Awards Criteria

Awards Criteria

National Model United Nations (NMUN) advances understanding of the UN system and contemporary international issues and has positively impacted the lives of numerous delegates. We urge all delegates and their faculty advisors to maintain an appropriate perspective regarding the awards. No one can observe every action in  committee or truly judge an individual’s learning and growth. The fundamental basis of the simulation is collaboration and cooperation among nations, which includes working together through multilateral diplomacy. There are no winners and certainly no losers in this process. We believe participation in the simulation is its own reward. The Secretariat selects recipients based on the criteria and methodology outlined in this section.

Delegation Awards

NMUN recognizes three categories of delegation awards: Outstanding, Distinguished, and Honorable Mention. While the total number of delegations that receive awards changes slightly from year to year, approximately 20% of delegations receive the Outstanding Delegation award. Each staff member has received training in evaluating delegate performance, and all staff decisions related to awards determinations are final.

Areas of Evaluation:
  1. Active Engagement in Committee: As an academic simulation, NMUN staff expect delegates to actively engage with each other and contribute to their committee’s work. This will be evaluated during both formal and informal sessions. Participation during formal session is evaluated based on the speeches given, but also based on actively following speeches of other delegates and making motions that contribute to the efficient work of the committee. During informal sessions delegates are expected to work with different delegations towards solutions for the topic at hand. This includes proposing and improving on possible solutions to working groups, and facilitating negotiations with delegates who have different positions. Chairs and Rapporteurs are provided equal consideration for awards, depending on their contributions as committee officials. Individual effort as well as ability is considered, particularly for delegates who use English as a second language. Caucusing should always be in English as the common language of the conference. Formal speeches may be delivered in an assigned country’s official language, only if an English translation is provided immediately and before the end of the allotted time limit.
  2. Professionalism and Diplomatic Values: We encourage delegates to embody the diplomatic spirit of the United Nations. This is defined as engaging in an inclusive and respectful manner with other delegates in both formal and informal sessions. Being inclusive and respectful includes behavior like reaching out to delegates whose first language is not English, listening to delegate speeches during formal sessions, asking other delegates for input, and working collaboratively instead of unilaterally to distribute tasks among other delegates in working groups. NMUN recognizes that a country’s position on any issue may require opposition to the majority, as opposed to active consensus-building. The conference staff expects delegates to support committee action and address issues in accordance with relevant national or organizational policies, whatever those may be. Thus, while conflict is a normal occurrence in the UN system, when delegates disagree on matters of substance and process, those disagreements should be handled in a manner that remains professional and constructive. Any undiplomatic behavior is inherently out of character for United Nations delegates. Volunteer staff will review reports of unprofessional, or overtly disruptive behavior, which may result in being scored negatively, detracting from a country’s overall score toward delegation awards. This includes modeling inappropriate stereotypes or character traits of their assigned country. Delegates are to emulate the work of diplomats, not the sometimes more theatrical presentations of Heads of State/Government to the General Assembly (and media) during meetings each fall. Speeches by Heads of State/Government are sometimes aimed as much at domestic audiences as at their UN counterparts, and may not reflect the normal work of a country’s diplomats throughout the year. In addition, delegates must remember that any observation, comment or complaint regarding another delegate’s portrayal of their national or organizational character is highly inappropriate, and such comments are themselves inherently out of character for a diplomat. Yelling, standing on chairs, deliberately walking out of the room when a particular country is speaking, creating an exclusionary environment during informal sessions, purposefully altering (in a negative way) or deleting working papers, and other examples of unprofessional behavior are not characteristics of professional diplomats. Well-prepared delegates are typically committee leaders, whether or not such leadership is consistent with a country’s foreign policy. Delegates will not be punished for natural leadership tendencies; however, delegates must also recognize that being inclusive is valued and this may entail sharing leadership and encouraging more input and involvement from others.
  3. Proper Use of the Rules of Procedure: NMUN uses the rules of procedure to facilitate the effective workings of the committee and debate. Consideration will be given to delegates’ knowledge and proper use of NMUN rules, which differ from rules at other MUN conferences, and delegates’ use of rules to further the work of the committee, not to impede it. Staff is patient with new delegates who may not be completely familiar with the NMUN Rules of Procedure, particularly in the early sessions of the conference and during voting procedure. Delegates will not be permitted to interrupt the committee’s progress through the introduction of disruptive or inappropriate motions. Delegates with questions or concerns relating to the NMUN Rules of Procedure will be advised to informally approach the dais for explanation.

