Collaboration over Competition: AMUN on Awards

The UN gold medal is given to the staff who have completed the achievement of having 30 years of service with the organization during the UN day, Palais des Nations, Geneva. Thursday 24 October 2013. Photo by Violaine Martin

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

~Henry Ford

As this year’s AMUN conference quickly approaches, most of you are deep into your research on this year’s topics. AMUN’s goal is to create an educational experience where our participants not only learn about the topics at hand and the countries they represent, but also learn about the tools of diplomacy, collaboration and consensus-building that are fundamental to the Model UN experience and, indeed, to the functioning of the United Nations in New York.

This philosophy leads AMUN to believe that awards can create an atmosphere of competition rather than collaboration, distracting from our educational goals. However, AMUN recognizes that many of our customers have come to expect awards as part of the MUN experience, seeing them as a tangible benefit for individual participants as well as a tool for fundraising and recruitment.

Awards Process and Procedures

To mediate the two positions, AMUN uses a peer-nomination and voting process for determining “Outstanding Delegation/Advocate/Party to the Dispute” awards. Staff members cannot adequately evaluate each representative’s participation in all aspects of the Conference—from preparation, to consensus building, to resolution writing—so we do not select the recipients for the awards. We believe, instead, that representatives are in the best position to evaluate other representatives’ performance in all facets of the Conference.

There is also precedent for recognizing a body rather than voting on individual representatives to be awarded. This often happens in smaller simulations where representatives work closing together in an intimate setting. For example, members of the ICJ and IPD have sometimes chosen to eliminate individual awards and instead recognize the work of the body as a whole.

The AMUN staff will walk you through the balloting procedure as your simulations come to a close on Monday and Tuesday of conference. In order to make Closing Plenary run as smoothly as possible, and, in accordance with the philosophy outlined above, only the awards for Overall Best Delegation will be announced formally from the podium. All other award recipients will be announced via a handout to all participants; these awardees can pick up their certificates from their respective staff members immediately after Closing Plenary Tuesday afternoon.

Position Paper Awards

There is one place where AMUN staff does adjudicate the awards process and that is for Position Paper awards. All delegations that submitted a complete set of position papers by 25 October are given a Position Paper award. You can find a list of those delegations in the first AMUN Chronicle at Conference, and awards will be included in your Country’s opening packet handed out at Conference Registration.

We encourage you to learn as much from AMUN and your Model UN experience as possible. Good luck in your preparations, and we look forward to working with you!

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