The Six-Day War, drug trafficking in Latin America, the different committees and of course Thailand all were topics we discussed during weekend workshops. In the six months before the conference, we met every Tuesday afternoon, but this was not enough. Tuesdays, we normally only managed to talk about organizational issues. So how can a group of students prepare for such a conference properly? Every student has free time on weekends, therefore the only option we had was to sacrifice some of our weekends to work hard for WorldMUN.
The underlying idea was to learn and practice for the committee work and at the same time to start the teambuilding-process. At our first weekend in December 2007, we simulated a meeting of the Historical General Assembly. The topic was the Six-Day War and everyone was assigned a different country to represent.
I have to say – representing Israel was exhausting! During this simulation, our delegates mainly practiced the Rules of Procedure. If you were discussing the issue and the moderator said, “Are there any point or motions on the floor?” and a delegate answered “Motion for an unmoderated caucus for 20 minutes in order to discuss the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied territories during the war”, how would you react? The Rules of Procedure are of the highest importance and crucial for the understanding of this conference. Without knowing them, you cannot even get the chance to speak. In the beginning of our simulation, it was difficult to maintain a fluent discussion, but in the end our delegates started to comprehend the concept. Moreover, spontaneous speeches had to be made and rhetorical impact on the audience had to be practiced. Delegates started to get confident and finally, what was only bits and pieces became a draft resolution. Committee work usually begins with some opening speeches, then goes into several moderated/ unmoderated caucuses on different aspects and then the first document, a working paper, is handed out. The same procedure is repeated, the second document to be introduced being a draft resolution. Then, draft resolutions are merged and plenty of amendments are made, so that in the end there is one comprehensive and strong resolution.
These procedures we trained during our next weekend in March 2008, where we debated about drug trafficking within the Organisation of American States. Furthermore, every delegate had to present his work and research for his committee, also, presentations on general Thailand-related topics were held. For research and further explanation of the sequence of events during a week in committee the whole Saturday was reserved. Students who had attended the WorldMUN conference the year before shared their experiences with us. By now, our delegation started to conceive the concept of the whole conference.
All in all, the hard work during these weekends was an important prerequisite for successful participation at WorldMUN. Not only content, research, speeches, debates and documents were of highest importance, but the most crucial aspect was that by doing all this work together, teambuilding took place. We ate together, laughed together, discussed together, woke up together and saw our effort turn into results together.