Presentation on theme: "THE INS AND OUTS OF CRISIS AT MUN CONFERENCES A guide to making sense of your dais and committee."— Presentation transcript:
THE INS AND OUTS OF CRISIS AT MUN CONFERENCES A guide to making sense of your dais and committee.
YOUR DAIS The Chair and Vice-Chair(s): These are the people responsible for moderating the debate. They’re going to assess you on your debate skills, as well as whether you respond to their attempts to fuel the discussions. Remember that a crisis committee doesn’t mean you should spend four sessions on a specific issue that arose involving three or four delegates. Much like GAs and ECOSOCs, the more topics you discuss and the more resolutions you pass, the more content your dais is. The Crisis Director and Assistant Crisis Director: Those people operate behind the curtains. They know what’s going on in the room but what they really watch out for is what you do under the table. What they’re looking for in a delegate is the ability to develop long term plans and take advantage of the situation as well as portfolio powers.
HOW THIS WORKS While you’re in committee, two things are simultaneously happening: -You’re debating: this means enforcing your positions, building opinion blocs, trying to pass resolutions… All the usual MUN shenanigans. -You’re communicating with Crisis: this includes securing alliances, moving your assets, reaching out to 3 rd parties… In other words, serious under-the-table stuff. Keep in mind that you should always try to address crisis indirectly: this is a simulation, stay in character. For example, let’s say you want to release a press communique, address it to the person or institution hypothetically responsible (i.e. the White House Press Secretary if you’re in the US Government). Similarly, if you want to meet with a 3 rd party not represented in the room, e.g. a country not present at the UNSC, send a letter asking for meeting.
GENERAL BEHAVIOUR The small nature of Crises committees makes it easy for two major things to happen which you should avoid at all costs: -Not voting – when you’re busy writing notes, you are likely not to be paying attention to the proceedings in the room, especially if it’s voting that’s taking place. Remember that no abstentions are allowed when voting on procedural matters, and it is incredibly frustrating for a Chair to have to recount the votes or in any case feel like they’re not being listened to. -Chatting – do not make the mistake of thinking that you can start discussing with delegates sitting next to/across from you since you’re in a small, enclosed environment. Unless in an unmoderated caucus, this is a breach of decorum and will not be appreciated by your Chair. The same thing goes for snarky comments muttered under your breath or appreciative ahms and ehms.
SPEAKING Speak during the first session. This short session is usually to set the context and create somewhat the environment your committee will be evolving in over the next few days. It is rare for something important to happen in the committee room on Thursday night, so take this opportunity to raise your placard and get your voice out there. Don’t be afraid of making a blanket statement the first time you speak. The few first things that are said will often set the mood for the rest of the committee. It’s also great for you to show the Chair that you’re ready to engage with the debate from the beginning, and that you’re looking to get as much out of the experience as possible. Don’t get threatened by delegates who speak more loudly or more boldly than you. Remember that the Chair looks out for quality, not decibel level. Furthermore, try not to use the Right of Reply whenever feeling attacked by another delegate. Crisis committees often get heated, but Right of Reply will rarely lead to constructive debates and as such Chairs aren’t too keen on it. Of course, feel free to use it if is appropriate, it remains a resource for you in debate.
RESPONDING TO CRISIS Crisis will often have personal crises planned for every delegate in the committee to either challenge delegates or give them an opportunity to become a part of the flow of things in case they’ve had trouble getting included so far. Either you should never take this personally, rather as an opportunity to shine! Here is the tip: if you get a note from crisis with some news relating specifically to your portfolio, don’t ignore it. Not only are you losing an opportunity to become a more active part of your committee, but you’re also risking the situation becoming worse, e.g. a domestic uprising turning into a full-fledged revolution. Furthermore, your behaviour implies that you don’t really pay attention to Crisis, which not only calls into question your interest for Crises committees, but also doesn’t give any points with Crisis overall. On another basis, try to remember that murder is not the only way to deal with another delegate. It is very challenging to deal with logistically, and there are a hundred more creative ways to carry out your plans: Crisis loves innovation and thinking out of the box.
TIMED AND BLACKOUT CRISES A Timed Crisis means that you will have a given amount of time to come up with, and pass, a directive. If you fail to do so, Crisis is likely to change the stakes of your committee by throwing something major your way. A Blackout Crisis implies a complete cut in communications. It can happen as an arbitrary decision made by Crisis, or can be logical in the framework of your committee: e.g. a weather event. Similarly to the timed crisis, a blackout aims to spur the delegates to pass a directive and hence get the committee moving forward. Whereas you can still make use of Crisis (although to a lesser extent) during a Timed Crisis, a Blackout Crisis takes that option away which means your only resources to try and pass/sign a directive or generally get things moving are the other delegates in the room.
