How to Win Best Delegate in MUN Without Sponsoring a Resolution
To win the Best Delegate award, you have to show the Chairs, the admins, other delegates and everyone else involved that you are the best overall delegate in the committee. Participating in a Model United Nations conference has many benefits for the participants. The skills learned and the people met in itself are well worth the time and effort. However, there is no denying that for many, Model UN is a competition. Awards are given out at most conferences. Moreover, many schools like to show the higher-ups at their academic institutions that all the money spent, and time required, paid off with prestige and academic institutions. Additionally, many students want to have another achievement to put on college resumes.
The best delegate award is the most coveted individual award at a Model UN conference. Winning it usually means that the delegate has been on top of their game for the entire conference from opening speech to final roll call vote. From drafting resolutions to giving speeches, the winner of the best delegate award is considered the gold medalist of a Model UN conference. But what if you aren’t able to sponsor a resolution? Is there any hope to get the Best Delegate award? Is there any other way to do it? Doesn’t a Model UN conference revolve around resolutions? It is true that the eventual outcome of a conference is the solutions presented in the resolutions. After all, the whole event is organized to create solutions to pressing global issues.
There are different reasons why a delegate may not get to sponsor a resolution:
- A delegate may not have had a good enough idea for one.
- A new delegate may not have reached a resolution in time.
- A good speaker and coalition worker may be bad at writing resolutions.
- A good delegate may sometimes get pushed out of higher echelons because others feel threatened by their ability.
- Some delegates are simply observer members or NGO delegates with no voting power.
So, how can a delegate in one of those situations win Best Delegate? It is possible. With the right amount of skill, diplomacy and effort. It is not easy but it is possible.
When you can’t write well
If you haven’t yet mastered resolution writing, you can still get involved. This is especially important early on when speeches have more of in impact than finely written clauses. Before a draft resolution is submitted and accepted, there are usually working papers being constructed, amended and submitted. Working papers are less formal and easier to introduce than a draft resolution. You do not need sponsors so you can tackle this by yourself if you must. If you are creating a working paper by yourself, or with a small number of countries, you will be able to move quickly.
When you draft a working paper, focus not on the topic in its entirety but on one of two solid policy ideas. Create a few well-written clauses that deal with specific issues surrounding the topic. If they are good clear solutions, you will capture other delegates’ attention. A good idea with momentum can get the attention of the various blocks. If you can get the room to discuss your topic, and the blocks choose to merge with you, you can “allow” them to rewrite your clause in the proper Model UN resolution format. When resolution sponsors come to you to either include you as a sponsor, or take your ideas, you will know that you stepped up to the next level in the game. With either option, you have now become a more significant player in the diplomatic game and a good Chair will recognize this. If the resolution with your aparted clause passes with a majority, and your non-writing work is essential, the credit for the clause will got o you even if you didn’t write it giving you a shot at best delegate.
When you have no clauses during the draft stage
Another delegate may have done a better job with your clause idea. It is possible the committee discussion floated away in a completely different direction from what you prepared. Perhaps, for whatever reason, you did not prepare for the resolution stage at all. Whatever the reason, there are still ways to get back into the game.
When no block has a majority
With three or more blocks, it is very likely that no side has a majority. This is your chance to get in there and bridge the gap between the opposing blocks. For this to work you need to be both vocally instrumental and be seen moving back and forth between the blocks. Remember that just because the two are groups are in opposite blocks does not mean that their draft resolutions are that far apart from one another. If you orchestrate the merger, even if you didn’t write the clause, you are still the one who can take credit for averting gridlock.
If you see gridlock but are not sure how to bring them together, look at your notes and remember your research. Sometimes, the only way is forward with new ideas. Something you need to look backward and consult your research binder, which should contain a wealth of information for you to use.
You can also use the pressure to merge before some other blocks get together to your advantage. Can you find areas of agreement between the two blocks? Recall all the skills you learned in our article about Negotiation and get to work.
Bridging the Gap
To bridge the gap, find out who the spokesperson or leader seems to be for each block. Build rapport with both of them. They will be busy maintaining their block and could appreciate help that does not threaten their position as block leader. Once both block leaders trust you, offer ideas for compromise. Only after they both agree to the merger, more or less, should you bring the sides to meet? How this is done should be done on a case by case basis, as you do not want to make yourself irrelevant to the process. However, if the block leaders are grateful, they will mention you in their speeches. Also, bringing you to a higher place in the new coalition could be a way for them give take attention off of a close rival within the same bock.
