5005 West Winona
Chicago, Illinois 60630
phone: (773) 777-2686
fax: (800) 856-2758
intl. fax: (707) 281-7365
The information provided on this and subsequent pages is in reference
to the August, 2000 UNIMUN Conference.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following points include some of the most frequently asked questions
about the United Nations International Model United Nations (UNIMUN) Conference.
It is written both for those who may be interested in attending the conference,
and for new UNIMUN participants. As with all aspects of UNIMUN, we will
continually seek to improve this FAQ and include more items and answers
which are important to the conference. Please feel free to suggest updates
at any time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Conference Participation and Preparation Questions:
Rules of Procedure Questions:
What is the UNIMUN philosophy?
UNIMUN strives to create a simulation of the United Nations which is as
realistic as possible, while still allowing for the fulfillment of the
educational goals of our participants. In this, we continually seek to
find new information about the UN, its member states and the topics discussed,
and to include this information in the simulations at every opportunity.
As the first collegiate conference held completely at and sponsored by
the United Nations, UNIMUN also hopes to provide an example which other
conferences may follow in our rules, procedures, and simulation of the
Who is sponsoring UNIMUN?
UNIMUN is co-sponsored by the United Nations
Department of Public Information (UNDPI) and American
Model United Nations, Inc. (AMUN). It is a joint venture, combining
the reality and prestige of the United Nations with the years of professional
simulation experience of AMUN.
The UNIMUN Secretariat comes from around the world. The staff, who are
drawn from the leadership of a wide variety of local, regional, national
and international Model UN conferences, represents hundreds of years of
MUN experience. If you are interested in serving on a future UNIMUN
Secretariat please contact us.
UNIMUN has also been recognized as an official UNDPI Millennium activity,
leading up to the historic meeting of heads of state for the Millennium
General Assembly in September 2000. The resolutions adopted during UNIMUN
will be delivered to the Secretary-General for special consideration at
Please note that UNIMUN is solely funded through the registration
fees collected and private donations.
When is UNIMUN held?
UNIMUN is held late in the summer to allow individuals and schools
the maximum time available for preparation. Our 2000 Conference Dates are:
10-13, 2000. Alternately, groups can choose to come in a day early
or stay a day late to see more of New York.
Where is the UNIMUN conference located?
UNIMUN meetings are held at the United Nations Headquarters Building in
New York City, NY, USA. The Conference has negotiated very favorable
rates for sleeping rooms at the Roosevelt
Hotel in New York City.
How much will it cost?
UNIMUN prides itself on being a reasonably priced collegiate simulations.
Our fees are $185 PER DELEGATE. Faculty Advisors traveling
with their delegations will be assessed a fee of $100, which covers participation
in all UNIMUN sponsored events. This fee will be waived for any groups
of 10 or more participants from the same school.
What if our school can't afford UNIMUN?
While UNIMUN tries to be reasonably priced for all schools, we understand
that some groups may not be able to afford the various costs involved.
We offer possibilities to help schools with funding issues. American Model
United Nations publishes a Directory
of Fund Raisers for Model UN Groups. This directory gives
a large number of ideas for fund raisers that your school can accomplish,
ranging from the very easy to the very complex.
At this time, UNIMUN is unable to provide any scholarships or sponsorships
for individuals. We are actively seeking corporate and philanthropic sponsors
for lower income individuals at this time, and will announce any sponsorships
as they become available.
Where can I stay?
Hotel rooms at the Roosevelt
Hotel, a few blocks from the UN Headquarters, are $140/room/night
(plus tax), with up to four people in a room at no additional charge. Other
costs which will need to be calculated are participant travel, meals, and
expenses while in New York. Room reservations should be made by each individual
or delegation, and payment for sleeping rooms should be done directly with
the Roosevelt Hotel. For more information, see our "Hotel
Will there be time to see New York?
Absolutely! The UNIMUN staff realizes that one of the draws of our conference
is that it is held in one of the world's most exciting and interesting
cities. We strongly encourage delegations to come in early or stay late
for some extra tourist time. In addition, our dinner breaks are sufficiently
long to insure that you will have time to get out of the hotel and sample
the diverse food opportunities available around the UN Headquarters area
How many students are typically on a delegation?
