As soon as we entered the global age that meant more and more communication within the world, humans started to gather further information about each other and their activities, which also means that Model/Mock United Nations conferences all around the world have increased dramatically in terms of number. MUN, an extracurricular activity with benefits such as developing communication, leadership and political skills has been around ever since the 5th of April, 1947. The first recorded Mock UN was made at Swarthmore College, with around 150 participants from 40 different colleges.
And now, more than 90 conferences only in Turkey are established- and most are first-timer conferences. Judgment towards MUN conferences also increased, and it’s extremely hard for schools to gather participants for a striving conference.
In this very article, I will be writing about the key points of a successful MUN Conference.
First Step: Setting a Date
With so many conferences around not only the globe but Turkey, it’s safe to consider that the date of a conference plays the most significant role in participation.
If you are working on a conference that has 15 years down the lane… you probably have a date already from your previous years, and most people know that fact.
But when it comes to a first time conference, how do you pick a date?
The first thing to consider for a date is, where is your conference? There are four cities in Turkey that are mainstream on MUN, and you have to think according to that. Geography is destiny. If you are near Ankara, you will most likely get delegates from there, but keep in mind that Ankara MUNers prefer Ankara almost all the time and it’s hard to get them out of the city. For Istanbul, İzmir, and Antalya. it’s easier to get participants from there as they tend to travel more. And for the date picking a part of the city question, you have to avoid big and experienced conferences in the mainstream city that you are close to/in. Look through the calendar and try to predict the dates of more experienced conferences you want to avoid if they didn’t announce their dates yet- if they did, note that down on your calendar to pick the most fitting date.
The second thing to consider for a date is certain conditions your city may have, like the weather or travel routes. I don’t suggest that you do a conference in Ağrı during December, for example.
The third thing to consider is, your team/network, your date has to be at correspondence with your team’s availability.
The fourth thing to definitely be careful about while choosing a date is exam dates. Sit yourself down in front of a computer with a pen and paper, and check the final, quiz and exam dates of schools and universities you are expecting participants from, and if that kind of information isn’t on the internet as you hoped it would be, make connections as said! Contact the school management, or find people who go to that school to ask about their schedules. Surely, there are lots of ways to find the information you need, and don’t forget to fit the conference date to your own school’s schedule as well!
Step Two: Choosing Committees
Choosing committees all depend on the number of minimum participants you are expecting. For 100-150, you have to have four to five committees, and for 150 and more, you may vary from five to seven committees depending on your wants and needs.
For what the committees will be, you will need to consider that although there will always be more novice delegates than experienced delegates (unless you are conducting an advanced conference), you have to have committees and agenda items’ to fit everybody’s taste. Nowadays, committees such as JCC/HCC are quite popular and in my opinion, you should have one Crisis Committee, alongside an update-based committee such as NATO or UNSC.
Possibilities for different committees are endless and it’s always a great idea to search through UN Bodies. In fact, here is a detailed diagram here for you for different UN Bodies that you may use!
Do not forget to consider that you can also look through different Organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), NATO, OIC and NATO PA. If you think participants will be interested, you can use unique committees such as the Grand National Assembly, US Senate, US House of Representatives, European Commission, European Parliament, ASEAN or even fantastic committees, but I don’t believe that they fit the MUN Format as well as they are considered to be.
Step Three: Creating Academic and Organization Teams
As mentioned before, conducting a successful team comes from networking. You have to pick your organization team members from the experienced bits of your MUN Club in your school, and you have to get a nice known PR Team from well-known mainstream MUNers around your city for further network. Making a conference is literally all about Networking, and unless you are doing thirty people’s work all at the same time as I had to do in my own conference, you will need to get a very strong organization team.
Your Director-General and Secretary-General will be the backbone of the conference, and it’s extremely important to consider that participants nowadays choose conferences to attend by looking at their Academic teams, social events, and Public Relations team. For an experienced academic team, pay attention to the committees you picked, and try to see which other MUNers have done academic experiences on similar topics’ and committees. After that is all about your communication skills, as you will be negotiating with a lot of people for positions.
Step Four: Being Approved by Ministry of Education (MEB) and Finding Sponsors
Before we start, it is important to say that the Ministry of Education’s approval process can vary depending on the region/city, so for further information, you have to ask the school management and the Ministry itself.