Awards Methodology - Delegations

NMUN has established criteria for evaluating delegate performance. Each element is equally important to the overall awards determination process. All committees are weighted equally, and delegations are rated using a mathematical formula that accounts for the total number of committees in which each Member State is represented. It is the overall delegation performance across all committees that is recognized by the award system – not the outstanding performance in any one committee. Just as with grades on quizzes in a class, it is possible to have one poor score and still do well if all the other scores are good, but it is unlikely one outstanding grade can significantly raise the overall average.

A delegation’s overall score is the number of times it receives recognition for a session divided by the number of opportunities for recognition. Following the conclusion of sessions, NMUN volunteer staff members recommend 10% of the delegations in their respective committees for awards, Each session will be evaluated separately. An awards sheet recognizing delegations will be submitted to the departmental Under-Secretary-General and eventually to the NMUN Deputy Secretary-General. On each of the awards sheets, the Director and Assistant Director will select 10% of the total committee attendance for awards recognition, based on performance throughout the course of each session. For example, the number of delegates comprising 10% of the General Assembly at the New York conference is 19, which may then be rounded up to 20. At other NMUN conferences where all UN Member States are not assigned, 10% will be less. The number of votes for each delegation across the entire conference is then totaled and divided by the product of the number of committees in which that delegation is represented times the number of sessions. An example illustrates this below.

If a delegation’s actions include undiplomatic behavior that is inherently out of character for United Nations delegates, or is overly competitive or disruptive to a committee, the staff may assign negative recognition point(s) which will count against a delegation’s total score.

Example: If there are eight sessions. A country on five committees has (8 sessions * 5 committees = 40 ) forty possible opportunities for recognition in the top ten percent of delegations over the course of the conference. If that country is noted for outstanding performance in ten various committee sessions during the week, e.g., GA on Tuesday, UNEA on Tuesday and Wednesday, etc., that Member State would score 10/40 = .25 or 25%. Percentages are used because each assignment has a different number of committees and total possibilities. So the percentage score is the number of times a delegation is recognized, out of their potential to be recognized. The following are hypothetical scores in this example:

Australia: 31 votes / (8 committees * 8 sessions = 64) = total score of 48.4% = Outstanding Delegation

Cameroon: 20 - 3 negative points / (5 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 42.5% = Outstanding Delegation

Chile: 19 votes / (8 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 29.7% = Distinguished Delegation

Japan: 30 votes - 4 negative points / (10 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 32.5% = Distinguished Delegation

United States: 20 votes - 1 negative point / (10 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 23.75% = Honorable Mention

Switzerland: 2 votes / (3 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 8.3% [no award]

In this example, two Member States - Cameroon and the U.S. - were recognized 20 times . . . but the award received differed because of negative point(s) and the number of committees and thus possible times for recognition. It is consistency across a delegation that is recognized, not an individual in a single committee.

The total awards scores are listed, without school or country names. From that list the cutoff for each award category is determined. School names are then matched with their scores.

Individual Delegate Awards in Committee

These awards are determined by popular vote of committee delegates and given to the delegate(s) earning the greatest number of proportional votes. Conference organizers will decide the total number of delegate awards/committee, which is typically two (2) but may vary depending on the number of tied votes. When voting for their peers, NMUN asks delegates to keep in mind that the conference believes outstanding delegates are those who demonstrate effective leadership as a delegate, and are both professional and inclusive in their work with other delegates. Recipients will be announced at the final committee session.

Position Paper Awards

Position Papers are a critical part of delegate preparation. As such, NMUN recognizes outstanding pre-conference preparation with Position Paper Awards. To be considered for a Position Paper Award, delegations must have met the published deadline.

Conference staff use the following criteria to evaluate Position Papers:

  • Overall quality of writing, proper style, adherence to minimal formatting requirements, grammar, etc.
  • Reference to relevant resolutions/documents
  • General consistency with bloc/geopolitical constraints
  • Consistency with the constraints of the United Nations
  • Analysis of issues, rather than reiteration of the Committee Background Guide
  • No evidence of plagiarism; completely AI-generated papers will automatically be excluded