United Nations Simulation

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United Nations Simulation
DesignerMirjam Heldmann and Frands Pedersen
TopicUnited Nations
OrganisationUniversity of Westminster
PreparationPrint & Play  |  2 weeks student preparation
TimeAnything from 3 hours to several days playtime
Archive of Simulations and Games for the Enhancement of the Learning Experience
The individual resources in this archive come from diverse sources. They have been brought together into this archive in a project supported by

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Negotiations at a Model United Nations conference (unmoderated caucus)

United Nations simulations give students an opportunity to step into the role of a UN ambassador. Each student (or group of students) will be acting as delegates representing a UN member states or a formally accredited INGO during a debate on a current issue. The aim of the debate is to reach a negotiated consensus on a written resolution. At the end of the simulation, whether or not a resolution text has been agreed, the students will evaluate the outcome of the simulation.

The simulation will help students develop their research, analytical, communications, and presentational skills, as well as their understanding of decision-making within the inter-governmental United Nations.

The simulation materials accessible from this page include guidance on how set up, to run or chair the session, and how to reach agreement on a resolution text. The instructor or lecturer may decide on the topic for negotiation. Contemporary issues that have caused a degree of controversy are ideal as they tend to lead the students to adopt clear and entrenched policy positions. The simulation format presented here is closely related to that of the Model United Nations. Collaboration with the local MUN-society has proved mutually beneficial in the past: students from the society tend to have a strong interest in the UN and the lecturer can help improve the knowledge of the society’s members.

In the UN simulation example on Iran’s nuclear capabilities presented here, collaboration was also established with students from the journalism department (watch or listen to the report University of Westminster UN conference simulation broadcast in the style of Al-Jazeera). Inter-disciplinary collaboration could also be established with, for example, students of law or economics.

Preparation and Timeline[edit | edit source]

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Around 2 weeks before the simulation takes place, students should be allocated their country and the topic should be given. Topics can range from a security, energy or human rights related issue, it can be related to an historical or a current event. This will leave students enough time to research their countries position on the topic and prepare themselves sufficiently. Depending on the size of the class more than one student can represent one country. It is advisable to have a week before the actual session about 30min where a copy of the rules of procedures are handed out to students and explained, and any questions answered.

Chair[edit | edit source]

The lecturer/module leader will be chairing the debate (unless this task is delegated to a third person). He or she will also ensure participants adhere to the rules of procedure and keep their interventions within the agreed time limits. Placard: If more than one delegate represent one member state/country they should sit together and have a placard with their member state/country name visible in front of them. This placard will be needed and raised every time a delegate wishes to speak and for voting procedures.

Time allocation[edit | edit source]

Independent of how long the simulation is overall (this may vary from 3 hours up to a couple of days or a whole week), around 50% of time should be calculated for each delegate (an individual or a group) to present their country's position (in a 5min short presentation in front of the class) followed by formal debate (speakers list, moderated caucus and unmoderated caucus). The other 50% should be calculated for an unmoderated caucus (of for example 20min duration) that gives delegates time to draft their first resolutions on the floor and submit them to the chair (time of the unmoderated caucus can be extended if it seems useful and delegates are for example close to finishing a draft resolution). From this point onwards there will be no more debate but rather the process of moving from draft resolution writing and amending to getting one final resolution (or more) to vote for. 5min should be given in the beginning for every delegation to represent their countries position on the topic. This gives them the opportunity to get started in case they are nervous about the rules of procedure or public speaking in general. Other delegates get the chance to find out possible partners to cooperate with in order to write a draft resolution during the second part of the session.

After the presentations are finished, a general speakers list is established. To add names to the speakers list, the chair will ask all delegates to raise their placard if they wish to be added to the list. This list cannot be exhausted. If it ever happens to be exhausted, the session is automatically over, even if no resolution has yet been voted on. The chair needs to make sure, that students are aware of this fact. During the session students can always send a note to the chair (a small piece of paper addressed to the chair) where they let him/her know that they would like to be added to the general speakers list. The chair determines the duration of the speeches during the general speakers list. Recommendable is something around 1-2min duration. The topic of the general speakers list is always the topic/question that was chosen for the debate.

Dresscode[edit | edit source]

On the day a formal dress code can be helpful for students to create a more official feeling than the usual classroom setting.

Resources[edit | edit source]

To print, click on resource and then click on Full resolution‎ . All participants need copies of each information sheet.

Procedural Rules Motion for Caucuses

Format of Draft Resolution & Sample Resolution
Preambulatory & Operative Clauses