UNIMUN delegations range from 2 to 8 students, with 4-5 being an average
sized delegation. Each delegation is allowed to place one or two representatives,
at their option, on each committee to which their country is assigned.
The largest delegations, typically the permanent members of the Security
Council, can have as many as 8 representatives. UNIMUN encourages schools
bringing more than this number of students to register for additional delegations.
It is not inappropriate for a school to represent 2 or more countries at
Can individuals participate in UNIMUN?
Absolutely! UNIMUN expects that many of our participants will be individuals
coming from various colleges and universities around the world. If your
school does not wish to bring a full delegation, you are welcome to register
for UNIMUN as an individual, or with a partner of your choosing. If you
do not have a partner, you can request that UNIMUN assign one to you. Please
note that delegates on the Security Council or Historical Security Council
be either sign up as a two person team or accept a partner from another
Is UNIMUN open to graduate and law students?
Yes! UNIMUN welcomes any college, graduate or professional students to
the Conference, as well as people who are staff at Model UN Conferences
of at least collegiate level.
How do I sign-up for UNIMUN?
Registration is easy, and can be done by e-mail, phone, fax or mail. See
the Registration Page
of our home page for additional details.
How early or late can I sign up for UNIMUN?
UNIMUN began registering schools and delegates with an initial Country
Lottery held in early March, 2000. Following the lottery, country assignments
are now made on a first-come, first-served basis. A continually updated
list of assigned
countries is posted on our home page. There is not a set deadline for how
late a school or individual can register.
CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION AND PREPARATION QUESTIONS:
What kind of research should
I do before UNIMUN?
UNIMUN participants are expected to be skilled
representatives of their assigned country by the time they arrive at the
Conference. When walking into the simulation, a student becomes the representative
from his/her assigned delegation. In order to fill this role, among other
things students must research: their country (including background and
current events); the topics of discussion for their committee; the positions
of other countries (both allies and adversaries); the UNIMUN rules of procedure;
and the United Nations. UNIMUN provides assistance in this research through
our UNIMUN Representative
Handbook. This book provides a detailed outline of how an individual
or a delegation can fulfill the required research. Additionally, a synopsis
of the history and current status of each topic is provided, along with
a detailed bibliography to assist students in doing additional research.
How are draft resolutions
used at UNIMUN?
UNIMUN will not accept resolutions in advance
of the Conference, but draft resolutions may be brought to the Conference
or submitted on the floor by any delegation or group of delegations. UN
resolutions are usually started by one country (or perhaps a small group
of countries) and then circulated to bring in new perspectives and to gain
broader acceptance. More importantly at the UN draft resolutions on any
given topic are discussed, changed, combined and amended until they are
acceptable to a vast majority, and often to all of the delegations present.
To present a more accurate simulation of the UN, UNIMUN strongly urges
delegations to focus on the difficult process of diplomacy which can lead
to consensus decisions on final resolutions, rather than focusing
on initial drafts. By definition, even the best drafts can only serve as
a starting point for a final document which will reflect the desires of
most, if not all members of the international community.
What is the difference between
formal debate and caucusing?
With the vast majority of the UN's work now
accomplished by consensus, UNIMUN attempts to replicate this process in
our simulations by focusing on caucusing and consensus building wherever
possible. In the UN, representatives usually give pre-written speeches
into the record, with all of the real work being done behind the scenes.
We encourage representatives to caucus as much as needed at the conference,
and to work toward consensus in their resolutions. Caucusing time
(versus formal debate at a microphone) should average around 75% in most
UNIMUN simulations, and most resolutions should pass by consensus or near-consensus,
with a vast majority receiving very few "no" votes. Participants are actively
encouraged to work to include all members of the body, and not just form
blocs and pass resolutions which reflect narrow interests, and which rarely
provide solutions to problems.
What services does UNIMUN
offer delegations at Conference?
UNIMUN is a truly full service Model UN Conference.