For the approval, they will want you to create a folder that involves basically everything there is to know about the conference. From the committees’ to the academic and organization team to the application form questions, you will have to give every single detail. This means you have to have everything ready by the time you get this folder and you have to send the folder at least three months before your conference for safe measures, because if the Ministry finds something inapplicable or inappropriate, they may request for you to change it. (Note: You may visit https://ayse.meb.gov.tr/basvurudev/)
For tangible sponsors, to create a folder will also be in order. You should find what kind of sponsorships you may need, and examples to types of sponsorship can be coffee break food, stationery or even transportation. Then, to get sponsorship, you should gather your organization team and once again use your network. Somebody in your organization team may know somebody that might help you establish further connections to get sponsorship. Another idea is to contact the Graduates from your school that may have a company or some sort now that may be willing to help to their old school’s activities for the school spirit. And the last idea I can give to you is quite simple, you basically just go around your town to spot certain shops, establishments or companies that may be interested in supporting your conference.
But if the case is that you want to get sponsorship from UN bodies or National Commissions or somewhere like NATO every establishment will have different requirements but for the measurements, while asking for a certain thing from officials you always have to write a petition or some sort or ask your principal to write it for you. When you are done writing it you have to print it out, get your principal to use his/her seal and also sign it, so that you can scan the document like so and send it to the establishment you wish to get support from.
And do not forget to take the approval of your Center if you are attending a Franchise school.
Step Five: Promoting Your Conference and Finding Delegates/Delegations
There are three key points to getting lots of participants for your conference. Public Relations, Advisors and your School.
For Public Relations, you have to set a line for every PR Member. Work with the Head of Public Relations and Delegate Affairs to tell your fellow PR Members that if they want to attend the conference, they should bring… for example, at least three delegates. The PR Team is a very nice point to get yourself individual delegates. Or another option, you can ask your PR team to gather you a delegation and set a minimum amount of delegates you want according to the attendance that you wish for your own MUN.
Of course, you have to start the conference preparations at least seven months in advance– in my case for BBMUN, I had started during 2019 June for the Conference that was in 2020 March. This means that by the time your conference is up and running, you will do at least one MUN right? In the conferences that you attend, try to make friends with the Advisors and Observers as they will be the ones who are bringing delegations. Tell them about your academic team and the measures you want to take for your conference to impress them, and even suggest staying in contact.
If you have an advisor for yourself during that conference, there will be most likely a Whatsapp group between them and you may ask for your advisor to ask the other advisors whether they will come or not after the conference ends to remind them to send delegations to you. As always, do not forget! Networking is the key.
And the last part, your school. Your school may have connections with other schools, and your principal or faculty members may call them or email them for you to request individual delegates or delegations. Do not be afraid to seek help, as you will be needing your school’s support as much as possible.
Extra: Possible Problems
Although I couldn’t experience the joy of being an active Secretary-General at my own conference by the fact that it was canceled literally a week before it was conducted due to COVID-19, I came across a lot of unusual problems, and It is now my duty to share it with you. I gathered three of the biggest problems I experienced as an example to you and I will answer the possible solutions down below.
One: Academic and PRTeam Members’ Attendance
Of course, we tried to set the date to fit every member as much as possible, but some PR members may bail on you, or some Academic Team members may find it difficult to attend if they are working on several conferences at the same time.
In my case, I had one USG that was not attending, so I had to get another USG to cover for him. And a few of my PR members, I had to replace. When certain staff working on your conference tells you that they may not be able to attend, you have to negotiate with them first to check for the last possibility on their attendance, then ask if they can send a replacement for themselves. If not, you can find somebody else yourself.
Two: Communication Problems During the Conference
It is very important to know that during the conference, there is an extremely busy phone-traffic between the organization team members and the academic team. My Director-General and I had managed to find ourselves industrial long-distance radios and we were planning to talk to each other with the radio to prevent the risk of the Secretary-General and Director-General not being available, and It was very fun to use the radio. Now I am not saying you have to do the same, but it is a very fun detail that can be used.
Another point on the communication problems is that not every member of certain teams look at their phones all the time. Please warn all of your participants beforehand that they should have their phone on at least vibration so that they can see important messages and announcements when needed.
Three: Payments and Letter of Consents
I can literally not stress this enough, but especially with delegates and staff under the age of 18, always, and I mean ALWAYS get your receipts and Letter of Consents from their parents. Luckily I didn’t have a problem with this, but it could very well create one in the case of an
emergency if I didn’t keep track of everybody’s documents immensely. The payment receipts and Letter of Consents are extremely important, and you should note on the Code of Conduct that if the participants below 18 don’t bring their Letter of Consents, they will not be granted their stationery.
Making a conference can be extremely hard, but once you see the relieved faces of participants and staff members when the conference ends up being just perfect… it is more than worth it.
I hope you found the points I tried to cover valuable. Of course, I had repeated myself again and again, but I will once again say it, Networking is Key, but so is kindness, always be patient and nice to your fellow participants.
The Writer of MUNTurkey.com
NOTE: Photos are from GALMUN20.