There are two components of effective preparation for a meaningful MUNA experience; the general and the specific.
General Preparation: We suggest two areas of study. Both delegates and counselors should familiarize themselves, first, with the country they will represent; its history, geography, people, economy, system of government, and international alignments.
It is also vital that the history, objectives, operations, and achievements of the United Nations be thoroughly reviewed and understood. A successful learning experience at MUNA requires that participants have an appreciation of the role of the UN as an instrument of world peace and understanding. Three websites could be quite useful for preparation in this general area; The UN www.un.org, the United Nations Association in Canada www.unac.org and the United Nations Association of the United States www.unausa.org.
In print resources and reference material is widely available in public and high school libraries.. Reading of daily newspapers, well known weekly magazines and journals, will provide a good deal of general background in international trends and developments.
Specific Preparation: The MUNA Committee will choose a set of agenda items of current interest in the UN General Assembly. All delegations must study these specific topics. Each agenda item is set out in the form of a resolution. The resolutions are posted on this website about three to four months prior to MUNA to facilitate research and study. They are discussed and brought to a vote on the floor of the Assembly. It is important that each delegation be adequately knowledgeable and able to advance or defend the views of the member state it represents in order to generate an informed and lively debate.
Delegations are advised of the particular resolution to which one of its delegates must speak. Although time limitations will allow only one delegate the opportunity to speak in the Assembly, both must be informed so that they can participate in the discussions in committees. Both delegates delivering parts of the same speech much like a relay is discouraged. They may take turns in expressing their country’s position. Delegates must be sure to research all aspects of the resolution, particularly unfamiliar terms and relevant UN documents.
The mover and seconder of the resolution each may speak for five minutes. Other delegations slated to speak to the item are allowed three minutes each. The five or three minute address should be prepared and written up in advance of the opening session.
Delegates must be sure to support their statements with statistics, facts, and quotations from reliable sources. The speaker must always address the President and no one else. As delegates are representatives of a country, they must speak using terms such as my country, my government, and/or the country’s name, rather than I, me or we . Similarly, when referring to other delegates, one should avoid saying he, she, or they. Instead, use of terms such as the Honourable Delegate, Honourable Delegate from (country’s name), or country’s name by itself, are more courteous and conventional ways of indicating the person to whom the reference is made.
Delegates and counselors are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with parliamentary rules of procedure as well as those specific to the UN General Assembly. The former can be done by closely reading Robert’s Rules of Order. Excerpts from applicable portions of Robert’s Rules of Order are posted on this MUNA website in the form of a grid followed by explanations.
Delegates will be able to participate more effectively in the debates if they are familiar with basic rules such as Points of Order, Points of Privilege or Personal Privilege, Challenging the Chair, and/or Suspending the Rules.
Research of pertinent information on the specific agenda item assigned to each delegation and the overall preparation of delegates for debate will depend in large part upon the initiative and resourcefulness of the delegates and the guidance they receive from counsellors. Role of Counsellors as advisor and guide to students is very important in the preparation process. GOOD LUCK!