We will make every effort to fulfill all of our participants needs, from
document processing, to providing extra research assistance, or even directions
to a particular restaurant in the area. These services are accomplished
by UNIMUN's Delegate Library and Delegate Services departments.
What is UNIMUN's Delegate
The Delegate Library (DL) is the ultimate
source of substantive, content specific information at the UNIMUN Conference.
UNIMUN's chairs are trained as neutral facilitators of the discussion
in each simulation. Unlike some Conferences which use a "director" structure,
UNIMUN chairs do not become involved in the content, leaving that up to
the sovereign nations debating in the body. The Delegate Library, on the
other hand, is intended as a substantive resource should representatives
have any questions about specific issues on a topic (resolutions, treaties,
etc.). While UNIMUN expects that all participants will seriously prepare
for the Conference, limits on preparation time and materials often lead
to a situation in which a representative has not previously researched
a document that is referenced by someone else in Committee. The DL staff
are trained and experienced researchers with significant resources at their
disposal, including a library of books, UN documents, maps, and Internet
access to assist in answering students questions. Additionally, one member
of the dais staff in each simulation will serve as a Rapporteur for the
body. This person will be available to provide substantive assistance on
request in each simulation, and will assist representatives with questions
about resolutions or other substantive matters.
What is UNIMUN's Delegate
UNIMUN also uses highly professional techniques
and extremely efficient processing equipment in our Delegate Services office,
which is responsible for supporting the logistical needs of delegations
and providing all of the paperwork which makes the process possible. UNIMUN
provides computers for delegations to type their resolutions, including
macros which make resolution typing fast and efficient. Our system is also
compatible with any Windows based word processor, and we can easily take
files off a disk provided by a participant and convert them into standard
Does UNIMUN conduct "Crisis
One of the highlights of each UNIMUN Conference
are the "crisis simulations" provided in the Security Council and Historical
Security Council. Since the Security Council is responsible for all matters
or international peace and security, and since the UN Charter states that
the Council may be called "at any time" to deal with these matters, UNIMUN
traditionally "creates" a crisis for these councils each year. Highly experienced
UNIMUN staff members, including several with professional simulation experience
in government and private industry, prepare a "viable" simulation which
could feasibly happen in some part of the world, given current military,
strategic and geo-political considerations. In the Historical Security
Council, this often culminates in a variant of one of the "key" events
which occurred in the year being simulated. In the contemporary Council,
this could culminate in a crisis exploding in any part of the world currently
in conflict. Council delegations are given enough notice to prepare for
the simulation, but circumstances may change in a very "real time" simulation,
and Council members may need to respond to events as they occur. For this
reason, UNIMUN expects that representatives on the Security Councils will
need to be among the best prepared students at the Conference, able to
represent their country's policies on the broad range of peace and security
issues which might be discussed.
Why doesn't UNIMUN give
UNIMUN stresses that the Model UN experience
should be an educational simulation of what occurs at the United
Nations, accomplished within the constraints of a three day conference.
We also strongly feel that the Model UN experience should not be
a competition among delegations, with the inherent implications
of winners, losers and judging. Participants do not have any specific,
judgeable criteria to follow, but should rather be focusing on preparing,
to the best of their abilities, to fully represent their assigned country
on the topics under discussion. This broad based preparation should focus
on the UN, on a specific country, on one or more specific topics, and on
the complexities of international diplomacy. In the end, UNIMUN hopes that
each student will walk away with a unique, participatory educational experience,
learning both from their own studies and from their interactions at the
What help does UNIMUN provide for faculty advisors, club
leaders or individuals in preparing for the Conference?
UNIMUN's senior staff members are happy to help schools in any way they
can both before and during the Conference. This includes full access to
the Executive Director and/or Secretary General at any time, either by
e-mail, fax, phone or mail. We pride ourselves on answering all questions
quickly and accurately. We can help with research questions, logistical
issues, or any other areas of Conference preparation..
