Chairs Guide to Evaluating Delegates MUN Position Papers

Like position paper format instructions are given to delegates, chairs are also given instructions by the Model UN Conference Secretariat on how to evaluate position papers. Chairing, from when you write the study guide until the closure of debate, is a sacred responsibility. Often, a chair needs to fill in their own gaps between the secretariats instructions and doing the job in real time.

While the secretariat may sometimes give very detailed instructions, sometimes it is up to each chair to decide how to give their feedback. To better understand the considerations regarding position papers, read the following instructions were given by an Under-secretary General of Chairing to their staff.

Dear Chairs,

As of this weekend all the registered delegates should receive their study guides. While a few delegates will still be getting allocations over the next week, most of them will have received guidelines for how and when to send position papers. The delegates are required to send the Position Papers to the committee email from the 20th – 26th of February. Any Position Paper received by the 26th before midnight should receive feedback from one of the chairs. You are not obligated to give feedback to papers received from the 27th onwards. Hopefully, you should get most or all of the papers before the deadline. Papers received after the 28th are not eligible for a best position paper award, as you may not have time to check them. Position Papers that are received after March 1st, or not at all, will make the delegate ineligible for an award.

In the position papers, we want to see that delegates show they understand (a) the topic (b) their countries positions and history and (c) the policies they propose to solve it / perpetuate it (if they are evil).

The Position Papers which arrive on time should get feedback. This does not need to be more than a few lines per topic. However, we do require you to tell the delegates if they did a good job or if they are lacking in one of the three sections mentioned above. You should also tell them what you want them to improve. In the feedback, where possible, please use examples from their text. To do this most effectively, divide the position papers amongst yourselves and return them when you can. You are not required to send feedback if the delegate sends you an improved position paper. Our main goal is for you to have prepared delegates in your committee, and a rewritten position paper generally indicates better preparation.

If anyone one would like more information on giving feedback or other questions relating to Position Papers, please let me know in a reply to this email.

Good Luck
USG Chairing

Not all MUN conference secretariat have this level of instruction to their chairs. Some have more, a few give online workshops about Position Papers and some give no instruction at all. However, in many cases, the feedback is left to a chair’s discretion, which means that the methodology of Position Paper feedback is up to each respective chair.

If your secretariat left you alone, giving feedback on the basics according to the guidelines at the beginning of this article is a good start. You can also give topic specific feedback, which uses examples of where more research or analyses can be used, based on what you wrote in your study guide.

Guiding Questions A Chair Should Answer When Writing Position Paper Feedback

Question for the Quality Position Paper

  1. Did the delegate reframe the topic to make the problem more relevant to them?
  2. Did they show their countries is related to the topic?
  3. Did they offer policies that can be passed in the resolution?
  4. Do these policies relate to their country’s position?
  5. Did the delegate use examples?
  6. Did the examples use information from your study guide?
  7. Does the Position Paper show research outside the study guide?

 Questions you hope don’t cross your mind

  1. Does the study guide look like it was copied off of Wikipedia, or some other online source?
  2. Is the paper so vague that I change the name of the country and it remains as “valid”?
  3. Was this delegate inebriated/intoxicated when they wrote this?
  4. Does the writer know what Model UN is?

Using these questions, and others,  you can give the delegate relevant to position paper examples, and instructions, for how to improve. It is sometimes useful to copy and paste sections of the study guide to help the delegates understand what to improve upon. A few good questions can result in a complete makeover of a position paper, and possibly a much-improved delegate as well.