here is no simple answer when it comes to choosing the best mun committees for any delegate at any level. Common answers are “always go to a General Assembly for your first MUN conference” / “go to whichever committee is a beginner committee”. You might also hear it is better to start with a smaller committee to get more speaking time. The simple truth is that there is no one right answer.

Everyone come to MUN for their own reasons. Therefore, your choice of committee should be derived from your MUN goals. Once you know what you want to get out of MUN you will have a much easier time finding the right first MUN committee for you.

Understand your MUN goals

Whether you joined MUN to improve your diplomacy skills, travel the world or want to add another line to the cv, it is important to know the reason you’re going to a Model United Nations conferences. It is important to keep an open mind as your goals may change over time

I went to my fist conference over 10 years ago. First I wanted to get confidence when public speaking. After that I wanted to put more facts in my speeches and write stronger resolutions. Then I wanted to improve interpersonal strategy and after that I wanted to be a good chair. Now I’m here teaching others about MUN after a long journey that started with my first beginner committee.

David

Guiding questions to help you understand your MUN goals:

  • Am I interested in international relations?
  • Do I care about international law?
  • How do I feel about public speaking?
  • Do I like to negotiate?
  • Could I benefit from improving my interpersonal strategy?
  • Do I like to travel?
  • Would I like to make new friends?

What are you looking to do?

  • Interested in meeting people or experiencing the conference?
    Generally, a larger committee with less attention to the individual could be better.
  • Are you self-conscious?
    A room of fellow beginners could be a safer starting point.

If you are interested in meeting people or experiencing the conference, and not looking to test your skills, a larger committee with less attention on the individual could be better. If you are self-conscious, a room of fellow beginners could be a safer starting point. However, if you feel high-level debate and negotiation is in your blood, maybe you should go to an advanced room to watch MUN masters at work to improve much faster. Take a few minutes to understand your objective can help you choose from between the different types of Model United Nations committees.

 

General Assembly

Delegates: Usually 40 – 400 delegates

Level: Beginner

Examples:

DISEC, SPECPOL, SOCHUM. These committees often deal with current events such as environmental disasters, refugees, human rights violations and the black market to name a few.

The amount you speak in these committees depends on how many proactive delegates there are. In most beginner rooms there aren’t more than 10 but it could be many more.

Advantages
A consistent set of topics, enough delegates in the room to speak or stay silent, a variety of countries to work with and many new people to meet.

Disadvantages

A slower learning curve if everyone is new, sometimes there are low levels of debate and a limited amount of time to speak.

 

Other UN Bodies

Delegates: Usually 30 – 60 delegates

Level: Beginners – Intermediate

 

Examples:

HRC, UNHCR, ECOSOC, UNODC, UNEP and many more…

The other UN bodies are similar to General Assembly committees both in size and that they are usually assigned to beginners. However, a DISEC or SPECPOL will almost never be an intermediate committee while a UNEP, WHO and other UN bodies might be assigned to intermediate delegates.

 Advantages
Other UN bodies are a diverse range of topics, enough delegates in the room to speak or stay silent, a variety of countries to work with and many new people to meet.

Disadvantages
A slower learning curve if everyone is new, sometimes there are low levels of debate and a limited amount of time to speak.

 

Regional Bodies and Specialized Committees

Delegates: 15 – 50 + delegates

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

 The most famous specialized committee is the United Nations Security Council. It is the most notable with 15 members, among them the P5 who have veto power. However, they are not the only ones. The African Union (AU), European Union (EU), ASEAN and NATO are notable examples of non-UN bodies who get simulated. The Rules of Procedure is similar to that of the GAs but they have different rules and mandates. Also, their issues would often not find themselves on the agenda of a UN GA.

Advantages

Specialized Committees are usually smaller and focus more on certain parts of the world. The level of delegates is often classified as intermediate.

Disadvantages

Issues are localized and sometimes very knowledge specific.

Crisis Committees

Delegates: 8-15 delegates

Level: Advanced

While not usually recommended for beginners, Crisis is not inherently an advanced MUN committee. A regular Model UN committee focuses on passing a resolution on a given topic. In crisis, many spontaneous decisions are made in the form of directives which change the general story, which requires the participants to react to spontaneously changing situations.

 

Advantages

Crisis utilizes extemporaneous speaking, charisma, creativity, the ability to respond quickly and think outside of the box.

Disadvantages

Crisis isn’t always research-based and lack structure and can be harder if you’re not used to quick thinking.

Legal Committees

Delegate: 15 – 40

Level: Advanced / for delegate with legal knowledge

Legal committees are usually preferred by law students but not limited to them. Legal committees, such as the ICJ, ICC or 6th GA can function like regular MUN committees but can also function like courtrooms, or moot court.

Advantages
Can be very informative, be good practice for aspiring lawyers and can sometimes teach in-depth legal terminology. 

Disadvantages
Can be seen as too rigid or structured. A lot of time can be spent writing legal documents. Less room for creativity or negotiation, due to pre set legal structure.

 

 

Press Corps

Delegate: No fixed size

Level: Changes per conference

Often considered a supportive element of a MUN and not an official committee, the Press Corps is a good place if you want to watch the committees from the outside with a critical eye and then report on them. The Press Corps often reports to an editor in chief and can sometimes give  

Advantages
More flexible work environment, the ability to write without pressure and sometimes deadlines and a beat similar to those experienced by real journalists.

 Disadvantages
There aren’t any speeches, negotiation or simulation of any kind. Sometimes there are also no awards.


Admin Staff

Level: No prior experience required

Some participants want to be part of the conference, or observe, without any real role. If you are looking for no responsibility beyond note passing than maybe an Admin is the right role for your first conference. Also, while you don’t gain the MUN skills you would through delegating, you still have the chance to make many new friends.

Advantages
You get to observe the MUN as close as you want to without any real stake, responsibility or pressure to perform.

Disadvantages
You practice and gain none of the skills that Model UN professes to teach, unless you are able to learn through observation.

 

Secretariat

If you are a doer and want to help build the MUN, but don’t want to do the MUN part maybe the organization is the place for you.

Unbeknownst to many ffirst-timers you can participate in MUN without doing MUN. Whether it’s taking care of the classrooms, lunches or socials, a role on the Secretariat might be the right fit for you. However, to do that, you’d need to be part of the conference organization team when work on the conference begins and long before chairing and delegate applications open.

 Advantages
Months of work experience working in real time event management to help insure the happiness and success of everyone at the conference.

 Disadvantages
You don’t developing most of the skills one does through doing MUN or really do anything related to MUN aside from giving others the place to do it.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer. For some its best to jump into an advanced committee and learn from the experts from a trial by fire. Others would prefer to start slow and grow as feels right. Some MUNers have a clear goal in mind while others want to feel it out. What is most important is coming with an open mind and a willingness to try new things and meet new people. If you do that, every MUN will be a good one, even if you only catch your stride by your third conference.

Advanced MUN Courses

Subscribe To The HelpMyMUN Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from the HelpMyMUN team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!