Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) is the largest youth simulation of the United Nations in South Asia. At SLMUN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The students, better known as delegates, debate on current issues on the organization’s vast mandate. They prepare draft resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts and navigate the UN’s rules of procedure – all in the interest of resolving problems that affect the world.
At SLMUN one would witness a range of different skills displayed by both novice and senior delegates. Such success displayed is a collective effort of a variety of skills, tactics and preparation.
Firstly, to be successful as a delegate it is vital that one realizes why they are taking part as a delegate. A fundamental aim of SLMUN is to create a platform for the younger generation to foster diplomacy, critical thinking and debating skills and this is achieved through debate centralized around problems drawn from current global headlines. MUN is not merely debating on a given topic. To highlight your voice, it is important that you project significant passion towards such global issues. Lack of passion is merely a public addressing, and such would not be recognized as a good delegate within the MUN arena.
Prior to the Conference, it is customary that the delegates engage in research. Once notified of the respective committee topic and country, it is mandatory that proper research is carried out. Research, by definition is the investigation and study of sources in order to establish facts and reach conclusions. Some delegates tend to just print out volumes of unnecessary content and this is a common malpractice that is seen in the present times. To bring oneself to perform quality factual debate it is advisable to first research on the committee topic to obtain a more generalized meaning ; this can be achieved through researching on the specific key or tactical terms expressed in the topic. Once a common understanding is achieved, one can research on the stance one’s country has on the topic. This can be achieved through seeking answers for 3 basic questions as “Does this country support this topic?” , “What is this country doing regarding this topic?” and “What is this country planning on doing regarding this topic?”. Answers to these questions can be found by reading up on government websites and publications, Country’s history and social statistics, Treaties signed, Constitutions passed as well as active NGOs. A tactic used by many experienced delegates is, rather than merely researching on one’s country also researching on the happenings of other countries as well. This capable one not only to engage in debate at all times during session but also device tactical loopholes to question rival country’s stances. This shows that one has valuable input to the debate thus raising their chances of getting recognized.
If asked from any senior delegate a prominent advice given to novice delegates would be “Raise your placard”. Many delegates tend to complain about not getting recognized. To achieve this it is vital that one raises their placard at all suitable times. With appropriate research backup and charismatic speaking skills one should be able to participate in debate at any given time than just when session is focused on one’s country. The more the placard is raised, the higher the probability of getting recognized. This also labels one as active, informed and worthy of being recognized. It also allows the delegate to be attentive to what the other delegates have to say and avoids one from zoning out during session. The more one speaks the more points that are gained and also improves one’s speech. Imposing oneself as a threat is not a crime in the MUN arena but a way to success. When a delegate keeps up their momentum of speech this allows them to mark their presence within the committee and also to drive the debate to suit their facts, conclusions and resolutions.
Like any other event one cannot perfect themselves for awards overnight or through just a single conference. The final tip guiding one to be the best delegate would be; keep practicing. Specially as a novice delegate it is important one keeps up the momentum of speaking. MUN is an art that can be perfected through practice. Engage in every single possible practice session; be it at school or just among your friends. The more one puts themselves out there and speak the better and more comfortable one gets in public speaking, self-confidence and innovations. Through practice one learns to be creative and practical in creating resolution. Through practice one gains self-confidence and skill to succeed speaking in front of a large audience. One may have witnessed delegates winning outstanding awards at conference that is a result of perfection through practice.
To help delegates with this, the Outreach Team of SLMUN organizes a variety of workshops around the nation. At these workshops one is able to clarify any doubt on procedure and research, sharpen public speaking skills and resolution writing with direct exposure from the best MUNers in Sri Lanka. Through such activities, the Executive Committee of SLMUN 2019 hopes to uplift every single delegate and guide them to the path of becoming the best possible delegate.