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When attending a Model United Nations (MUN), delegates need to submit an essay before the conference. This document is known as a position paper and covers your country’s main position on the topic being debated at MUN. Writing a strong position paper for MUN is the first step to being a best delegate!
The advantages of writing a great position paper for MUN is that you can get a good understanding of your committee and topic, as well as your MUN country and its main foreign policy objectives. Submitting a great MUN position paper gives you a strong foundation of knowledge when you attend the MUN conference itself.
When writing your position paper for MUN, there are several steps you should follow. We’ve broken them down…
Research Your Country
Once you know which country you want to pick for the Model United Nations, the first thing you need to do for your position paper is to research the country. It’s important you have a good understanding of your country, it’s political structure and its general role in international relations. This is crucial for writing a great MUN position paper.
There are many ways to research your MUN country for your position paper. A great resource for general information is the CIA World Factbook. You can also use internet sources such as Wikipedia and the country’s government websites to get a good general understanding of your MUN country for your position paper.
Once you have a good general overview of your MUN country for your position paper, you now need to research its position on the global stage. Look for issues your MUN country leads on, what major UN and international bodies it is a part of and what alliances or foes it may have. Its important when writing a position paper for MUN to understand the international relations context of your MUN country.
The aim of conducting strong research on your MUN country before you write your position paper is so that you are able to show how your country relates to the specific topics and issues that will be debated in MUN. By understanding the wider geo-political context of your MUN country, you are better able to understand it’s position in international diplomacy and therefore write a strong MUN position paper.
Understand the Committee
To write your MUN position paper you need to know about the committee you are attending. Different UN committees deal with different topics and have different aims. When developing your position paper for MUN you need to know what your committee does and doesn’t cover, as well as the general role your committee plays in the wider UN.
It’s also important when writing your position paper for MUN that you have knowledge of the main international players related to your committee and their stances on major issues. For example, if you are attending a Security Council session it is important to know what other countries are on the UN Security Council and where they stand on the big issues the committee is debating.
Another key area you need to understand in relation to your committee for your MUN position paper is the historical resolutions it has passed. You can research the resolutions adopted by different committees through the UN online Having good knowledge of what your committee has passed and the direction it is moving diplomatically is important when researching to write your MUN position paper.
Gain Knowledge of the Topic
The next step in writing your position paper for MUN is to build knowledge around the topic that your committee will discuss. Your MUN position paper needs to cover how your country relates to the committee topic and to outline this well you need a good understanding of the topic. To write a strong MUN position paper you should have a broad understanding of the wider issue your committee will discuss.
When researching your topic for your MUN position paper you should look at the historical, political and economic causes of the issue, as well as the key events that relate to it. You should also know who the major international players are related to the issue. Knowing these details will help you understand your own country’s position on the topic and this will help you write your MUN position paper.
Outline Your Country’s Relation to the Issue
Now that you have researched your MUN country, gained knowledge of your committee and understood the context of the topic, you can begin to write your MUN position paper. The first thing to include in your position paper for MUN is your country’s relation to the topic. Giving the Chair a good overview of how your country relates to the topic shows you have a good understanding of your MUN country and will be a strong delegate.
There are some important considerations when detailing how your country relates to the debate topic in your MUN position paper. These include:
- Is the committee topic especially important to your country? Why?
- What is the history of your country in relation to the committee topic?
- What alliances or international disagreements affect your country’s view on this issue?
- What successes and failures has your country seen in relation to the topic?
If you are writing your position paper for MUN and find that your country doesn’t closely link to the topic being debated, look for similar issues your country does relate to. You can also get inspiration from the positions taken by countries closely related to yours on the issue. This is another reason why good research on the committee and topic is crucial to writing the best MUN position paper.
Explain Your Country’s Stance on the Topic
Once you have laid out in your MUN position paper your country’s relationship to the topic, the next step is to detail your country’s stance on the issue. When writing your MUN position paper and explaining your country’s view on the topic, there are three main things to consider:
- What makes your country’s position on the topic unique?
- What previous actions has your country supported on this issue?
- What policies and resolution would your country like to see passed in relation to the topic?
By covering these three main areas in your MUN position paper you can outline your country’s main position on the topic. It’s important that the Chair can see from your position paper that you have good knowledge of where your MUN country stands on the specific issue the committee will debate.
Model United Nations Online Courses
If you want more information on the model United Nations, including how to write a position paper, we highly recommend the online short course The Complete MUN Masterclass. It’s a fantastic overview of the MUN system and shows how MUN events function. This online course is a must for anyone attending a model united nation. Click the link to be taken to the courses’ page to enrol.
If you want an introduction to the model UN and an overview of how it works, we think the MUN 101: Power Play & Rules of Procedures online course is fantastic. It goes step by step through how MUN works and gives the information participants need to succeed at the Model UN. Follow the link for more information on the course.
Most participants at MUN events want to eventually go on to have a career within the United Nations. If this is you, be sure to check out the United Nations Jobs Guide online course. It provides all the information needed to understand the UN recruitment system, which can be complex, as well as what you need to land yourself a UN job. Follow the link to enrol on the course.
Propose Your Resolution
Your position paper for MUN should conclude with an outline of the resolution your country will propose on the committee topic. A UN resolution is the action that will be taken to resolve the issue being debated. Your MUN position paper should detail what your country advocates for in relation to the topic and what outcome it wants to see.
Remember, your proposed resolution detailed in your MUN position paper needs to sit within the remit of the committee. This is why it’s important you research the committee’s role before you write your position paper. A good tip when developing your resolution is to look at pass resolutions the committee has passed in the real UN and use these as a basis in your MUN position paper.
It’s important that you do not commit to a single resolution outcome in your MUN position paper. Remember that MUN is about forming consensus with other countries to pass joint resolutions. Therefore, outline in your position paper the calls to action, red-lines and general direction you wish to move. You do not need to fully commit to a single view in your MUN position paper, more outline the general outcome your country wishes to see.
Structure and Format Your Position Paper Correctly
The final thing to consider when writing your position paper for MUN is the format. The MUN conference you are attending will usually issue guidance on the position paper format they expect, but there some general guidance that should be followed.
Position papers for MUN are usually around one page. Remember the Chair has a lot of position papers to review so make sure yours is direct and to-the-point. Write clearly and make your statements clear. Writing a position paper in less than one page can be a challenge, so be sure to edit for clarity and don’t include information that isn’t directly related.
When writing your position paper for MUM, the best way to structure it is to begin with more broad statements about how your country views the topic in general. You should then move on to your country’s specific relationship to the issue, before concluding with you’re the resolution you want to pass at MUN. This structure helps show the Chair your coherent understanding of your country and the issue in your MUN position paper.
Lastly, be sure to proof read your MUN position paper and check for any spelling or grammar errors!