NAMUN'20

Mohammad Ruzain Bin Ismail

The Structure of a Model UN Chair Interview Session

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Based on my past experiences when applying for the general Chair position, at times, interviews must be undergone by applicants who have successfully passed the 1st Phase, which is the Written Phase. In reference to this, if you are from the Turkey MUN circuit, it is really not common to have an interview when you are applying as a Chair. From my perspective, interviews are really crucial to determine whether or not an applicant is now ready or has the potential to become a chair. The issue with a single judgment based on the submitted form is not sufficient to determine an individual's capacity to chair. 

 

For that reason, I will be sharing several useful notes for a substantive chair interview session. 

 

PHASE 1: SELF INTRODUCTION

For the early part, it is important to have a set of less formal questions to ask the applicants. This is to establish a sense of ease during the interview, and below are the type of questions that should be included:

 

a) Brief Self Introduction

  • You may include your full name, age, country of origin, institution, current course, and also interests. By doing so, it is beneficial to the interviewer to see whether or not, an applicant has the minimum background and interest in the fields of global affairs and diplomacy. 

b) Model UN Experience

  • For this part, you will be asked to describe and tell your overall Model UN experience and how it has impacted your general view towards international issues. It is best to be as authentic but brief as possible, without taking too much time. 

 

PHASE 2: RULES OF PROCEDURE

The next stage of the interview would be engaging in the Rules of Procedure. Bear in mind that the RoP can differ depending on which MUN circuit you are from, or applying to. But for this instance, we will take the Harvard MUN procedure as an example. Hence, you must have the knowledge which covers the important aspect of the said procedure. Refer down below:

 

a) Roll Call

A system that is used to determine and track the attendance of delegates in the committee. There are 2 options:

  • Present: Having the option to vote 'yes', 'no' or abstain during voting
  • Present and Voting: Having the option to vote 'yes', and 'no' only during voting

You will be asked to differentiate between Procedural Voting and Substantive Voting. 

  • Procedural Voting: Primarily voting on motions, suspension, and/or adjournment of the meeting
  • Substantive Voting: Mainly on draft resolutions, motion to amend the draft resolution, and amendments

 

b) Quorum

The minimum amount of delegates needed to begin the General Assembly or committee session. It will be 1/3 of delegates needed to be present for Formal Sessions. 

 

c) Opening Speech/Statement

An opening speech is frequent in the Turkey MUN circuit and is usually considered the 1st General Speakers List (GSL). The time can range from 60 to 120 seconds. It is usually executed in alphabetical order (A - Z). 

 

d) Points 

  • Point of Information: Used as a right to ask a question to another delegate, usually when there is sufficient time left during the GSL
  • Point of Parliamentary Inquiry: Used when a delegate has a question about something that is not clearly understood in committee, primarily related to the proceedings of the committee 
  • Point of Order: Used when a delegate believes that there was a mistake made regarding the rules of procedure.
  • Point of Personal Privilege: Used when a delegate experiences personal discomfort that hinders their ability to participate in the committee. Examples: Poor internet connection, going to the restroom and etcetera

NOTE:  No point can be raised when a delegate is currently speaking. The only exception is to raise a Point of Personal Privilege to request proper audibility from the current delegate. 

 

e) Motions

  • Open the debate
  • Close the debate
  • Moderated Caucus
  • Unmoderated Caucus
  • Termination of Current Moderated Caucus
  • Suspension of Meeting
  • Adjournment of Meeting
  • Introduction to Draft Resolution
  • Vote on Resolutions

NOTE: Applicants are not requested to explain each motion in detail, and are just needed to briefly explain the order in which the motion might be raised. But just in case, it will be better for you to understand the definition of each term stated above. 

 

f) Committee Documents

  • Working Paper

Working Paper is a precursor document of the draft resolution and consists of solutions without having any specific format. The submission of the working paper will be determined by the respective Board of Directors during the day of the committee session.

 

  • Draft Resolution

A draft resolution is a document that centers on the proposed solutions of the committee agenda and includes the contribution of the delegates. This will be based on their country's stance, policy, and perspective of the issues at hand. The resolution must include the signatories and sponsors.

 

g) Introduction to Draft Resolution

You will most likely be asked to explain how you would execute the introduction to the draft resolution. Now, as I talked about the different systems and structures of MUNs,  I will just provide my own system, which I believe is efficient.

 

  • Silent Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • Explanation Time: 7 minutes
  • Question and Answer Session: 15 minutes

NOTE: The times are open to adjustments, but you still have the option to provide your recommended time. 


PHASE 3: COMMITTEE BASED QUESTION

The next phase of the interview will be the most challenging. This is because you will be asked a series of questions which is substantially relevant to the committee/committees you prefer to chair. This is why prior research is key to being accepted as a chair. Although, it alone, will not guarantee as there might be better applicants than you, it won't hurt to try!

 

a) Preferred Committee

Before the interview, it is important to have an understanding of which committee is more in your wheelhouse. 

 

b) Mandate & Functions

There is a slight chance you will be asked to provide at least three (3) mandates of your preferred committee. This is to establish your current knowledge because mandates will determine the load work capacity and limitations of what a committee and/council can achieve. 

 

c) Brief Introduction

In this instance, you are requested to give brief information about the topic of your preferred committee. The ideal time would be 4 - 5 minutes, and I will share the key areas you need to cover:

  • Current Issues
  • Statistics and Data
  • Proposed Solutions

 

e) Case Study

A case study is defined as an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In this instance, a case study will be a selected country that has relevance to the topic. The reason why interviewers will ask you a case study is to know whether or not you have current awareness of the topic, which will give you an advantage, in comparison with other applicants, that might otherwise not be able to give a substantive case study. And case studies are an essential part of a Study Guide, so at times Chairs are required to draft the committee document. A case study will involve the variables below:

 

  • Current Issues in the selected country
  • Root causes
  • Involved parties
  • Past Actions
  • Possible Solutions

 

PHASE 4: SITUATIONAL BASED QUESTION

The last phase will be the situational-based question. There is a 100 percent chance you will be asked this type of question, and it is simply to test your knowledge in terms of the RoP and to determine your ability in the areas of communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. I will share the sample questions that are commonly asked during the interview.

 

  • What would you do if a delegate uses inappropriate words and violates the decorum of the conference?
  • If you have a disagreement or problem with your co-chair, how would you tackle this issue?
  • If you experience an unstable internet connection while chairing, thus slowing down the committee sessions, what is your solution?
  • What is your method or approach to dealing with beginner delegates, especially if they ask numerous questions during committee sessions?
  • How would you evaluate your delegates, in terms of their performance?
  • Describe your strengths and weaknesses as an individual.
  • If a delegate is not satisfied with either not receiving an award or not getting a higher award, how will you handle this situation?
  • What is your approach if the discussions of the committee are slow and/or not productive?

 

Be as honest as you can, as personal branding is important to showcase. Through experience, you will be able to have a more thorough insight into answering these questions with ease and confidence.

 

I hope that for those that are interested to apply for a chairing position in either Turkey or foreign-based MUN, you will find this information helpful. All the best fellow MUNers!