Position Papers

Position papers are due February 12th, however, you will be allowed to email your paper after this deadline, but must be before your committee votes, or else you won’t be voting. Only position papers handed in by the deadline will be considered for an award at the end of the conference. Remember, delegates representing countries designated red in the registration form will be denied voting privileges if a position paper has not been received.  Position papers can be emailed to committee emails, listed below

LEGAL: legal.hsmun@gmail.com.
HRC: hsmun.hrc@gmail.com.
SECURITY COUNCIL: hsmun.sc@gmail.com.
SOCHUM: hsmun.sochum@gmail.com.
ECOFIN: hsmun.ecofin@gmail.com.

Note: We only require one paper per country for the Security Council.

Position Papers

The Position Paper is one of the most crucial parts of preparing for HSMUN. It ensures that you are prepared for the conference and that you fully understand  your country’s position on the topics at hand.

The position paper has two over-arching goals:

  1. It should outline the relevant background of the country with respect to the topic(s) at hand. If you are the delegate representing Australia in the Historical Committee, you had better discuss how the Suez Crisis influenced Australia’s policies.
  2. It should demonstrate that you intimately understand the goals and concerns of your given country.

Position papers are typically around two pages long, and roughly 1000 words. Brevity is desired.

More explicitly, a good position paper will include:

  • A brief introduction to your country’s history, or lack thereof, regarding the issue at hand
  • A summary of how the issue affects your country
  • Any relevant policies that your country may have, and their justification
  • Quotes from your country’s relevant politicians on the issue
  • Statistics and citations
  • Any relevant conventions and resolutions that your country has signed or ratified, or chosen not to sign or ratify, especially those within the UN system
  • Relevant UN actions that your country supported or opposed
  • What your country believes should be done to address the issue, and what your country hopes to accomplish
  • How the positions of other relevant countries affect your country’s position, including an analysis of potential allies and adversaries

General Writing Advice

  • Keep it simple. Avoid flowery wording and complicated language.
  • Give each separate idea or proposal its own paragraph. 
  • Cite your sources. Use footnotes, endnotes, or brackets to show where you found your facts and statistics. MLA style is the standard in political science, although any style will be accepted.
  • Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit your position paper. Then edit it again. No diplomat should ever make spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Speech! Speech! A good position paper can provide the backbone for a strong introductory speech. During debate, a good position paper will also help you to stick to your country’s policies, and support your cause.
  • Keep it brief.

Research Links

We know that researching a country’s foreign policy, particularly if it’s less well known, can be difficult. To help you, we’ve listed some links below that might be helpful.

  • Member States of the United Nations – Links to the webpage of the Permanent UN Mission of the majority of member states.
  • Human Development Reports – To help you learn more about the level of development present in your country. You can also see reports on how countries are meeting the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) here.
  • Freedom House– Reports on the political situations within countries.
  • Economist Country Briefings – A great resource. Check with your librarian or come visit the U of A libraries to gain access to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s country reports.
  • CIA World Fact Book
  • US Department of State Country pages – Lots of links to click here. The best is the ‘quick links to major reports’ on the lefthand sidebar on each country page which will lead you to a wealth of information.
  • The UN has its own MUN ‘headquarters’ which contains research tips and links.
  • The UN Association of the USA has also written a comprehensive preparation guide.
  • Finally, news sites from outlets like the New York Times and the BBC have country briefing pages or at least pages where they collect recent stories about events occuring in countries. The two linked here are useful to gain up to date information, as well as give you different perspectives on any major events related to your country’s policy.

Sample papers:

Advice for writing essays in Political Science:

Note: if the writers of any of the above papers wish them to be taken down, email hsmun@ualberta.ca and they will be removed immediately.

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