Each delegate to HSMUN 2011 is expected to submit a one to two page position paper outlining their country or NGO's policy positions with regards to the topics being debated in his or her assigned committee. Position papers are typically between one and two pages in length. Position paper guidelines are outlined below.
Position papers are due February 11th, 2012 at midnight.
Email your dais staff at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Position Papers?
Position papers are read by dais staff prior to the conference as a way of gauging the degree of preparedness of delegates. More importantly, the exercise of drafting position papers benefits delegates in two important ways:
- In enunciating your delegation’s positions on paper, you are forced to research and clarify what exactly you will stand for, and why.
- During the conference, you will be able to refer to your position paper when in doubt about how you should respond to an issue.
How do I write a Position Paper?
- Familiarize yourself with your country. Where is it? Who are its closest allies? Which issues are its people most concerned about?
- Find out what would your country or NGO like to see done about the issue? Big questions:
- Does your country recognize that the problem under consideration is actually a problem worth devoting time and effort to?
- Has your country been successful in addressing the problem internally? Are there any solutions for which it would be likely to advocate?
- Does your country trust the United Nations to run big projects, or would it prefer to see them done by other means? To what extent does it prefer sovereignty or international cooperation?
- More specifically, how does your country feel about contributing financially to the United Nations? Would you rather spend the money on other things?
- Are there any proposed solutions that your country would oppose? Why?
- Once you have rough answers to these questions, you can start writing.
Position Paper Format
Position papers should consist of a few paragraphs of background on your country’s political position, its allies and its priorities. A similar length should be devoted to its positions on each of the topics for your committee. In total, the contribution for each committee should be between one and two pages.
We know that researching a country's foreign policy, particularly if its less well known, can be difficult. To help you, we've listed some links below that might be helpful.
- Member States of the United Nations - links to the webpage of the Permanent UN Mission of the majority of member states.
- Human Development Reports - to help you learn more about the level of development present in your country. You can also see reports on how countries are meeting the MDGs here.
- Freedom House- reports on the political situations within countries.
- Economist Country Briefings - a great resource. Check with your librarian or come visit the U of A libraries to gain access to the Economist Intelligence Unit's country reports.
- CIA World Fact Book
- US Department of State Country pages - Lots of links to click here. The best is the 'quick links to major reports' on the lefthand sidebar on each country page which will lead you to a wealth of information.
- The UN has its own MUN 'headquarters' which contains research tips and links.
- The UN Association of the USA has also written a comprehensive preparation guide.
- Finally, news sites from outlets like the New York Times and the BBC have country briefing pages or at least pages where they collect recent stories about events occuring in countries. The two linked here are useful to gain up to date information, as well as give you different perspectives on any major events related to your country's policy.