Position Papers and How to Write Them
MODEL UN P0SITION PAPERS:
PURPOSE, SUBMISSION INFORMATION, JUDGING PROCEDURE, WRITING GUIDELINES,
OUTLINE AND MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS, AND EVALUATION
MUN delegates are encouraged to prepare position papers for their countries. The preparation of these papers will assist delegates in assembling their research in an organized manner. While it is not a requirement that every student write a position paper, a student must submit a position paper in order to be considered for a scholarship or individual committee award. In addition, authors of the best papers will be awarded points toward overall awards and scholarships. Funds permitting, the author of the top paper will receive a monetary scholarshhip.
The deadline for papers is posted on the homepage. Papers must be deposited into the school's Model UN Dropbox by midnight on this date, no exceptions. Your ability to submit files will be rescinded at that point, so do not wait until the last minute to familiarize yourself with the process. We cannot accept papers that are faxed, mailed, emailed or delivered in any way other than Dropbox.
After initial review and rating, the best 15 to 20 papers will be forwarded to the Final Reading Committee, organized under the auspices of the Naples Council on World Affairs (NCWA). The papers are forwarded without identification of the writers or schools and are not ranked in relation to each other. The Final Reading Committee members, a group of seven or eight individuals selected by the Position Paper Chairperson, are asked to read and rank all of the papers they have received. These readers are usually members of NCWA and have publishing, foreign service and academic backgrounds. Each member of the committee reads the papers and reports his/her scores and ranking of the papers (first to last) to the Position Paper Chairperson, who then compiles the results and forwards them to the MUN Chairpersons and Coordinator. At this time the authors and schools represented by the papers are identified and the Bradford Morse Awards are prepared.
The MUN program coordinator, who is a NCWA staff member, compiles a list of all students writing a position paper, since writing a position paper is a requirement for receiving a scholarship. The points awarded to a position paper also count toward the awarding of a scholarship (See the PURPOSE section above).
The MUN position paper combines the best features of "talking points" (brevity) and "essays" (explanatory advocacy) into one document that defines a country's national interest in a committee issue.
Writing an effective position paper teaches the student how to research, organize and present ideas in a persuasive manner and prepares him/her for informed, meaningful debate on the topic. These are invaluable skills to develop, no matter what path the student may take in life.
It should be noted that an outstanding position paper not only demonstrates basic knowledge of the issue but also demonstrates that an analysis/evaluation of the information has been made, requiring the writer to go beyond basic reporting on the topic. Papers without pertinent analysis/evaluation are little more than restatements of information and are frequently in less than concise form.
OUTLINE AND MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A POSITION PAPER
The position paper should be clear, concise, accurate, well written and well reasoned. The following format should be used:
The first three lines of the paper are to identify the country, issue and committee. The first line, in bold print at the left margin, is to be Country, the second line in bold print is to be Issue, and the third line in bold print is to be Committee, as follows:
These three lines are followed by the first section of the paper, which will begin at the left margin, in bold capitals, as follows:
ISSUE AND POSITION: Succinctly state the issue and the writer's position, i.e., the position of the nation that the writer represents. This statement should be no more than a few sentences.
The next section will begin at the left margin, in bold capitals, as follows:
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Discuss:
• What historically created the issue;
• Why the issue is important;
• What previous actions have been taken on the issue;
• What the weaknesses are in previous actions and/or opposing positions; and
• What problems continue to exist.
Paragraphs should appropriately identify separate topics and ideas.
The last section will begin at the left margin, in bold capitals, as follows:
PROPOSED ACTION ON THE ISSUE: Include:
• In what way the writer proposes to resolve the issue;
• How the proposal will be implemented; and
• Why it is in the best interest of the UN as a whole.
Writers need to keep in mind as they state their position that the reviewers of the papers (their audience) are educated individuals who, while they have an interest in the topics, do not necessarily possess expertise in all areas. Therefore, discussion of issues should be clear, concise and easily understood by readers in general.
B. MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS
1. The position paper must be limited to ONE page, single spaced, and must cover ONE issue only.
2. Top and bottom margins must be 1”; side margins must be ½”.
3. Type size must be 12 point; type font must be Times New Roman.
4. The paper must be submitted in PDF format.
5. Writer may submit one paper only.
6. Do not include a cover page.
7. The name of the PDF file should be the student's name. **This is the only way we will have to identify the author of the paper, so it's very important!
8. Do not include any ornamentation of any kind, i.e., flags, colored headers, decorative borders, etc. There should be nothing to distinguish a paper; the focus is to be on the content of the paper.
9. ANY PAPER WHICH DOES NOT FOLLOW THE REQUIRED OUTLINE AND/OR DOES NOT MEET THE MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY REMOVED FROM CONSIDERATION FOR POSITION PAPER AND SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS.
EVALUATION OF POSITION PAPERS
The following criteria will be used:
1. Clear, concise statement of the issue and the writer's position (1-10 points);
2. Effective discussion of background information (1-10 points);
3. Statement of writer's proposed action on the issue (1-10 points); and
4. Correct English usage (1-10 points).
Maximum point score is, therefore, 40 points.