Delegates should begin with a thorough knowledge of the history and structure of the United Nations. Given that each delegate is a member of a committee with information specific to its individual structure, they should also extensively research the history of the country(s) or organizations involved in their simulation.Research should be focused on the following areas:

  • The history, operation, and jurisdiction of the United Nations.
  • The history, operation, and jurisdiction of each delegate’s respective committee.
  • The agenda topics as outlined in the Committee Description for delegates’ assigned committee.
  • The political and diplomatic background of your assigned country.
  • The specific positions of the assigned country as regards the committee topics.

A. The United Nations, Standing Committees, and Specialized Agencies

Understanding of the structure of the United Nations is essential for effective participation in YMCA Model UN. To this end, please consult the links below for resources to help you research. Particularly useful resources are Issues Before the General Assembly and Basic Facts About the UN. In addition, the United Nations webpage at www.un.org provides agendas, links, and full text of all UN Documents.

All delegates should be familiar with the United Nations Charter and the United Declaration on Human Rights, links to which may be found below and are easily accessible from the United Nations homepage.

Delegates should be equally familiar with the history of their assigned committee, including having knowledge of its founding and keynote documents. A brief introduction to each committee can be found in the Background Guides, as well as sources for additional information.

B. Regional Organizations, Cabinet and Political Simulations

Delegates participating in the above simulations should pay special attention to:
• The organization’s or country’s constitution.
• Knowledge of the history of their assigned country and its current political, economic, and social issues.

C. Agenda Topics

The fundamental source of information about committee topics will be the Background Guides for each committee. The topics are easily researched, and delegates should keep in mind:
• Historical and current United Nations activity on the issue.
• Assigned country’s historical and current activity on the issue.
• The voting and activity record of the assigned country in the United Nations on the issue.
• Relevant United Nations resolutions, multilateral conventions, and other international agreements on the issue.

D. Country Background/Policy

Regardless of committee assignment, it is necessary to have a thorough knowledge of your assigned country’s policies. A comprehensive understanding of the political, economic, social, military, religious, and geographic features of your assigned country will help you better understand your country’s policy towards certain issues. In some cases, it is not possible to find a clearly delineated document outlining a nation’s policy towards a certain issue. In these cases, an educated guess based upon a country’s historical involvement in the area will serve as an excellent indicator of policy.

E. Recommended Research Sources

The Internet is an invaluable research tool. Many country governments and missions have homepages which provide not only information about a country’s policies, but also contact information for delegates seeking more material.

Most colleges and universities subscribe to Lexis/Nexis, a CD-Rom collection of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles. Full-text articles from an inexhaustible list of sources are available, and delegates are strongly encouraged to consult this source.

Books on international affairs and international issues are best if current. Otherwise, these resources provide an excellent foundation and/or historical background to committee issues.

Helpful Web Links: see Helpful Web Links page