rather than the resolution itself. A committee must not necessarily pass a resolution to be considered a success. HMUN India does not have official sponsors of resolutions and, in order to maximize the incentive for compromise, only one resolution on a given topic area can be passed.