5005 West Winona
Chicago, Illinois 60630

phone: (773) 777-2686
fax: (800) 856-2758
intl. fax: (707) 281-7365 
e-mail: info@unimun.org
The information provided on this and subsequent pages is in reference to the August, 2000 UNIMUN Conference. 


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. 


Logistical Questions:

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 UN.

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 that Assembly.

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: August 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 Information" page.

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 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 the Conference. 

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 must be either sign up as a two person team or accept a partner from another school.

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 and available countries is posted on our home page. There is not a set deadline for how late a school or individual can register. 
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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 Library?

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 Services?

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 resolutions.

Does UNIMUN conduct "Crisis Simulations"?

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 out awards?

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 Conference.

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.. 
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Where do UNIMUN's rules come from?

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 representative/delegation.

Why does UNIMUN allow different procedural points?

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 period.

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. 
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