Do I have to write a position paper?
Positions papers are mandatory unless specified otherwise by a Chair in the committee's Background Guide.
When are position papers due?
You may email your position paper to your Chair at any point prior to the conference and/or turn in a hard copy to the Dais at the beginning of the first committee session. Be sure to check your Background Guide, because Chairs may set a specific date or provide alternate instructions for turning in position papers.
How will my position paper affect my eligibility for awards?
Completing and turning in a position paper in a timely fashion factors into awards consideration. The timeliness and quality of the position paper will be considered along with other factors, namely performance in committee, in order to determine who wins an award. (Position papers are especially useful to Chairs when deciding among two otherwise equal candidates.) Your Chair will read your position paper, provide comments, and return it to you during the conference.
Do I need to have a bibliography or otherwise cite my sources when writing a position paper?
All information that is not your own must be cited in some way. Note that chairs may delineate in the Background Guide if they prefer a certain style of bibliography or citation. Plagiarism of any kind is expressly forbidden.
If I’m a novice and haven’t mastered parliamentary procedure yet, can I still win an award?
Even if NAIMUN 50 is the first Model UN conference you have ever attended, you are still eligible to win an award! Larger committees, such as most General Assemblies and some ECOSOCs, are directed towards novices, and the Chairs are sensitive to the needs of new delegates. Please do not hesitate to raise a Point of Inquiry during debate (see "Parliamentary Procedure" above) or to approach the Dais during an unmoderated caucus to ask a question. Exhibiting earnest enthusiasm, an honest effort, and a willingness to participate are far more important indicators of a great delegate than a textbook knowledge of parliamentary procedure, so we highly encourage delegates of all levels to actively engage in debate. Chairs are far more likely to award dynamic, diligent delegates with innovative ideas, even if they are rusty with parliamentary procedure, than so-called "gavel hunters."
How can I caucus effectively? Isn't an unmoderated caucus a good time to go to the bathroom or eat a snack?
Caucuses, although they are breaks in the flow of formal debate, are not breaks from committee! Both moderated and unmoderated caucuses are prime opportunities for a delegate to advance debate. Moderated caucuses are an excellent chance for countries that are low on the Speaker's List to share their point of view, so a savvy delegate will seize such an opportunity. When motioning for a moderated caucus, the delegate who proposes the caucus should specify the purpose of the discussion, so a savvy delegate will also utilize the specificity of the debate to delve into details concerning a particular topic or resolution. An unmoderated caucus, as a suspension of the rules, allows delegates to leave their seats and discuss topics freely, but it should not be considered a break; rather, unmoderated caucuses are prime opportunities for delegates to meet with other countries and draft resolutions. During long committee sessions, Chairs will likely allow for several bathroom or snack breaks, so be sure to take advantage of those and then use unmoderated caucuses productively. Additionally, the Chair and other Dais members will be passing through the committee room and hallway monitoring the progress of the caucus and taking note of the work done by delegates, which will be factored into awards consideration.
When I make a speech, how should I address the committee and how should I refer to myself and others?
When making a formal speech after being called from the Speaker’s List, it is customary, though certainly not required, to thank the Chair and address the committee or delegates in some manner. (Say: “Thank you, honorable Chair. Fellow delegates…” or “Thank you, Chair. Fellow members of the Sixth Committee…”) Delegates should refer to themselves in third person and by the full proper name of their country. (For instance, always say, “The United Republic of Tanzania suggests that….”) Royal “we” may be used in subsequent sentences since a delegate speaks as a representative for his or her entire country. (For example, “The United Republic of Tanzania suggests that this committee recommend sanctions. We believe that immediate sanctions…”) A delegate should never refer to him or herself as “I,” with the exception of smaller, crisis-oriented committees where delegates portray ministers or heads of state. When referring to another delegate during a speech, one should address him or her as “the delegate [or delegation] from ___________.” In the context of formal debate, the Chair should always be addressed as such and never by name.
How specific should my research be?
While we encourage delegates to research as extensively as they need to in order to fully grasp the nuances of complex topics, highly specific knowledge is not entirely necessary in order to perform well in committee. Many delegates come to conferences with binders full of resolutions, conventions, and statutes, but such information is not necessarily the key to successful debate. Rather, we encourage delegates to research with the goal of broadly understanding the topics, and then develop their own unique ideas and solutions.
What if I can't find any relevant information on my country?
Be creative when conducting research. Although it is helpful to start with traditional sources, many of them listed in the "Helpful Resources and Links" section, branch out to unexpected material. Stay up-to-date with current events by following CNN or The New York Times. Check periodicals, such as The Economist, and especially consider those printed in countries other than the United States, now increasingly available online, for alternative viewpoints. Evaluate articles in scholarly journals such as Foreign Affairs. In this era of instant technology, don't underestimate a trip to your local library. (For especially motivated delegates, libraries at a nearby college or university often have more substantive material.) Enlist a friend at your school representing the same country as you and research together. If you still are having trouble finding pertinent information, email your Chair, who will be able to direct you to relevant sources.
What if my country or position has nothing to do with the topic being discussed?
A common, if unfortunate, Model UN dilemma is finding yourself in a large GA committee, and the topic is Colombian drug trafficking, while you are representing Oman. Conversely, you find yourself in a small crisis committee, where you are representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs while the rest of the Cabinet discusses internal education reforms. What should you do? First of all, know that NAIMUN Chairs invest a significant amount of time and energy into choosing the countries and positions that will be represented in their committees, so, more often than not, there will in fact be some sort of connection to the topics. If, while researching, you still have trouble finding pertinent information, feel free to email your Chair in order to point you in the right direction. If, once in committee, you find yourself with little to contribute during debate, consider consulting other countries in your bloc to see if they have an official position on an issue, and then work with them to create a resolution. Also, keep in mind that, while our simulations aim to stay true to reality, you can and should exercise creative license as a delegate. Build on the knowledge you do have about your country and then consider what Oman would do if it were involved in combating Colombian drug trafficking. Be imaginative and think about how internal education reforms would influence foreign affairs, and act accordingly.