Applying for MUN: The 411
So, you have decided you want to participate in TEIMUN, or any Model UN for that matter. This can be somewhat intimidating especially if it is your first time so congrats, you’ve taken the first step. Now that you have decided to plunge into the magical realm of MUN debating comes the big issue. What to apply for. As simple as it may seem, these four words are a big part of it all and will definitely influence your conference experience. Representing the United States will result in a very different experience than if you represented North Korea. Likewise, debating in the Human Rights council will not be the same as doing so in UNESCO. Every country, every council, every topic and every MUN are unique (sui generis for all my law cronies).
Having said this, it is also more than possible that you already knew this before. If so, my apologies, let’s go on. Now that we are all on the same page comes the million-dollar question. How do I get the country and council I want? This is a question I have been asked about a lot. There is nothing more disappointing than really pitching for a position and not getting it in the end, trust me, I’ve been there. As an MUN delegate myself for many years now and having been the Participants Coordinator of TEIMUN, allow me to take a short moment to (in an oversimplified manner) unearth the different types applicants all MUNs experience and give some tips on how to apply the right way.
Consider this a MUNer guide to getting what you want… (maybe not literally but at least when it comes to MUN selection procedures).
This might be your first time trying out debating, you are not very familiar with rules of procedure or maybe you are still not super confident with your public speaking skills. Overall, you would rather have a somewhat peaceful poker-faced position in a council. Here, I would recommend you look into the topics of each council and choose one that interests you. This will make researching on the issue and the position of different actors smooth and pleasant. When it comes to countries, go for countries with positions similar to others. Making sure you have more allies than enemies is key for a peaceful MUN experience. Finally, when applying, make sure you explain why those country choices fit you and your circumstances, participant coordinators will take it into account during allocations, especially previous MUN experience.
Hakuna Matata delegates
Sometimes you really want a specific country or council. Sometimes, you are just happy with participating and debating no matter what. It might be because you like all the councils, it might also be that you are open to what destiny (or PCs) will bring. Regardless, my advice is simple. Just – go – for – it, embrace your inner Forrest Gump. As a Hakuna Matata delegate MUN applications are “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. One thing here is worth mentioning, and that is: don’t be a nasty. If you honestly do not have a particular preference maybe don’t select the popular countries, you might be taking the spot from a hotspot or PF delegate.
If reading the description above made you frown and think “this is rubbish” then welcome, you are now in the right place. There are two ways through which you can classify as belonging to this club: one, you are one conference away from achieving the nationality of your all-time favourite country to represent. Regardless of the topic, you have a go-to country you love to be a delegate of. Your family and friends might be concerned but there are definitely unhealthier habits out there. On the other hand, you might also be an expert on the topic that a council will be debating, you have hundreds of ideas and know all the nitty-gritty details of the situation. For both, I would advise you to speak up. Be vocal about your expertise almost to the point of exasperation. Big emphasis in the ‘almost’. Please don’t give me a masterclass with your knowledge.
Not without my buddy delegates
Similar to Hakuna Matata delegates are the ‘not without my buddy’ type. For you, debating is fun, but it is more fun with a buddy. We get it, declaring war on someone feels different when your friends seconds your motion. TEIMUN in particular offered the buddy system before so in cases like these, there is not much you have to do to have your friend close during the conference. Nevertheless, it can also be the case that the conference you are participating in does not have this option. In that case, here is my advice: choose the same councils in the same order of preference and mention each other in your motivation letters. As another tip, maybe think about choosing countries that start with the same letter, this might be your chance of not only being in the same council but also only a placard away from each other.
Whilst there are obviously always exceptions, hotspot delegates have usually done MUN before. They read over the topic descriptions and want to go for those countries that are deep in the crux of the crisis proposed. You are a troublemaker ready for putting on a show. The problem here is: you are not the only one. If you think your choice is the coolest, chances are someone is going to feel the same way too. So, how do you get what you want: when faced with several people sharing preferences I immediately look at their motivation letter and previous experience. Your motivation letter should be your moment to shine, use it to convince us. Through it I can get a picture of your language proficiency, goals and personality, convince me you are the one.
If hotspot delegates already feel the pressure of competitiveness, let me introduce to you an intensified version of this: the P5 delegate type of applicant. Year after year, conference after conference and regardless of the topics debated, the applications for a P5 country within the Security Council will flood the applications list. Whilst this is the case for SC this can be very well applied for almost the entirety of councils in the MUN spectrum. China, USA, UK, France, Britain, and Russia will be, without a doubt, the preferred choice by many and a real dilemma for Participant Coordinators when it comes to allocations. Now, what will we look at in order to decide: it comes without saying that prior debating experience is something almost required, whilst in theory, this is not a rule set in stone, I can practically assure you this will be the case. As with hotspot delegates, we will carefully read your motivation letters so rather than seeing it as an unnecessary evil please take it seriously and make a persuasive speech out of it.
Overall, the MUN world remains an intricate ecosystem co-inhabited by us all, from smarty-pants to hakuna matata to fierce P5 delegates. Now that you know how to apply the right way, what is left is… apply and participate. Find yourself, find your style, keep debating.
– Alma Paunero Martorell, Participants Coordinator 2019 / 2020