Choosing the Right Committee
Judith Chen — Secretary-General 2019
November 23, 2018
Choosing the right committee for you
If you have ever scanned the committees page of a Model UN website, you may have felt overwhelmed by the number of committee options made available to you. Your eyes dash from NATO to WHO and from UN Women to JCC. As a student new to the Model UN scene, you may question how to choose a fitting committee that is “right for you.” In this article, we will help you tackle this question by breaking down the committees programme by skill level and field of interest.
What Interests You?
Every year, PacificMUN strives to create a diverse yet relevant list of committee topics. From “Political Influence of Women” to “International Labour Standards,” and from “The Epidemic of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Athletic Competitions” to “The Japanese Age of the Warring States,” there are usually at least a handful of topics that peak the interests of any delegate. As a delegate, identify which topics you are interested in exploring by reading over the topic overviews provided in each committees webpage and backgrounder.
Do not focus greatly on which “type” of committee is right for you. Rather, select your committee choices based on the topics and your interests. It is helpful to ensure that you are spending your weekend debating on issues that you are passionate about. Not only does this make your committee more enjoyable, but you will be able to learn and expand your knowledge on topics that you are interested in.
Who Do You Know?
As a rule of thumb, do not join a committee with your friends or classmates. Delegating with a large group of peers will often not yield the educational and social benefits of MUN as greatly. If you are a new delegate, however, you may find it helpful to join a committee with a more experienced friend who is able to guide and support you during committee sessions. Similarly, it may be beneficial to join a committee that is being staffed by a friend. If you are feeling adventurous but do not know anyone, still give it a try! The Dais is there to support and aid you in any way. Jumping out of your comfort zone will allow you to meet new people and experience new environments.
Special Notes on Committees:
General Assemblies (WHO, DISEC, LEGAL, ECOFIN, SPECPOL, SOCHUM)
General Assemblies (GAs) are usually, if not always, the largest committees found at a Model UN conference. GAs offer the most prevalent and least specialized topics, which causes many to label GAs as “beginner-level committees.” However, it is important to keep in mind the large delegate sizes that come with GAs. Since GAs at hotel conferences tend to host upwards of 70 delegates, many beginner delegates find it convenient to shy away from speaking. Oftentimes, beginner delegates will passively participate in GAs rather than actively, because they rely on their more experienced counterparts to control the discussion and move debate forward. Due to large delegate sizes, finding success in GAs can be a struggle for even the most experienced of delegates.
If you are an experienced public speaker and are not afraid of large crowds, a GA is the right fit for you! If not, have no fear. A GA is also a great place to observe the procedural and substantive expectations without feeling a consistent pressure to participate. One is also able to meet many others and create potentially lasting connections by joining a GA.
Although advanced committees are tailored towards experienced delegates, there is no harm in joining one as a novice delegate if you hold a high level of interest toward the topics and are unafraid of public speaking. Most advanced committees, such as NATO and UNSC, are small-sized, thus allowing delegates to speak more frequently and work more closely with their fellow delegates. As the title suggests, advanced committees are usually chosen by advanced delegates but it is still a great choice for less experienced delegates looking for a less aggressive and congested crowd.
Crisis committees are incredibly demanding and fast-paced. Thus, they require its delegates to be articulate, knowledgeable, and versatile. Many of the qualities that are needed of a successful crisis committee delegate are developed over time and depend on experience.
If you are extremely well-versed in the topic (ex: Cuban Missile Crisis), you may find yourself to be comfortable in the committee. Keep in mind, however, that you must still possess exemplary oratory and collaborative skills despite your knowledge of the topic. Overall, it is best to choose a crisis committee if you are seasoned delegate.
If you are completely unsure of what committee to choose, join a committee with your friends or whatever interests you most! In all, if you participate and are prepared, you will have a good time nonetheless. If you require further assistance, do not hesitate to email [email protected] or [email protected]