Advisor's Welcome Letter

September 10, 2017

Dear Montana Model UN High School Advisors, 

Welcome to the 52nd Annual Montana Model United Nations (MMUN) High School Conference at the University of Montana. Last year, 350 students from 19 Montana and Idaho high schools attended the conference. On November 20-21, we look forward to seeing many returning schools and teachers and welcoming new ones. 

In this letter, we provide information on changes from past conference procedures for returning schools, plus complete details for new schools and advisors, and an overview of this year’s conference, including the schedule, topics, and registration and position paper deadlines. 

Information for New Schools and Advisors 

At Model UN conferences, students “represent” countries on UN committees such as the General Assembly and Security Council. Students learn about other countries, debate international issues, and develop research, writing, public speaking, and negotiation skills. The MMUN conference also introduces students to the UM campus and to UM students and faculty. For more information on the conference, please visit our website, http://www.cas.umt.edu/mun/hs-conference/default.php. 

If your school has never attended the conference, or if you have taken a break for several years, please contact Alexandria Preis, 2017 Secretary-General for External Affairs, at mtmodelun@gmail.com or at alexandria.preis@umontana.edu. Alexandria and her staff are ready to answer your questions and are available to offer in-person or Skype workshops to help you and your students prepare. 

Conference Schedule 

As usual, the conference will be held at the University of Montana on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving (November 20-21). This year, all events (including the opening\closing ceremonies) will be held on the third floor of the University Center. 

The conference will begin at 8:30 am on Monday with opening ceremonies and a keynote address. Students will then spend the rest of the day in their committees. On Monday evening, MMUN will hold a regional fair, in which your students will have the opportunity to meet with UM international students, MMUN staff, and representatives from organizations within the UM community. 

The conference will end by 5:00 pm on Tuesday with a Combined General Assembly, where resolutions passed by the GA Plenary and Security Council will be presented by delegates from those committees, and resolutions passed by the GA subcommittees (GA-1, GA-2, and GA-3) will be presented, debated, and voted on. The Combined GA will be followed by the closing ceremony, where the MMUN staff will announce delegate, country, and school awards. 

Committees and Topics 

We will simulate five committees: GA Plenary, GA-1, GA-2, GA-3, and the Security Council. Each committee will consider two topics. The topic list is posted on the MMUN website. Committee and topic background guides will be posted on the “Topic Guide” page of the website.

We will post Committee History and Structure guides for each committee in early September. The first topic guide for each committee will be posted around mid-September, and the second topic guide will be posted in early October.

Position Paper Deadline 

Two weeks before the conference (by 11:59 pm on Monday, November 6), each student must submit a position paper addressing both topics before his/her committee. Position papers must be formatted and written according to the instructions on the Delegate page of the website. Only students who submit position papers by the deadline will be eligible for awards. 

Resolutions 

Each committee room will have several computers for students to type their jointly-written resolutions. Students are welcome to bring their own computers as well. Resolutions will be submitted as Word documents to the committee staff via a committee email address. Typing will be allowed only when the committee is in unmoderated caucus. Computers, phones, and other electronic devices must be turned off at all other times. 

To ensure that each committee has time to fully debate each topic and resolution, chairs will ask students to combine similar resolutions. 

Communications 

To make it easier to track our communications with you, we have created an email address -- mtmodelun@gmail.com -- for advisor correspondence. Emails sent to that address will be checked by SG-E Alexandria Preis, who will endeavor to respond within several days. The faculty advisors and administrative assistant Dani McLaughlin will receive copies of all correspondence. 

Fees 

Delegate fees are $30 per student. School fees are $50 per school.

If you have students for whom the fee is prohibitive, please email their names to SG-E Alexandria Preis by 1 November. We have arranged scholarships to enable such students to attend for $20. 

Student and school fees cover one-half of the conference’s annual budget of $20,000. The other half is paid by University sources, including the College of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Office, the President’s Office, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Provost Office, ASUM, and the Department of Political Science. 

Registration, Payment and Position Paper Deadlines 

There are three steps to register for MMUN: 

  1. Initial Registration and Country Assignments: As soon as possible, but no later than October 1, please complete an initial registration form to let us know that your school will be attending the conference and to estimate the number of students you will bring. SGE Alexandria Preis will then email you your country assignments. If your numbers change, please email Alexandria to adjust your numbers so she can send you another country or reassign a country you are not using. To ensure that students have time to prepare for the conference, we will not assign countries after November 1.
  2. Student Roster and Payment: by November 1, submit your student roster and payment. To do so, please use the forms that will soon be posted on the Advisor Resources page of the MMUN website. As explained above, the school fee is $50, and the delegate fee is $30. 
  3. Submitting Position Papers: Position papers are due by November 6. Each student should submit his/her paper to his/her committee via the instruction on the Delegate page of the MMUN website. Students and country teams that do not submit position papers by the deadline will not be eligible for awards.  

