Interview with MUN at UCLA’s Director of Training, Rishi Bhargava
How do you succeed in MUN? This is a question novice and advanced delegates ask themselves, especially a week before BruinMUN 2016. The International Press decided to Interview our Director of Training, Rishi Bhargava, to get a little more insight on how do well in Model UN.
Q: What is your experience with Model UN? What made you start and stay with it?
A: I started my Model UN career as a freshman in high-school, so coming up on 7 years now. It seems like so long ago, but I’m glad I’ve stayed with it since some of my best memories came from MUN. In today’s scenario, not everyone can hold a conversation about world issues and politics. Being around people who can present their own views coherently and passionately keeps me sharp too.
Q: As an advanced delegate, how is competing at conferences different than when you were a novice?
A: I think you develop a “MUN-sense” (like a Spidey-sense). You can gauge the room better as to who the other good delegates are, what topics people want to discuss and how people would like to spend their committee time. I also feel that speeches come more effortlessly with practice.
Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a novice delegate? To an advanced delegate?
A: To Novice delegates, research a lot and don’t back down. Yes, this is the first time you’re doing this, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily worse than anyone! Trust in your research and things will fall into place.
To advanced delegates, never rest on your laurels. You may have won a few awards now but all it takes is one group of up and coming delegates who were super well researched and prepared to bring you back down. Take every MUN
Q: What’s the primary difference between a GA committee and a crisis committee? Does it take different skills to succeed in the two?
A: GA Committees require patience. You speak less on average so you have to make each speech count. Resolution writing is an art form in the GA. A person who can write an amazing resolution will most likely have a good bloc as well.
In crisis it all comes down to being creative and writing fast. You have to churn out good, detailed crisis notes at regular intervals and continue making speeches to get your points across. As a crisis delegate myself, I lean toward Crisis Committees but you can develop some important skills in GAs.
Unmoderated caucuses stay the same more or less. People need votes for Resolutions/Directives to pass. The only difference is size. You need to whip more votes in a GA but whipping votes is harder in Crisis.
Q: How do you write and deliver a great speech?
A: The way you write a great speech is by never actually writing a great speech. By this, I mean don’t write down your speech word-for-word, because there’s too much pressure to stick with exactly what you have on paper. I generally write down 3-5 important points I have to cover to start off with. List the points before you dive into each of them in your speech and save 10 seconds at the end to summarize. People remember the start and end of speeches so make sure your points are there.
Q: What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you started doing MUN?
A: Have fun! In high school a lot of people took MUN really seriously and that is always great. It is an academic activity after all. But take some time to really get to know the people you meet. A lot of us are stuck in our own towns/cities and this is an opportunity to meet people from all over! Take advantage of that!
Q: Are you excited for BruinMUN? What aspects are you most looking forward to?
A: Of course! I am pumped for BruinMUN. Well, I’m most excited to chair my committee - Novice European Council! Being an Under Secretary-General last year I haven’t had the chance to hold my own committee at BruinMUN yet, so this should be exciting. Two things I love about MUN are the crisis element and training delegates. My job is to ensure the Novice delegates make the transition to crisis without losing their passion for the pure MUN artform itself. Hope to meet all of you soon!