Understanding the UN system will help you play your role realistically at a Model UN conference. It is important to understand which bodies and actors make up the UN system, what the UN can and cannot do, and how international issues are addressed by the UN. Here are some questions that will help get you started:
- What are the important elements of the UN Charter?
- What are the main bodies of the UN?
- How are the UN's bodies and agencies organized?
- Which countries serve on the body or agency you are simulating?
- How does the body or agency you are simulating operate?
- What are the most recent UN actions on your issue?
- Why did past UN actions succeed or fail?
- What conferences and meetings have been held with regard to your issue?
- What have UN officials said about your issue?
Tips for Researching the UN
Visit the UN website at www.un.org. Read about current affairs on the UN News page. In addition, you should look at the UN Cyberschoolbus website, as well as UNA-USA's guide to using it.
Read one of the many books published by the UN. The UN publishes books with general UN information as well as specific reports, which can be purchased on their website.
Talk to the experts. If you are in or around New York City, it may be possible to set up a briefing with a UN secretariat member. Call the Department of Public Information at 212-963-4475.