Working as a Solo Representative
Model UN can be tough, and it can be even tougher if you’re the sole representative from your country in a simulation. Here are some tips for anyone who is in a committee representing their country alone.
The quality of your experience is up to you! With no in-room support structure, as far as the other representatives are concerned, you’re the final word on your country’s policies. So, prepare a fact sheet and notes for each topic. What are your country’s key policies, recommendations and ideas? Who are your allies on this issue? How do your allies think about this issue? Who are your opponents on this issue and why? Take notes as other representatives are speaking and keep this information updated. Channel your inner Hermione Granger and you’ll be fine.
Take a Breath
Take a few minutes to observe the room. You get to choose how you’re going to engage with other delegations and at what level. So pay attention! What caucuses formed first? Which look like the most active delegations? Which delegations are writing draft resolutions and do you want to have input on them? Sometimes a little patience can pay dividends, so survey the room, get a feel for the people involved, then get to work!
The size of a committee at model UN can vary. Some of the largest simulations can have up to 300 students in a room. No matter where you are or how many people are in the room, the solo representative should keep moving. Talk to as many representatives as you can, especially when everyone is just getting started. Don’t spend too much time with any one group. Don’t just sit by your placard waiting for people to come to you. Be proactive! If you don’t take initiative, you might not be able to reach your goals for the conference.
Find a Friend
Find another country that is an ally on the topic or topics. You don’t have to agree on everything, but having a common starting point will be important. Traditional allies and regional blocs can be useful in this process. Team up so you can have a de facto partner in the room. Build a strong relationship and come to an accord with some key allies in the room, and you’ll be able to divide the work. Knowing that you can depend on a few key voices in the room to back you up is priceless.
Exchange phone numbers, follow one another on Twitter, or schedule debrief times so you and your allies can keep each other up-to-date. Working solo in the room you have to accept that you can’t be everywhere. So make certain you have a way for your partners-in-peace to get in touch. If you’re at AMUN 2017, you can stay in touch with your teammates and new friends through our Guidebook Conference App.
Know when to walk away
One of the biggest pitfalls of working alone is getting too focused or too absorbed on any one debate or discussion. Being an effective advocate for your country means knowing when you’re not going to win a debate or convert someone to a new point of view. Choosing the wrong battles may waste your most precious commodity: your time. So, if you start getting into it with another representative, don’t let a healthy debate turn into a recursive loop. Walk away and expend your time with the countries that might be open to compromise and consensus building.
Use additional resources
No one expects you to be the font of all knowledge on your country or Model UN. Use the resources available to you. Many Model UN Conferences will have extra tools available At AMUN, Home Government, the International Press Delegation (IPD) and your committee Rapporteurs all provide useful services.
If you have a question about policy, visit Home Government. Can’t get an opportunity to give a speech? Hold a Press Conference down in IPD. Don’t know how to fix your draft resolution? Ask your committee’s Rapporteurs. Have a question about the rules? Ask your Chair. At AMUN, the Staff isn’t just there to run the Conference, we’re specifically trained to be a support structure for all of our representatives. Like James Bond, you might be combatting illegal whaling alone, but you’ve got some great support behind you.
Working alone at a Model UN Conference can be a challenge, but one that you’re probably up to. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be fine, but remember, the most important part is to have fun!
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