There are three equally importantaspects of delegate preparation; functional, substantive, and positional preparation.Functional preparation equips the delegates with basic tools, including anunderstanding of the rules, necessary to perform in committee.
The substantiveelement provides a groundwork of specific information on the topic area. Finally,positional preparation requires the student to adopt an internationalperspective. Where to begin your research?Research isthe first step in the CUMUN process. Some of the most thorough and usefulinformation has been provided in the CUMUN background guide for your particularcommittee. BackgroundGuide: The background guide is thecenterpiece of substantive preparation.
Read through the topic area at leasttwice to make sure you pick up all the details and subtleties of the issue.Make sure to pay special attention to the “Questions a Resolution Must Answer”section, as your assigned nation’s answers to those questions will likely guidemost of your speeches and writing for conference. In addition, the backgroundguide contains an extensive bibliography to provide you with general researchsources. Take advantage of both of these source lists. Materials provided bythe CUMUN staff are not meant to be a substitute for your individual research.Instead, they should provide a starting point, inspiring you to ask yourselfquestions about the issues at hand. The best-prepared delegates are those thattake the provided materials as the beginning of their research and delve deeperinto the topic area.
Beyond the CUMUN materials are a host of informationservices, beginning with United Nations sources. UN resources often havecompiled statistics, charts, and graphs which you may find helpful inunderstanding the issues. Most UN document centers carry transcripts of UN meetings;perhaps the best way to understand your country’s position is to see ititerated by its ambassador.
Specific resources available include: • Yearbook of the United Nations: TheYearbook is a good starting point for your research. The Yearbook will provide you withgeneral information on what has been done on your topic during any particular year. Italso provides very helpful references to previous articles and resolutions.• United Nations Chronicle: Thismagazine gives you general information on the proceedings of the UN. Keep aneye out for special reports on your topic area, which will inform you about thetopic and nations’ positions on it.• UN Document Index: This index forall UN documents comes in three different versions: UNDI (1950-1973), UNDEX (1970-1978),and UNDOC (1979-present). Depending on which of the three you are using, youwill find a subject index, a country index, and an alphanumeric list of alldocuments published (this is useful because each committee has its own uniquealphanumeric prefix and thus you can find all the documents put out by a committeeduring a certain year regardless of the specific topic).• UN Resolutions: This series isboth valuable and very easy to use.
The index is cumulative from 1946, whichmeans that you need only check the most current index to find all theresolutions on your topic that the UN has ever passed. The resolution votingrecords (located in the front of the book) will indicate where your country andothers stood on the issues.• Other UN Sources: Depending on thetopic, there might be additional relevant UN sources. Check for books andspecial reports put out by your committee.Beyond United Nations sources, however, are general sources of information. Investigate your school and local libraries.
Check out journals, periodicals, and newspapers for more current sources. Donot forget to ask the librarians for assistance.• Books: Up-to-date books are likelyto give you a depth and thoroughness unobtainable from UN sources orperiodicals. Make sure to check library listings for bound materials. Bookresearch, however, can take a good deal of time, so use discretion whenselecting books.• Periodicals: Periodicals areuseful for easy-to-understand, current information on topics (the Reader’sGuide to Periodical Literature and Infotrac serve as an index for these materials).
Do not expect them to supply you with the depth of information you will needfor the Conference.• People: An often-neglected source,people can aid you greatly in your research. Some people to keep in mind are:librarians, fellow delegates, faculty advisors, and your committee’s Director andAssistant Directors. Not only can these people help you find what you arelooking for, but they may also recommend new sources that you had notconsidered. Do not hesitate to email your committee Director. He or she hasspent the entire summer doing research for the background guide and will be happyto answer any questions.
• Embassies and Consular Offices:Contact the embassy or consular office of the country that you arerepresenting. These places are very glad to help you in your research bymailing statistical data and other unclassified information.• News Channel: BBC, CNN & Reuters