How to Be an Expert UN Delegate

Three Methods:Becoming a Youth Delegate to the UNBeing a Delegate at the Model UNBecoming a Delegate to the UN

Being a delegate at the UN is a very prestigious job, which can be achieved after many years of experience. A delegate represents his or her country at UN meetings and debates, and plays a vital role in international relations and diplomacy. To get a taste of what senior delegates do, consider being a delegate at a Model UN conference. You can also apply to be an official Youth Delegate to the UN from your Country.

Method 1
Becoming a Youth Delegate to the UN

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    Learn about the Youth Delegates program. Every year youth delegates join their senior national delegates at the UN General Assembly. Take some time to read material on the UN website to familiarise yourself with the program and its stated objectives. Three of the key aims are:
    • To enhance global awareness of youth issues and youth rights.
    • To promote national youth polices in co-operation with governments and non-governmental organisations.
    • To strengthen the participation of youth at all levels of decision-making.[1][2]
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    Find out the situation in your country. Currently, only around 30 of 193 countries that are members of the UN send Youth Delegates to the General Assembly. The UN is working to increase that number, but you will have to find out whether or not your country is involved in the program.[3] Check to see if you country has a Youth Delegate by looking at the representatives from previous years on the UN Youth website.[4] Some of the countries that do include:
    • Europeans countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Germany, Georgia, and Ireland
    • Asia and Pacific countries, including Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
    • Countries from the Americas, including Mexico, Peru and the USA.[5]
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    Find out about the application process in your country. The process to apply will be different in every country, but you should be able to find out information relevant to you by looking on the webpages of your government and UN associations. In the US, the Youth Delegate is known as the Youth Observer. Candidates have to apply in June to be considered. The skills you will need include:
    • Being a talented writer, able to read and digest lots of information quickly and accurately.
    • Having a strong intellectual curiosity and interest in the world around you.
    • Having some experience of public speaking.
    • Being proficient on computers and other digital media.
    • Being able to have meaningful conversations with people at a high level.[6]
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    Check your eligibility. The eligibility requirements will vary by country, and there is not a strict definition of “youth” in the UN. To be eligible in the US, you need to be a US citizen between 18 and 25 years old. You have to have a demonstrable passion for international affairs, civic engagement, youth issues and the United Nations.
    • You must be able to travel to New York during the General Assembly in late September, and for some time in October for the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
    • You will be prepared to participate in social media and other events, and write blogs, tweets and newsletters about your experience.
    • You may also be required to travel around the country to talk to other young people about your experience.
    • Travel, accommodation and reasonable costs will be paid for by the UNA-USA.[7]
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    Contact the UN for advice. If you are interested in establishing a Youth Delegate scheme in your country, it’s a good idea to contact the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). This organisation runs a scheme designed to increase participation in Youth Delegate events and can provide you with some guidance about how to begin the process. You can email them directly through the website:
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    Lobby your government for youth representation. If your country is not involved in the Youth Delegate scheme, the UN provides some guidance on how you can try to lobby your government to take part. Try to make contact with some large national youth organisations in your country, and ask them to get involved in a campaign to take part in the Youth Delegate event.
    • You may also want to write a formal letter to the minister in your government responsible for foreign affairs and international relations.
    • It might also be a good idea to contact the minister responsible for youth or education in your country.[8]
    • If your country applies for a position and it is accepted, you will still have to go through a formal application process before you can become the delegate.

Method 2
Being a Delegate at the Model UN

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    Find out about Model UN. The Model UN (MUN) is an extra-curricular activity run by schools and colleges across the US. Generally, participants will take on roles representing different countries and interests, and debate ideas and policies with people representing different countries.[9]
    • Taking part in the MUN can be a great way to help you develop confidence in public speaking and debating.
    • It encourages you to broaden your horizons and engage more thoughtfully with global issues and problems.
    • It can be a great experience and is a chance to meet new people and make new friends.[10]
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    Join the MUN club at your school or college. Your first task is to find out whether or not your school or college has a MUN program that you can get involved in. Talk to friends and teachers to find out what is going on and how you can get involved. Be sure to be prepared before the meetings so you can make the best possible argument.
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    Establish a new MUN club. If your school or college does not have a MUN club already, you can try to set one up with some help of friends and teachers. Talk to people who you think might be interested and work out a proposal to show to a senior member of staff at the school. You will have to decide when you will have the meetings and how they will be organised.[11]
    • Create a flyer and promote the club to get people interested.[12]
    • For each meeting everybody will be assigned a country to represent.
    • Then you will debate an issue, with everybody arguing the case of their nominated country.
    • For example, in a debate on climate change, somebody representing a Pacific Island country such as Fiji, would argue strongly in favour of measures to tackle rising sea-levels.
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    Attend an MUN conference. Once you have a thriving MUN club at you school, you can think about taking the next step and signing up to attend a larger MUN conference. These conferences take place all over the country and at all times of the year. There are regional, national and international MUN conferences you can attend. To find out the dates of the different conferences, visit the MUN website:
    • It’s usually best to start with a smaller conference in the first instance, so you can get an idea of how everything works, before you progress to larger ones.
    • Some conferences will cover the costs of attendees, but you need to make sure you know how things like travel and accommodation will be paid for.
    • Before you attend you will have do a lot of preparation to make sure you have a good knowledge of the country you are representing and all the pertinent facts.
    • You will normally be required to write a position paper before the conference to demonstrate that you have properly researched the country you are representing.[13]

Method 3
Becoming a Delegate to the UN

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    Identify the typical career path. Being a national delegate to the UN can be the culmination of a long career in public service. Often delegates are chosen based on their experience working in foreign affairs and international relations. An experienced civil servant who has worked in the foreign affairs department of her government for a number of years, gaining experience and developing diplomacy skills, may be able to apply to become a UN delegate for her country.
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    Learn what delegates do. UN delegates represent their countries at all sorts of meetings and discussions at the UN.[14] Delegates are required to be excellent diplomats who can deal with a lot of information and make convincing arguments in debates. There are a large number of meetings that take place at UN every day, which cover everything from climate change, to social development, and peacekeeping operations.
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    Analyse the skills and education required. Becoming a delegate at UN requires a lot of knowledge, commitment, and skills. Delegates will have to prepare reports, meet with various officials, and communicate between your government and the international community. Typically you will need a college degree to get onto a scheme for young diplomats with ambitions to become UN delegates later in their careers. A number of college majors can prepare you for this career, including:
    • Economics.
    • Languages.
    • History.
    • Politics.
    • International Relations.
    • International Development.[15]
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    Work for your government’s foreign affairs department. The best way into the UN is to establish yourself in your government’s foreign office, or equivalent department for foreign affairs. It is from here that people will be assigned to represent their country at the UN. Look for any trainee and graduate schemes to work in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) if you are in the UK, the US Department of State, or whatever the equivalent is in your country.
    • The US State Department has a scheme for recent graduates and veterans.[16]
    • The UK FCO has a Fast Stream program that anyone eligible with a degree can apply for, no matter how long ago they completed their studies.[17]

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Categories: Careers in Government