Country Assignments 

This year, we will once again simulate four large (General Assembly) committees and one small committee (Security Council). Thus each country will have at least 4 and no more than 5 committee positions. To give your students a cohort with whom to prepare for the conference, please assign all of your country positions before requesting another country. 

In assigning students to committees, we encourage you to consider the following: 

  1. Because we have more schools than there are Security Council seats, returning schools are rotated so that, in general, they receive a Security Council seat three of every four years. If you receive a country with a seat on the Security Council, be sure to assign a student there and to think carefully about which student you assign. The Security Council works best with well-informed, articulate students. 
  2. The first 19 schools to register will receive one country from the "Group of 20" countries. The G-20 is not a UN committee but consists of 19 countries with large economies, plus the European Union. G-20 members account for 90% of global gross national product, 80% of world trade, and 2/3 of world population. We will let you know if one of your countries is a G-20 member. These, too, are prime slots that should be filled by students who are ready and willing to participate actively in formal and informal debates. 
  3. At the Combined GA Plenary, delegates to the GA Plenary will have the opportunity to make motions and speeches before the full 350-student conference. These students serve as their country’s ambassador or highest permanent representative to the UN. 

If you end up with more countries than you have students to fill, please notify SG-E Alexandria Preis as soon as possible so she can assign the extra countries to another school. It is especially important to alert us to unused Security Council slots. Thank you. 

Advisor Materials 

On the Advisor Resources page of the MMUN website,http://www.cas.umt.edu/mun/HSconference/advisorResources.cfm, we have posted a “Seven-Step Plan for Preparing Your Students,” a “Chair Script” so you can run practice simulations, and an awards guide. 

Several teachers have told us that the seven-step plan and chair script have improved their preparations, so we encourage you to use them. We have updated them to reflect the changes we have made in recent years (two topics per committee, more time for debate in committee, and presentations of passed resolutions to the Combined General Assembly). Our internal staff is working to update the chair script again this year to better reflect the current structure of the conference. The update chair script should be ready by early October.

Near the bottom of the Delegate Tools page, we have posted links to MMUN videos on UN history, parliamentary procedure, and a fun simulation using the rules. We encourage you to watch these with your students and to run your own simulations to help students learn the rules. 

Delegate Materials 

On the “Delegate Tools” page of the website, http://www.cas.umt.edu/mun/HSconference/toolsForDelegates.cfm, students will find guides for researching their countries, writing position papers and resolutions, and understanding the MMUN rules of procedure. 

Because electronic devices must be turned off except when being used for appropriate committee activities, such as drafting working papers, students should print these documents (as well as their position papers) and put them in a notebook to refer to at the conference. 

Change to Country Awards

In the past, MMUN required each country team to fill all committee positions as a prerequisite for country award eligibility, as calculations were based on the average scores for all four to five members of country teams. This year, only the top three delegates assigned to a particular country will be included in country award calculation (see the updated awards guide, located on the Advisor Resources page of the MMUN website). Thus, advisors will only need to fill a minimum of three seats per country in order for that team to be eligible for country awards.

This change arose from our discussion with advisors during last year’s advisor meeting. MMUN staff wanted to encourage smaller schools with less than five students to apply for Security Council seats. By allowing countries to receive awards with less than a full committee, we felt that smaller schools would be more willing to apply for Security Council countries, without losing the opportunity to receive country awards.

Advisors who spoke with us also felt that evaluating countries based on the top three delegates would provide more flexibility to deal with student attrition, to match students to their interests in topics discussed at MMUN (as opposed to forcing students into committees to simply fill seats), and to place more experienced students with less experienced students on the same countries.

To be clear, advisors should still assign all committees for their assigned countries before requesting additional countries. Our goal, however, is to provide greater flexibility in country and committee assignments that will facilitate conference preparations for both advisors and high school students. We look forward to hearing your feedback regarding this change at this year’s advisor meeting.

Questions & Workshops 

If you have any questions, or if you and your students would like to participate in an in-person or Skype workshop to review conference preparations and procedures, please email SG-E Alexandria Preis.

Sincerely,

Alexandria Preis
2017 MMUN Secretary-General External 
mtmodelun@gmail.com
alexandria.preis@umontana.edu

John Thomas
2017 MMUN Secretary-General Internal

Prof. Nick Potratz
Adjunct Instructor and MMUN Faculty Co-Advisor UM Department of Political Science 
nicholas.potratz@umontana.edu 

Prof. Eva-Marie Maggi
Adjunct Professor and MMUN Faculty Co-Advisor UM Department of Political Science eva.maggi@umontana.edu

Prof. Karen Ruth Adams
Professor, MMUN Faculty Co-Advisor, and Chair of UM Department of Political Science 
karen.adams@umontana.edu 

Dani McLaughlin
Office Manager
UM College of Humanities and Sciences mclaughlindc@mso.umt.edu
(406) 243-2632