HKISMUN: Tips From Delegates of Our First Ever in-House MUN Conference
HKIS hosted its very first HKISMUN conference from October 13th to 14th, with 80 attendees from HKIS, Saint Paul’s Co-educational School, Island School, Discovery College, and American International School.
MUN is a simulation of United Nations debate, designed to provide students with firsthand experience in foreign diplomacy. Students act as delegates representing a country to participate in conferences. In preparation, delegates research their stance on their issue depending on what country they are representing.
The issues discussed are on an international scale. During the debate, delegates defend their positions, working with allied countries to outline and propose resolutions and negotiating with countries that do not share their stance. The resolutions are then debated and finally voted upon by the entire assembly. The committees at HKISMUN included the General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council.
As we transition through primary, middle school, high school, and college, we are exposed to more aspects of the world. As high school students, one way to expose yourself to the world and learn about current issues affecting people on a global scale is to join Model United Nations, a club dedicated to giving students an opportunity to get involved in world issues.
Members of the HKISMUN agree that the club is a good opportunity to meet people from different schools, to take a stand on global issues, and to develop their debating and speaking skills. Kiera Higgins (11) from Discovery College, who received the Best Delegate award for representing the United Kingdom on the Security Council, says, “One main takeaway from the MUN conference is how to be political. I used to just yell at people and not put any information behind my debates, but now I’ve learned how to politically act around people as well as how to add information to what I’m saying.” Christian Suen (12) from SPCC, chair of the Security Council at HKISMUN, thinks that MUN is a good opportunity to meet new people. “I like how MUN can connect people in such a short amount of time because you’re forced into a committee for 5 or 6 hours a day to work for or against each other.”
If you’re a newbie, you’ll find the tips below helpful toward building a solid MUN career:
Have a Research Binder
Prepare a binder with research about your topic that you have access to during the conference. This may make you feel more comfortable if you get lost as more and more topics are mentioned. This is a good tip for beginners, but as some delegates progress, they become less dependent on research binders--it ultimately depends on the person. Here are 15 things that every delegate should have in their research binder: http://bestdelegate.com/mun- research-made-easy-15-things-every-delegate-should-have-in-their-research-binder/.
Learn About the Different Committee Stages
When you first start out, you may be overwhelmed by all the strange procedures (such as talking in third person) and stages that a committee goes through. Learning these procedures beforehand will clear your confusion, but practicing firsthand in an active debating committee automatically instills these procedures in your head so that they become second nature.
Focus on One Idea at a Time
During the conference, many problems and solutions will be discussed. Remember to focus on one idea at a time because speeches that cover too many ideas at the same time can be hard to follow. This will make your speeches simpler and clearer. It will also help you think of comments faster and allow you to be more active in the debate.
Confidence is an integral part of public speaking, and being confident will allow you to get your point across to the audience more convincingly and clearly. Again, this comes with practice and learning from firsthand mistakes.
Frame Your Topics/ Speeches
To do this, break your topic down into smaller issues, choosing the most important ones to your position or country, then matching solutions to those issues.
Write Your First Speech
It might be scary to get up in front of people and create a first impression, so writing out your first speech ahead of time is a good way to prepare. After getting over the initial first speech, you might find it easier to talk later on.
However, these are simply tips: keep in mind that the only way to improve is to apply these tips in active participation and practice. The MUN club hosts a number of mock debates every few meetings and newcomers are always welcome.