- Ignore the Delegate Guide and Handouts– Basic information are usually included in the guide; rules of procedures, topic introduction, Dais information, these are all information that you can use to your advantage. The Delegate Guide will be your starting point. Organizers usually give a background guide for all topics that will be discussed during the conference. Not reading the Delegate Guide is a big mistake for both Newbies and Veterans.
- Ignore FREE training– Model UN Conferences that are organized by schools usually provide basic training at least 4 weeks before the start of formal sessions. In the College of Saint Benilde, we allot 3 training sessions for the Delegates. Recently, I heard that they had a separate MUN Conference for freshmen two months before the big Conference. Last year, VMUN had 5 training sessions before the real conference. Why is it a mistake not to attend training? In training, you do practice simulations. For Newbies, you need to see how a simulation looks like before the real conference. Attending training for a conference also gives you an opportunity to network with your co-delegates. You can already come up with strategies weeks before the Conference.
- Becoming a passive delegate during formal session– This is a very common mistake for Newbies. How do we define a passive delegate? Passive delegates simply listen to everyone during formal sessions. Passive delegates do not interact with their co-delegates during all Phases of the MUN. They only stand up or go out when they need to use the restroom. The only time you hear them talk is during ROLL CALL. When I ask “passive delegates” to actively participate I always hear them say “I just want to observe this year so I know what to do for next year”. For Newbies, you can avoid becoming a passive delegate if you read the Delegate Guide and attend training. You will not have fun if you become a passive delegate! Passive delegates will always see MUN as either boring or complicated because they make it that way. Do NOT make this mistake. It’s a waste of time, money and space if you become passive during formal session.
- Believing everything you hear from a MUN Veteran – This is a dangerous or perhaps a tactical move by Veterans. Not everything you hear is true. Veterans can compel you to vote for his/her Resolution paper. By simply doing your own research, you may be able to confirm if the statements of the Veterans in your conference is indeed true.
- Copy Pasting articles – Plagiarism is a big thing in Model UN. Newbies often think they can get away with plagiarism. They probably think that we don’t read their policy papers. Back in CSB MUN 2009, I was presiding over the Economic and Social Council and I received a text message from one of the staff in the General Assembly who reported that a group of Delegates copied an entire UN resolution and passed it as their own working paper. Plagiarism happens.
Big thanks to Thomas Chua who contributed to this article! Thomas has expressed his interest in contributing regularly to the blog. So, watch out!