RULES OF PROCEDURE QUESTIONS:
Where do UNIMUN's rules
UNIMUN's goal is to replicate the rules
and practices used at the UN to the largest extent possible, while
still including some additional rules which enhance the educational experience
of the students. In an effort to simulate the UN as closely as possible,
UNIMUN staff members have done significant research into the UN rules,
including referencing UN proceedings and interviewing UN Secretariat members
and diplomats who form our "technical committee.". UNIMUN's rules, as found
in the UNIMUN Representative
Handbook, are easy to use in practice, but are fairly complex in writing
to cover the mostly unwritten practices and precedents which guide many
activities at the United Nations. When UNIMUN's rules vary from those used
at the UN, this is acknowledged and is only done to achieve a specific
educational goal in the limited four days of a Model UN simulation.
Why does UNIMUN focus on
the "will of the body"?
UNIMUN strives in both our staff training
and in our practices at the Conference to focus on the needs and desires
of the students who are participating in this educational endeavor. Similar
to the rules at the UN, our rules focus on allowing for the "will of the
body." As representatives of sovereign nations, UNIMUN feels strongly that
each delegation has the right to pursue their policies as they see fit,
directed by their research into that country and by the diplomatic circumstances
of the Conference. Our staff, whether on the dais or behind the scenes,
will always strive to allow each student the best possible experience.
While the "needs of the body" and the educational priorities of the simulations
may sometimes create a situation in which we cannot fully facilitate the
requests of a specific representative (e.g. a request to change voting
procedures from a simple majority to a 3/4 majority vote), UNIMUN staff
members will at all times attempt to fully explain their rulings on decisions,
either before the body or in a one-on-one conversation with the requesting
Why does UNIMUN allow different
While the UN only allows Points of Order on
the rules of procedure, UNIMUN also allows Points of Information and Inquiry
in some circumstances to ask questions or clarifications of the chair,
and to ask questions of the preceding speaker. The ability to request information
from the chair while on the floor is typically a great assistance to many
students who may become confused during the often long and complex proceedings
at a Model UN conference. Additionally, the ability to ask questions of
a speaker is often a great way to determine other countries policies and
to get to the heart of a particular topic or issue -- while UNIMUN expects
that students will arrive as experts on "their country," it is impossible
for any given college student to know the policies of all states with whom
they may work during the week. For this reason, the ability to question
a speaker on the floor is a helpful part of the educational process.
What style of debate is
used at UNIMUN?
UNIMUN's style of debate is unlike most other
Model UN simulations, but it is designed to simulate debate at the UN as
closely as possible. At the UN, member states begin their discussions or
each topic in a formal debating session. During this meeting, each delegation
has an opportunity to present its government's policies and perspectives
on the topic under discussion. Following this session, delegations then
move into informal discussions of the topic. These often take many months
to conclude, with meetings between small groups of countries, regional
or issue blocs, and sometimes larger committee sessions interspersed in
the discussions. Many draft resolutions may be discussed during this time,
in the hopes of gaining support from as many nations of the world as possible,
and leading up to a final document. Finally, when the months of discussions
have yielded a resolution supported by the vast majority of nations, the
UN body will return to another formal session to formalize what was agreed
upon, bring a resolution to the floor, make any necessary changes and then
vote on passage of the resolution. In this session, it is common for the
primary supporters of the resolution, along with the leaders or various
blocs and any remaining opponents of the final document, to take the floor
and present their perspectives or represent the views of their group of
nations. When all perspectives have been heard, the body then moves into
formal voting procedures on any substantive issues which have been moved
to the floor.
Opening Debate: In UNIMUN terms,
this will translate into three phases of debate. The first will allow the
opportunity for all nations to make formal opening speeches on each topic.
A speakers list will be utilized for this purpose, with the list being
drawn up in English alphabetical order starting with a nation determined
at random by the Secretary-General. All represented nations will be invited
to speak during this time, but any nation may choose not to make an opening
statement. Also, once speaking begins no nation will be added to the speakers
list or allowed to speak twice during opening statements.
Informal Debate: Following opening
statements, each UNIMUN simulation will move into what amounts to a "moderated
caucus" period, simulating as closely as possible the months of discussion
and debate surrounding each topic. For simulation purposes, the each body
will stay in session, but speakers will be recognized in a less formal
manner. Speakers lists will not be used during this session, and any delegation
wishing to speak on the floor may signify their desire by raising their
placard. The chair will then select which delegation will speak at any
given time in a fair and equitable manner.
