Each MUN delegate is encouraged to prepare a paper on the position the country they represent takes on the issue they will discuss in committee. Papers are strictly limited to a single page although citations may be provided on a second page. Technical requirements are below. The preparation of these papers will assist delegates in assembling their research in an organized manner. While delegates are not required to write a position paper, a student must submit a position paper to be considered for a financial award or an individual committee award. In addition, authors of the best papers will be awarded points toward overall awards. Funds permitting, the authors of the top papers will receive monetary awards.
The deadline for receipt of papers to be part of the writing competition is posted here. Papers must be turned in as instructed by midnight on this date, no exceptions. Late submissions will not be read. We cannot accept papers that are faxed, mailed, or delivered in any way other than that specified in the instructions emailed to you.
The MUN Program Coordinator, who is an NCWA staff member, maintains a list of all students who have written a position paper since writing a position paper is a requirement for receiving a financial award. The points assigned to a position paper count in determining those awards.
Students who miss the deadline for the writing competition may still submit papers for the purpose of meeting the requirement for MUN individual awards. Papers disqualified from the writing competition for failure to conform to the technical requirements will also fulfill this requirement and will be accepted until a few days prior to the conference start date.
After the papers are logged-in by the MUN Program Coordinator, the author’s name and school are removed and all papers are forwarded to the Position Paper Chair for review by the Position Paper Readers. The Readers are usually members of NCWA and have writing, foreign service, or other government and academic backgrounds. Each paper in the writing competition is read initially by a minimum of two Readers. The top 20 papers are determined and forwarded to an additional group of six readers who then rank these papers, the results are reviewed, and the winners of the competition determined.
The MUN position paper combines the best features of "talking points" (brevity) and "essays" (explanatory advocacy) into one document that defines a country's specific stand on 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 communication 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 have limited value.
If external sources are used or quoted, writers must follow standard rules of citation. These can take the form of footnotes or as a list of sources consulted. They should be listed at the bottom of the paper or on a separate page. The position paper must be the writer’s own work.
FORMAT AND TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR POSITION PAPERS
FORMAT Please use the following format. You will notice that your name and school do not appear on the paper itself. Your name will be included in the filename as explained below. The paper is to be presented in Portrait format and printable on 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
For more details, see Mechanical Requirements below. 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 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.
The last section, probably the most important, 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 should 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.
1. The position paper must be limited to ONE 8.5 x 11 page, single spaced, and must cover ONE issue only. Only a list of sources or footnotes may appear on a second page.
2. Margins must be no smaller than ½” and no greater than 1".
3. Type size must be 12 point; type font must be Times New Roman or Arial.
4. The paper must be submitted in PDF format.
5. Each writer may submit one paper only!
6. Do not include a cover page or any pictures or ornamentation of any kind, i.e., flags, colored headers, decorative borders, etc.
7. There should be nothing to visually distinguish a paper; the focus is to be on the content.
8. Papers should be carefully proofread. Do not rely on spellcheck alone.
9. The name of the PDF file should be COMMITTEE – COUNTRY – STUDENT’S NAME (EX: Security Council – United Kingdom – Jane Doe). This is the only way we have to identify the author of the paper so it is very important!
ANY PAPER WHICH DOES NOT FOLLOW THE REQUIRED OUTLINE AND/OR DOES NOT MEET THE MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS, OR WHICH IS DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN (IN FULL OR IN PART) BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (SUCH AS ChatGPT), 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.
(top 3 from 2021):
Noah Thorne - Ethiopia (Gulf Coast)
Corazon Holloway - Japan (Lely)
John Gracey - Germany (Bishop Verot)
(top 3 from 2018):
Alexa Lowman - Saudi Arabia (Cypress Lake High School)