Model United Nations is a very research heavy program. Students are expected to have a firm understanding of issues, positions, relationships, procedure, and history- and often all from a viewpoint that is foreign or unfamiliar.
As a Model United Nations delegate there are several areas of research that are vital to your success. They include, research on the United Nations itself, research on your country, research on the issues, and research on past actions in related areas.
The United Nations
Research on the United Nations is vital to understanding your mission as a Model United Nations delegate. Research in this area should include an overview of the function of the United Nations and each of its bodies. An understanding of how the various organizational bodies function will aid in your understanding of the reach and limitations of your role.
Once you know what country you will be representing it is imperative that you begin researching that country immediately. This should begin with very general demographic information and then drill down into the history of the nation and issues currently facing that country.
Questions to ask include, who are your country’s allies? Enemies? To what voting blocs does your country belong to? What things will your nation absolutely refuse to compromise on? What are your countries goals? What is your countries level of development? To what treaties and organizations does your country belong to?
The topics that you are assigned to debate are generally very complicated and deep. Nations have been debating and trying to solve these issues, and have not reached a suitable solution. The task given to you is to find solutions to these very issues.
Research into the issues should include an understanding of the nature of the issue itself. Why is it a problem? How did it develop? Who does it impact the most? Why does your country care? Does it care? How does your country feel about this particular issue? Are you likely to have other nations that are willing to work with you? Are there any non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s) dealing with this issue? What things are currently in place addressing this issue? Are there any multilateral efforts on behalf of this issue currently?
The text and voting records of United Nations resolutions can be easily found on line. You will of course want to read over and resolutions dealing with the issue you are debating, but also look at related issues. Some of the things you find may be surprising. And understanding how your country, and other nations, have voted on these issues will help you better represent your nation in debate.
As a Model United Nations delegate you will be expected to understand many issues and viewpoints that may seem foreign and strange, especially initially. Research is one of the most important aspects of preparation for a solid Model United Nations experience. Don’t go into this debate unprepared!