When a block looks to have a majority
If you know you will not get a majority and can see this well in advance, it is time to plan for a final move that could still get you the best delegate. The first thing to do is gain the moral high ground. This can be seen in our article about winning best delegate for strategies about how to lose gloriously and our article about how to stay diplomatically relevant without a majority. Along with both of these, you want to try and do the following.
Think before you rip the main resolution apart
It is true that loudly pointing out the errors and inconsistencies in the other document will get your attention. However, before you consider losing gloriously, and tearing into the strongest resolution in the room, consider whether this will actually help your case. You are trying to become the best delegate so doing anything that can be perceived as breaking with the spirit of the conference will not help your case if it is not warranted. If the resolution you are considering ripping apart is actually a good one, created after a long weekend of work, then maybe you should not do this. Nobody will be on your side if you rip apart a resolution just because you weren’t a part of its creation. You will look like a sore loser.
On the other hand, not all resolution are great. If there are so many individuals involved in the process, and the pressure of reaching an overwhelming majority a can be so great, that often many clauses are thrown together just to reach an agreement. In that case, know that many of the signatories, or even sponsors, are not as invested and simply agreed to reach the numbers. Also, some of the sponsors will feel pushed aside in the supermerge. Between the disenfranchised and the less involved signatories you may have a majority to support your attack on the document even if would also have passed after closure of debate. When the makeup of the room look something like this, feel free to take it down.
Before entering resolution assassination mode,, you need to make sure you do your research. Go through the resolution clause by clause beforehand and make detailed notes about what is wrong with it. While you are doing this, also come up with feasible solutions for each clause and write those solutions down. They will be needed later.
Ways to rip a resolution apart
Content – Have the moral high ground
– If a resolution came together that has obvious grounds for moral objection you should exploit that. An example could be the expansion of genetically modified crops in developing countries to help combat hunger. While nobody will argue with combating hunger, many will object to GM crops. You can make the point that using GM crops without knowing the long-term health consequences is irresponsible. Point out that GM crop use usually benefits large corporations and sow the idea that countries are getting kickbacks from these corporations. Have a few less active players echo this and the resolution will move forward with a bad taste.
– You may gain some supporters along the way through the moral high ground tactic. If you receive notes after making a speech, write back to them. When you have your next break, or unmod, meet with those delegates and discuss voting in the minority with them as one voice.
– Though you are surrounded by intelligent people, sometimes they miss something important in the process of drafting resolutions. Just because a clause is well written and solves a problem does not mean it is necessarily legal.
For example: If a resolution revolves around a clause that bans overfishing in certain areas of the sea, but the area included encroaches on and trespasses a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), then it is illegal.
– Look for technicalities such as this throughout a draft resolution. If you see them, keep them close to the chest and wait for the right moment to point them out. Ideally, this would be close enough to voting to take them by surprise but not too close that they could try to ignore it and plow through.
– Is what the draft resolution and majority block asking for even reasonable? Is a resolution calling for too much of each member countries’ GDP? When the goals of a draft resolution are significantly unreasonable, they should be your focal point.
Save the resolutions you destroyed
Remember earlier when we asked you to make notes on potential ways to solve all of these issues? Now is where you need those notes. Taking a resolution apart is one thing, but if you don’t present solutions for the destroyed draft then you are just a jerk. Once the unmods resume, you should use your new position, and minority block, to start offering significant substantive changes while the sponsors work on the technicalities and feasibility. Even if you did not bring about all the changes, during the next round of speeches you can take credit for what makes the resolution passable. The best delegate is the one who brings about a better world, and as the critical prosecutor turned uniting hero, you need to present solutions for every part you just destroyed. Best delegates are builders, not destroyers. Use your position to offer ideas to improve on the issues and, as a full partner, help your resolution pass with a comfortable majority.
You may be a new delegate or a veteran. You may not be the best at writing resolutions or you may be so good that you get pushed out by the upper echelons. None of that matters. In a fair MUN committee any country in any committee can potentially get the Best Delegate award. Sometimes it will take some extra work and negotiation skill, but you can accomplish your goals.
Also remember, while the resolutions are the final result of a Model UN conference, they are the final stage of a multi step process. Working papers must be written, draft resolutions submitted and reviewed, speeches will be made, and votes will take place. While our strategy above focuses on the writing stage, your significant contribution does not have to happen there and can come sooner. Every step in the MUN process presents an opportunity for you to get in there, take charge, and make sure even when you aren’t the initial instigator of an idea, you still bring something unique that is attributed to you.