Chapter 2: What is a MUN Conference?
In order to understand an MUN conference, first one must understand the United Nations itself. The United Nations is an international organization comprised of over 190 member states, who focus on addressing and solving a variety of international issues through committees focused on particular spheres of international concern.
Origins of the United Nations
After World War I, the League of Nations was established in 1920 to prevent another international disaster
However, the breakout of World War II proved it unsuccessful
After World War II, the United Nations was established in 1945 to maintain world peace in a more effective way
From Chapter 1, Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations:
1) Maintain international peace and security by taking collective measures to prevent and remove threats, suppress aggression, and settle disputes
2) Develop friendly relations between nations based on equal rights, self-determination, and the strengthening of peace
3) Achieve international cooperation to solve economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian challenges, and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for people of all races, sexes, languages, religions, etc.
4) Serve as the center for harmonizing actions of nations striving for these common goals
Currently consists of 193 members states
Six main organs:
General Assembly - principal policy-making organ; represented by all member states
Security Council - maintains international peace and security; 5 permanent members (China, France, Russia, UK, US), 10 non-permanent members; can authorize sanctions and use of force
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) - principal organ for policy regarding economic, social, and humanitarian issues; oversees implementation of universally agreed development goals
Trusteeship Council - inactive since 1994; supervised 11 Trust Territories to independence and self-governance
International Court of Justice (ICJ) - principal judicial organ; settles international disputes
Secretariat - comprised of the Secretary-General (chief administrative officer of UN) and tens of thousands of UN staff members who carry out day-to-day work of the UN
Some main achievements
Preservation of World Heritage Sites - UNESCO
Eradication of Smallpox - WHO
Protection of the Ozone and Environment - UNEP, Montreal Protocol
Protecting Children - UNICEF has helped save the lives of 90+ million
Promotion of Arms Control - critical role in “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” (NPT)
Prosecution of War Crimes
Food and Humanitarian Aid - deaths due to famine have decreased globally, alleviated recent natural disasters in Japan and Haiti
Refugee Aid - UNHCR has helped 17+ million; especially critical in 2016-17 in lieu of Syria, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc.
The modern United Nations
Headquartered in New York City; main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna
Funded voluntarily by member states
Secretary-General: Antonio Guterres (Portugal)
After the formal deadline of 2015 for the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG), new sustainable development goals were drafted for the next 15 years
Source: “About the UN,” http://www.un.org/en/about-un/index.html
Goals of a MUN Conference
Discuss the most important issues in international relations today and to understand their content. What plagues our world? And even more importantly, how do we solve it? In MUN delegates come up with actual solutions to these real-world problems.
Practice and hone essential skills, including but not limited to debate, formal and impromptu speaking, working collaboratively, writing, and problem solving. The skills you gain in an MUN conference will stick with you as useful for high school, extracurricular activities, college, and whatever future path or career you end up on.
Overcome cultural barriers, understand intersectionality, and foster cross-cultural understanding. At Yale MUN Korea delegates from all backgrounds and skill levels gather in an intense but collaborative environment. There could be no better place to enhance your understanding of others, and make friends while you’re at it.
What happens at Yale MUN Korea?
Exciting and fun events!
Opening Ceremonies: At the beginning of Yale MUN Korea, the whole conference gathers together to kick off the conference with speeches from the Secretary General, guest speaker, and charity partner.
Yale Information Session: We want to allow our delegates to take advantage of our connection to Yale University. So we are offering a moderated question and answer panel hosted by the conference staff from Yale. Delegates are encouraged to come and ask questions about admissions, life at Yale, and any other Yale-related inquiries!
Workshops: Our secretariat and partners lead workshops on fascinating topics ranging from public speaking to social media to help delegates develop a broader skill set and bring home even more from our conference.
The Yale Ball: A dance that brings together the whole conference around dancing and fun, and awesome American, Korean, and international music.
But more importantly, there’s committee itself. Committee itself has a lot of different parts that we’ll break down more next lesson, but let’s get acquainted now, because there’s a lot to learn.
Opening Speeches: Delegates have the opportunity to give an opening speech, introducing him or herself to the committee, and laying down a delegate’s perspective, priorities, and primary goals for committee. What is a delegate most concerned about? What solutions would they like to discuss?
Moderated Caucus: Moderated caucus is where delegates debate, under the moderation of the Director and Assistant Director various subtopics within each topic in order to form blocs (groups that work together on clauses and resolutions), lay down solutions, debate topic specifics, and move the committee as a whole closer to being able to write and vote on resolutions.
Unmoderated Caucus: Unmoderated caucus is informal debate without moderation by the Director or Assistant Director. Unmoderated caucus has myriad purposes: in the beginning of the conference, it is an opportunity for delegates to meet one another and learn their positions. As committee goes on, it will turn into the primary time for writing the clauses and resolutions that will eventually be voted on in formal debate.
Resolutions and Clauses: Working Papers (WPs) and Draft Resolutions are where the content of the committee’s solutions to the issues go. Each clause is one specific action that the committee will take to solve the problem (most likely a subtopic, or sub-problem within the whole topic). Working Papers are submitted, introduced, and re-submitted as Draft Resolutions. An entire Draft Resolution is many clauses that together offer a comprehensive solution to the topic.
Introduction of Working Papers and Draft Resolutions: In this part of committee, the delegates read aloud and ask questions about the WPs and/or Draft Resolutions at hand. Delegates that did not submit the current resolution will be given a chance to read it, and there will be speakers for and against the Draft Resolutions. Amendments to change or remove clauses or sub-clauses will also be debated during this time.
Voting Procedure: After the time for formal debate has elapsed, the committee will vote on Draft Resolutions. Majority rules.