While much of the debate at the UN goes
on behind the scenes, by contrast Model UN conferences feature many actual
debates, compromises and persuasive speeches which made from the floor.
In not using speakers lists during this part of the debate, UNIMUN allows
for more timely debate on a subject, with speakers better able to respond
to the subject immediately at hand, as compared to preparing a speech which
may not be presented for many hours. This more closely simulates the "back
room" consultations which go on over the course of the year at the United
Nations, leading to the final session in which any agreements are formalized
in a resolution.
During this session, delegations will be
free to draft resolutions and discuss any part of the topic which they
desire. This may include debating issues on the floor or calling frequent
suspensions of the meeting to discuss the issue(s) in caucuses. During
this time, delegations and any blocs which form around an issue should
be working toward a resolution which can be acceptable to the vast majority
(if not all) of the delegations at the Conference. This typically means
that, after a regional or issues bloc has reached some level of agreement
among its members, the various blocs will need to work together to form
a more consensus based final resolution. Note, however, that no resolutions
will be formally brought to the floor during this session; any draft resolution
or concept may be discussed, and drafts may be circulated, but resolutions
are only formally brought to the floor during the final, formal debate
Important Note: Since the UN typically
only passes one resolution on any given part of a topic in any year, it
is essential that all delegations spend the time to work together on finding
solutions which can be supported by many nations in the form of a resolution.
FormalDebate on the Topic: When
the main negotiations on the topic and resolution(s) have come to a close,
the simulation will move into a final phase of formal debate on the
topic. A speakers list will be pre-determined for this phase, in consultation
with the dais staff, the primary sponsors of any final resolutions, and
the leaders of the blocs (selected by the delegations in that bloc) which
have formed around the issues. A more limited number of speakers in this
final phase should thus be representative of the major perspectives on
the topic and resolution(s).
During this final debate session, an agreed
upon resolution and any formal amendments may be moved to the floor for
discussion. When the speakers list expires, the body will move to a vote
on any substantive issues on the floor. If more than one resolution was
agreed to during previous consultations, each resolution will be brought
to the floor, discussed, and voting on individually. This may happen if
a topic has several distinct facets which the body decides should be dealt
with in separate resolutions.
Why does the Security Council
use different rules?
The smaller size of UNIMUN's Security Council
and Historical Security Council allow these bodies to more closely follow
the actions taken by this body in the UN system. The Security Council is
a body in which it is paramount to hear the views of all members, since
they act not only as representatives of their own countries, but also as
representatives of the international community. This often includes both
very formal procedures when discussing issues in open session, and often
a much more direct and focused approach when in informal session. Among
other areas, UNIMUN replicates this process in the use of open procedural
debate on motions. Interviews with representatives who have sat on the
UN Security Council led to the realization that the Council does not use
pro and con speeches for debate on motions, but rather allows for full
debate on a motion until the body has exhausted what it has to say. In
practice, this and other Security Council specific rules give a greater
flavor for the uniqueness and importance of the Security Council and its
members at the UN.
As mentioned above, the Security Council
spends much of its time in informal, "consultative sessions." As opposed
to a typical caucus, consultative sessions usually involve representatives
sitting at their places in the meeting but conducting their discussions
off-line, in a much less formal setting, and not constrained by the formal
protocols (both in rules and speaking) required in regular debate. Consultative
sessions can greatly facilitate the negotiating process, and much of the
Council's time can be spent in these sessions, only going into formal session
to codify and vote on resolutions and amendments.
What is "germane" to the
topic in an UNIMUN debate?
While many MUN conferences restrict discussion to the immediate item on
the floor (the resolution, amendment, etc.) UNIMUN follows the UN practice
in allowing the sovereign nations represented to discuss any aspect of
the topic area on the floor which they feel is relevant. This may include
discussion of the overall topic, of a resolution or amendment on the floor,
of another proposed resolution or amendment, or even debate about moving
the discussion to another, more relevant topic area. UNIMUN's chairs will
provide a wide latitude in allowing for germaneness in speeches.