HOW TO SURVIVE IN A CONFERENCE FOLLOWING THE THIMUN PROCEDURE GUIDE? BY SEZEN ÖZKALP
Hello everyone! I am Sezen Özkalp and through this article of mine, I will be guiding you about how to survive in a conference following the THIMUN procedure.
STEP 1: UNDERSTANDING HARVARD PROCEDURE FEATURES THAT DOESN’T EXIST IN THIMUN PROCEDURE
If are knowledgable about Harvard procedure but don’t know anything of THIMUN, there are some features that you shouldn’t bear in mind when learning THIMUN procedure.
- Moderated and Unmoderated Caucuses
In THIMUN procedure you do not have to give motions to start debating or writing the resolutions. Chairs will direct you and the floor will always be open for delegates to speak upon the resolution and the issue as a whole except close debate times which will be explained particularly in the second step
- Writing the resolution later
- All resolutions for all the agenda items will be written in the first session. There can be multiple resolutions for every topic.
- General Speakers’ List
- Setting the Agenda
STEP 2: WHAT IS THIMUN PROCEDURE BASICALLY?
1. Opening Speeches
Each and every delegate is obliged to make an opening speech at the beginning of the first session during a maximum of one minute.
The most important feature of this procedure is writing resolutions. Generally, each committee has three agenda items that vary committee to committee. All the resolutions for every agenda item are written at the “lobbying” time which goes on at the first session of the conference after the time for opening speeches has come to an end.
3. Flow of Debate
After all draft resolutions are finished, the whole debate proceeds upon them for the rest of the time. Delegates criticize the resolution as a whole or some clauses with both of its advantages and disadvantages. One of the most essential constituents is “amendments”.
a. Open Debates
The open debate will start with the presentation of the main submitter of the whole resolution. Delegates are always welcome to speak upon the current resolution and the topic as a whole. Delegates can always ask points of information to a delegate who made a speech.
b. Close Debates
A close debate is conducted to discuss an amendment submitted by a delegate. After the submitter entertains their amendment, two speakers in favor and two speakers against it takes the floor. No points of information are accepted during the close debate.
An amendment is written in order to change, add or strike out something in the resolution or in a clause. Once an amendment has been submitted, it is then debated upon for a period of time set by the Chair, is voted upon, and if it passes, is included in the original resolution. If it fails, no changes are made to the resolution. Amendments are submitted in written form to the Chair, and can either change, strike, or add a part.
i. A second-degree amendment
An amendment that was written for a change in the amendment that is being debated.
- this is a very simplified version of the procedure so delegates need to read the official THIMUN rules of procedure. Furthermore, some rules of procedure may change the conference to conference or committee to committee. In that case, the academic team of the conference will probably upload a booklet upon it which you also have to read very carefully.
STEP 3: HOW TO PREPARE?
Research and knowledge about the procedure, topics, your country, and committee are the basis of being an effective delegate. Each delegate (especially first-timers in total or in THIMUN) needs to have a to-do list including some steps which are given below:
- Reading the official rules of procedure guide of THIMUN or the procedure booklet uploaded by the conference authorities,
- Further preparations over the procedure which might be watching THIMUN conference videos,
- Studying the chair reports(also known as study guides) of each agenda item(generally 3 topics per committee)
- Further readings upon the subjects
- Research about what your country does and their policy about the topic
- Think about possible solutions and turn them into clauses. If you are knowledgeable about writing a resolution, go ahead however if you are not, it is not a problem at all you may just note down your ideas and offer them in the lobbying session. If you do not have any solution ideas at all, it is again not a problem at all. Since THIMUN procedure proceeds spontaneously you can be a beneficial delegate with your speeches, amendments, and points of information.
STEP 4: OPENING SPEECH/AMBASSADORS SPEECH
As I mentioned in “what is THIMUN procedure?” part, every delegate must make an opening speech at the very beginning of the first session in their own committees. It is better for you to prepare it before the conference especially if you are a fist-timer or less experienced delegate however you may make your speech spontaneously on the floor as well.
Moreover, the THIMUN procedure has “ambassadors” who are mainly the head delegates of delegations. They are obliged to make an ambassador speech in the opening ceremony or in the ambassador meeting. If you are the ambassador of your delegation also prepare an ambassador speech.
Opening speech sample:
Honorable chair, fellow delegates,
The delegation of Sudan realizes the importance of a world without a digital divide between MDCs and LDCs, genetic privacy and non-discrimination, as well as a resolution on the issues between Israel and Palestine. However, the delegate of Sudan wishes to especially focus on digital access among all countries, for all people.
The digital divide between MDCs and LDCs is something that needs to be bridged in order to help lower the rates of poverty worldwide and give many LDCs a better economy. As an LDC, Sudan is affected by this issue because of its lack of up to date digital access. The delegate of Sudan believes that a possible solution to the bridging of the digital divide is assistance from MDCs to LDCs in the form of programs, donations, and training.
The delegate of Sudan looks forward to hearing and debating other delegations’ opinions on this and other issues.
