How to MUN

Know-hows – Opening Speech

 

The time once will come in every diplomat’s life, when they are asked to hold such a speech. Firstly, it’s crucial to be aware of the definition itself. What is an opening speech? In a paper, it is a formal text, which is meant to summarize a country’s policy and prognosticate its future manner regarding the issues discussed. Verbally, it’s a speech filled with emotions and power, delivered in a way that it shall represent a country’s whole population, its leaders, and interests. Because of the aforementioned reasons, it’s definitely something a diplomat should put time and sweat into.

 

First of all, according to the Rules of Procedure the house and the presidency have to be addressed. This part sounds very obvious, but at the moment you’re standing in front of hundreds of people and you’re even unable to take a breath with the lovely butterflies in your stomach it will not sound so. These will be your first words, which will determine, whether the audience will pay attention to you or not, so be powerful, confident, calm and which is the most important, say the magic words: “Honourable presidency and fellow delegates, most distinguished guests etc..”

 

Even though you should speak English during all the sessions, it’s allowed to greet the audience in your represented country’s official language. If your country has typical outfit or ideology, then feel free to use them. Starting a speech like “in the name of the mighty Mao Zedong” or such might lower the stress and make the fellow delegates smile, which is a good thing because you’ll get their attention via no major effort.

 

The keyword for an overwhelming opening speech is pretty simple: Balance. The balance between being funny and being boring, between being fast and being slow and between saying too much and saying too little. In the rest of your speech, you should give a general statement about your country’s interests, wills, and expectations regarding the whole conference. Try to be special. It’s really boring if all the ambassadors say the same formal and general things. Try to be more factual, but don’t go into detail. Since the opening speech shall not exceed the time limit of 1:30 minutes, the beginning remarks have to be as short as possible in order to have time for other, a little more detailed statements.

 

If there are issues on the agenda of which your country is affected by a great deal, then say provocative, concrete and creative ideas which should, of course, represent your country’s interests. After finishing your speech, thank the audience and yield the floor back to the presidency, since you’ll only be asked questions after your group of 5 has finished the speeches It’s good if you deliver your speech by heart, but if you don’t feel confident enough don’t be afraid to look down on your paper for the next sentence. Assess your capabilities, act according to them and remember: balance and be well prepared.

– How to write your position paper

 

  1. What is a ‘position paper’?

The position paper is a brief summary of the point of view on the committee’s topic of your country. It reflects the main aspects of the topic and also the involvement and position of the represented country. It helps the delegate to become a well-prepared participant with a deep insight into the affected issue. It is necessary to make a wide research on the topic in order to write a summary so it requires delegates to spend the time to know the topic even if they have a complete and complex solution of the problem.

 

  1. What should it contain?

Generally, position paper answers to 4 questions:

– What are the different aspects of the problem?

– What has already done in order to solve the problem?

– How much is your country involved? What is your country’s standpoint?

– What can be a possible solution?

 

  1. How to find the necessary information in order to answer the question?

If you would like to become a “best delegate”-nominee you have to know your country in general. There is the best website where you may find any necessary information:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

It also can be helpful if you visit the represented country’s Embassy in your country or just even look through its website.  If you study your country’s history, you will get a general idea about its relation with other nations which are also inevitable in order to find your allies and enemies quickly in your committee.

Here are some useful pages to research your topic:

www.un.org

www.bestdelegate.com

www.globalissues.com

www.globalpolicy.org

 

Usually, you may find interesting articles about any kind of global issue in the world press. You should definitely try to check BBC, CNN. Your specific committee probably has some other world press (e.g. The Financial Times/The Economist for ECOFIN/ECOSOC) Google is your friend; do not forget Him/Her! International steps taken towards to solve the given issue: You can search on the UN website for previous resolutions (and probably you will find tons), also international frameworks, agreements, treaties can be taken. May I suggest you the library to use?

 

There are two different options: your country may be involved directly or indirectly. If your country is directly involved you can easily find its official point of view. In the case of indirect involvement and after the long research on different aforementioned websites, check out the allies and enemies of your country and their involvement and (flourish of trumpet) you have a point of view thanks to the wonders of the globalization.

 

4. How should it look like

Officially it is a formal document with formal language. It can be helpful if you have to deliver a speech and you are a bit unprepared at that very moment. In some conferences, position papers are published before the conference’s start so each delegate has an opportunity to find allies and similar thread. So take it formally, no longer than 2 pages, and try to focus on the main parts of the problem! Have fun with your preparation!

 

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