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Duties and Responsibilities of Deputy Secretary-General and Deputy Director-General by Şebnem YAREN

All Model United Nations conferences require various teams of people to make the conference possible. These teams are called the Academic and Organization Teams, which consist of members with different titles that perform various duties as requirements of their positions to prepare and exhibit a satisfactory conference for all external participants, as well as themselves. In this article, my focus and aim will be to highlight the qualities and duties of a couple of the most important members of these teams, the Deputy-Secretary General and the Deputy-Director General.

What is a DSG and a DDG?

The heads of the Academic and Organization Teams are called the Secretary-General and the Director-General, respectively. Of course, any leader of any group needs a right-hand man to consult and work closely to manage the team and split their tasks with. That’s where the previously mentioned deputies, the actors of this article come into place. To fully grasp what these deputies specifically do, we need to analyze them separately.

What are the duties of a DSG and DDG?

The Deputy-Secretary General generally takes care of many of the administrative responsibilities alongside the SG to ensure all tasks and activities performed by other members of the team are run smoothly and trouble-free. They assist the SG and the academic team while managing all the secretarial operations such as determining the committees and their agendas, preparing a ‘rules of procedure’ document for the conference, appointing the under-secretaries general and committee directors, going over the received study guides, evaluating the functioning of the committees during the conference, etc. They also have the authority to act as the head of the conference in the absence of the SG. They also undertake any specific tasks that are assigned to them by the SG but their main job is to ensure that the preparation phase of the Secretariat and the Academic Team concludes on time without any problems while also preventing occurrences of any unexpected events that would disrupt the functioning of the committees and the conference in general.

(The Deputy-Secretary General of UN, Amina J. Mohammed)

The Deputy-Director General has the authority to act as the head of the organization team in absence of the DG, However, in contrast to the DSG, the DDG manages the organizational matters of the conference alongside the DG to make sure that no inconveniences are faced with prior to, during and after the conference. These organizational responsibilities form around the non-academic elements of the conference such as Public Relations, Press, Logistics, and Finance. These departments work collaboratively under the name of the Organization Team of the conference.

All the heads of these departments report to and consult with the DDG and DG about any matters that their department is dealing with varying from participant accommodation and transportation, to venue scheduling, placement of any props to and from the venue, announcements and reminders about the conference, social event arrangements and announcements, managing the fees, sponsors and costs of the conference, making the conference an eternal memory with the help of the press department and so on. The DDG’s job is to administer and control the accurate and unproblematic implementation of all these duties by the respective members of the team while also lending a hand to any department in case of any needed extra help. The main goal of the DDG and the Organization Team as a whole is to execute the conference according to plan and make the participants are as comfortable as possible while they interact with the academic contents of the conference.

(One of The Deputy-Directors General of WIPO, Binying Wang)

Do All MUNs have a DSG and DDG?

The simple answer to this question would be no, not all MUN conferences include a DSG and/or DDG in their teams. There are some cases in which these headings are not required due to the conference being very small in size, in terms of participants. However, apart from that scenario, the reasoning for this deficiency is usually the lack of members with the required MUN experience and knowledge or lack of members in general within the MUN society of the conference-organizing institution.

Since DSG and DDG positions are of utmost importance to any MUN conference, they cannot and should not be appointed to any person who is deprived of the essential requirements to fully and responsibly conduct and complete the duties of the title that they would be holding. In some cases, the MUN society might only just be forming, and during the ongoing process of establishing a brand-new organization, it may be difficult to find external MUN colleagues to take on the job due to lack of networking. Additionally, it might be hard to recruit members for the society, in general, to eventually assign these positions to, even without considering the experience and knowledge level. Nevertheless, even if a conference does not have a DSG and/or DDG in their Academic and Organization Teams at the moment, it does not mean that they would never have one. As long as any MUN society keeps its ambition and shows the effort to grow as a community, all positions are going to be occupied with many over-qualified MUNers in the long-run.

What should an MUNer do to become a DSG or DDG?

Any person who is interested in MUN or even curious about it will most likely find the opportunity to be included in an MUN society or an informal gathering of people who participate in MUN, wherever they work/go to school. Consequently, if you put in the effort, anyone can be included in an MUN society or become a participant at a conference by applying. As you keep attending conferences in any position, you will start learning about and acknowledging the different duties that people with particular positions carry out during the conference.

After you see what an MUN experience is like, if you make it your agenda to be an active member at your MUN society and keep attending conferences under different titles as you gain experience (e.g. delegate to chair etc. or admin to head of logistics etc.), your qualifications to acquire the title of a DSG or DDG will develop, thus making you eligible to fulfill the requirements of the job. In conclusion, being an active member of your own MUN society and constantly attending various conferences would make you fit for the job in the long-run as long as you show effort and trust the process.

Tips for the first-timer DSGs or DDGs?

Everyone would want some sort of head start for any new task they are taking on. Here are a few quick tips that might serve that purpose for you:


• Decide on a leadership format/structure: No leader who does not have a method for directing can ever be successful in managing their team. In order to complete this job smoothly and execute an ideal conference, you need to develop a strategy on how you are going to manage the process and the people under you in the most efficient way possible.


• Decide the position-person match ups: Since you will be head of a team, you need to plan, in detail, the schema of the team you are going to administer. You need to assign the leaders and members to the required positions according to the context of what your team’s job in the conference is. Keep in mind that you need to be comfortable with the people you are going to work with, and the chemistry in the team has to be at the optimum level for everyone to do their job with their full potential for an ideal conference.

• Gather frequent meetings: The only way to properly check-up and be up to date on something you aren’t directly doing is to be informed on it often. Therefore, you should organize team meetings as much and as scheduled as possible to oversee the process of what every member and department is doing without boring or strangling your team.

• Set a timeline for your tasks: It is not humanly possible for you to be able to remember every detail from every meeting for months at a time. Keeping an organized agenda on what you and your team are planning and doing will help you manage the process better for the duration of both the preparation phase and the conference.

• Try to keep calm and collected: No matter how planned, focused or dedicated you, or your team maybe, you are going to come across challenges. These challenges will sometimes be a piece of cake to deal with, and sometimes they will feel like they could ruin the whole conference. In these circumstances, the person who will need to pull everyone together and manage a crisis will be you, the head of the team. Therefore, in order to make sure you don’t get caught up on the bumps in the road, you always need to try to stay calm and think of the most efficient way to solve the issue. It will not be easy at first and maybe you will even feel like giving up at times, however, you will learn to adapt and adjust and overcome the obstacles that once seemed impossible to elude.

• Communication is key: The only way to operate a large group of people effectively is and always will be to know how to communicate clearly and effectively. Since this is a team that you will be managing there will be lots of professional and personal relationships that you will have to deal with behind the scenes. The only way to not let feelings get in the way of what you and your team are doing is to communicate constructively. When you or a member of your team is having a problem with another member or someone from the outside, you need to evaluate the problem by taking the involved parties’ insight. Thereafter; you, with the involved parties, will need to express nicely but firmly what the most beneficial solution to the inconvenience may be for the team and implement it immediately. Thereby, the problem will be averted before it does any bigger damage to the team. As long as you choose your words carefully, approach the situation professionally, and be nice to people; there will not be an issue that you or your team won’t be able to recover from.

After all, it is said and done; I, to the best of my ability, tried to explain and elaborate on the duties and responsibilities of a DSG and DDG from every aspect. I genuinely hope that this article has been helpful to anyone reading it. I hope I sparked something in you to consider becoming a DSG or DDG in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read and good luck! 

All the best,
Şebnem Yaren

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Written by Sebnem Yaren

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