Ambassador speech sample:
Honorable Chairs, Fellow Delegates
It is a great pleasure for Costa Rica to be present today.
As you may know, the government of Costa Rica has been an active participant in the United Nations for many years and has long emphasized the development of democracy and respect for human rights.
In 1987 the president of Costa Rica, Arias, was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his efforts on behalf of peace in the Latin American region, and there has been peace in Costa Rica ever since. Costa Rica has been fortunate enough to have 115 years of uninterrupted democracy, a notable accomplishment.
In 1948 Costa Rica became the first country in the modern world to constitutionally abolish all military forces and thus has been free of a standing army for sixty-one years. This act set Costa Rica apart from countries under malicious dictatorship, as were most in Central America during this time.
We know, the UN has unquestionably proven its value over the years in allowing nation-states to come together on an equal basis to discuss issues of war and peace. And so today, as you undertake your more important consultations this week, bear in mind that seemingly intractable situations that seem to withstand unanimous solidarity may be resolved by inviting regional associations and authorities to actively participate in such discussions.
Thank you for your kind attention, and good luck with your deliberations this week.
STEP 5: FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS
After your research is finished and you have enough knowledge about the committee, topics and your country focus on what actions can be taken to solve the problem.
After the research period, it is time to reveal your creativity. Here are some tips finding solutions;
- Your solution proposal has to be on behalf of your country policy just as well as you are obliged to obey them all the time
- You may take a look at the previous solution proposal but please do not copy any of them. If you do so, the conference will take actions against you because of plagiarism
- Consider every aspect of the issue. For example, if the agenda item is warfare related, do not just think about the political aspects. Humanitarian issues like health and education are also some related sub-topics of war which are very crucial
As I mentioned before, you do not have to write a clause or a resolution before you go because the resolution is shaped at the lobbying time. You may note down your ideas and write them with other delegates. Even if you do not have any solution proposals, it is nothing to worry about, you will write the resolution from the very beginning of it and you can contribute yo the resolution by discussing it with other delegates.
HOW SURVIVE IN THE COMMITTEE IF YOU ARE A FIRST-TIMER IN THIMUN?
- After the lobbying session, one of the draft resolutions will be given to you. The first thing to do should be reading it by paying a lot of attention
- Examine the resolution and find both beneficial sides and lacking points of it
- Just take the floor and criticize it on behalf of your country’s policy and talk about the lacking points mentioning your reasons
- Listen to every delegate carefully and ask them points of information regarding their speeches
- Write amendments. When you assess the resolution carefully and detect the lacking parts, try to improve them by adding sub-clauses, etc. or if you think a proposal would be useless, you can offer striking it out with an amendment. However, if you are a first-timer in THIMUN procedure and you cannot write amendments it is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about. You can just make speeches upon the resolution, amendments and you can ask questions.
- Observe what the others are doing and how the procedure flows. All in all, It is your first THIMUN experience and observing will prepare you for the next one.
WRITING AMENDMENTS, PRE-AMBULATORY CLAUSES, AND OPERATIVE CLAUSES
A pre-ambulatory clause mainly addresses a sub-question of the topic. The pre-ambulatory clauses state all the issues that the committee wants to resolve on this issue. Preamble clauses may state the reasons why the committee is acting on a given topic. It has to start with an italicized pre-ambulatory phrase and end with a comma.
Preambulatory clauses can include:
- References to the UN Charter;
- Citations of past UN resolutions or treaties on the topic under discussion;
- Citations of past UN resolutions or treaties on the topic under discussion;
- Mentions of statements made by the Secretary-General or a relevant UN body or agency;
- Recognition of the efforts of regional or nongovernmental organizations in dealing with the issue; and General statements on the topic, its significance, and its impact.
Sample pre-ambulatory clause:
Alarmed by the 17% increase in HIV/AIDS contraction among sub-Saharan African countries in the past five years,
An operative clause is basically for explaining solution proposals upon the agenda item. An operative clause starts with a number followed by an italicized phrase. An operative clause ends with a semicolon. The last operative clause finishes with a period.
You should use sub-clauses, sub-sub-clauses in order to add details to the operative clause. The operative clauses should address the issues specifically mentioned in the pre-ambulatory clauses above it.
Sample operative clause
Calls upon the developed countries and major pharmaceutical countries to provide low-cost, generic medicines for HIV/AIDS to sub-Saharan African countries;
By writing an amendment, delegates can change, add or strike out something in the draft resolution or clause.
Second-degree amendment: An amendment that aims to change something on the amendment which is being debated.
- Adds an operative clause that reads “14. Encourages all Latin American countries to…”
- Deletes operative clause 9.
- Changes operative clause 1 to read “1. Calls upon the Red Cross to provide low-cost medicines…”
- Sample second degree amendment to the first sample above: changes Latin American countries to MEDC’s
I hope this article will help and guide you through the THIMUN procedure. You can always contact me via email(firstname.lastname@example.org) or DM(@sezenozkalp). Thank you for your time. Wish you all healthy and happy days.
References of samples