YOUR RESEARCH Whether your are an individual or a county, your research for crisis should not focus only on your positions and the ideals you’re supposed to embody. You should be well aware of your capabilities and resources. As an individual, this includes existing alliances, family members, assets such as wealth or real estate (among others). As a country, this refers to knowledge about the institutions you have access to, such as intelligence services but can also comprise satellites, foreign bases, national legislature, even your population! Important in Crisis is also research on other delegates. The best ammunition sometimes comes in the information you have available to discredit other characters/countries and their positions. However, be careful not to become too caught in semantics/unimportant details: you risk coming across as spiteful and your Chair will most likely not be impressed. Furthermore, while calling delegates out on blatant violation of their supposed positions (e.g. the USA becoming communist) can benefit you, remember that this is mostly the realm of the Chair and as such try not to encroach on their territory.
CONSTRUCTING YOUR OWN PLAN When reading the Background Guide for your committee, you should be able to take out a general theme/overarching idea for the way your crisis will develop: use this to construct a long term plan which you can incrementally implement throughout the weekend. This will show your commitment to the crisis in general, allow you to consider the broader implications of the situations you’re dealing with (hence making a comparison to real world events easier), as well as make you stand out as a delegate with a vision and the capacity to think ahead. This should of course not take over the smaller, more time intensive problems you will have to solve as dealt by crises or other delegates, nor should it prevent you from taking part in debate and trying your best to be an influential speaker.
NOTE BASICS WRITE YOUR NAME. It is extremely frustrating not to know who a note is coming from. Not only this, but your note is very likely to get forgotten or tossed if there is no name, because it is practically impossible to answer it without knowing who is at the other end of the line. Write whether your note is going to Crisis or to the Chair or to a delegate. This will help the staffers in not having to hover over your shoulder, waiting for the right moment to ask you who you meant to send the note to. Furthermore, if by chance your note gets passed to the head of the table, an unmarked piece of paper will probably get forgotten there and never actually get sent in to Crisis. Re-use the same note. This helps crisis a lot in knowing what you’re talking about, as well as knowing what they’ve previously agreed to. If there’s no more space on it, include the original folded into the new one. If you’re sending a note back to another delegate, don’t assume the staffer knows who sent it to you in the first place, so clearly address it back to the other person.
YOUR FIRST NOTE Your first note should NOT be something along the lines of: - What is my stock inventory? - Who are my allies right now? - What are my portfolio powers? Ideally, your first note should show that you’ve done your research into both the committee and your portfolio, and that you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You know who you are, you know what you want, and you have an idea of how to get it. You want to come off to crisis as a delegate who’s ready to start playing ball. However, don’t get too specific right away either. Both you and crisis need a small adaptation lag in the beginning of the first session to get the ball rolling. Take your time and do small things at first. Don’t go asking for 20000 troops to get moved to North Korea 10 minutes into the crisis.
THE NOTES YOU SHOULD NEVER SEND A note you’ve already sent. If you’ve asked for something and it hasn’t happened, don’t pester Crisis. It’s not happening because they have something else planned, or because it’s inconsequential for both you and the overall Crisis. Asking again doesn’t give you any points. You’ll be known as that delegate who won’t let it drop, and that’s not a good rep to have in the crisis room. A note asking for general information. E.g. if you’re the US government, don’t ask for a report from the CIA. Or if you’re a Roman senator, don’t send out scouts with no purpose. Best case scenario, you’ll get a crumb of information that won’t really help you that much. Worst case scenario, the CIA will rebel or your scouts will die. If you want some information, it has to be specific and you need to ask for it specifically. No one in the crisis room will write you a 4000 word report on what your information channels have been able to collect.
DON’T GET OVERWHELMED On top of running the committee, your Dais is also here for you. Don’t hesitate to go up to them if you have any questions, concerns, fears… Never forget that SSUNS is first and foremost an educational experience, and as such be sure to make use of the resources available to you. If you’re uncomfortable speaking up in committee, whether because of fear of public speaking or because you don’t feel like you belong in the given crisis, talk to your Chair and Vice-Chairs. They can only try to indirectly help you until you go up and actually ask for help. Once you make that step, they’ll gladly try and accommodate you. You’ll be showing your commitment and dedication and making them feel validated. The same thing goes with Crisis. If you feel like you’re having trouble communicating with them or you’re not sure as to how to use the opportunities presented by Crisis, go up to your Chair and ask to talk to Crisis. They’ll be more than happy to help you out and give you a few pointers. Remember that your Head Delegate and Faculty Advisors also have lines of contact to the Secretariat, so don’t hesitate to bring any outstanding issues to them. SSUNS is your experience. Don’t let it be ruined: speak up if you have any problems!