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Model UN is a game of politics, most frequently won by the individual that is most adept at controlling a room of people, organizing those people into blocs, and representing the ideas of their bloc.  Competing in a conference is like climbing a ladder. By overcoming obstacles and accomplishing certain tasks a delegate can quickly climb thee base rungs. However, what every delegate discovers is that, at a certain point, there will be a tremendous gap in the ladder that, unless handled properly, will keep him or her  from reaching the top. For most delegates, this stall in progress comes when it is time to start writing resolution papers. Resolutions can be tricky, sound awkward, and pose an extreme difficulty to draft in the turbulent environment of Model UN. If you’re one of those delegates that struggles when it comes time to write LISTEN UP. Here is our method of writing a perfect clause.

How to Write the Perfect Operative Clause: Step By Step Guide

Step One: Choose what operative phrase you want to use. Every great clause starts with that perfect operative phrase that will frame how your clause is going to be viewed by the rest of the room. When determining which phrase to use, consider the connotation of the words and how they will be interpreted by other delegates. For example, a clause that begins will Establishes  is going to create something, whereas a clause that begins with Calls upon or Requests is going to ask someone to do something. Depending on what the content of the clause is going to be and how you want it to be perceived by the room, delegates have to be extremely careful with which operative phrases they choose.

Example: Establishes

Step Two: Time to pick the main part of your clause (yes there should be multiple lines, no one wants a boring vague clause.) The first line of your clause should answer the question: “What is your resolution doing?”  If you are starting a program, creating a standard, modifying an existing document, condemning an action, or doing anything else be sure to say it in this line. When determining the “What” of your clause be sure to be specific with what you are trying to do. No one wants to read a vague clause that doesn’t present any tangible solutions.

Example: Establishes an International Standard for the Prosecution of Foreign-Born Individuals in a country in which they are not citizens

Step Three; After you have completed the main clause, it is time to add sub-clauses, and in some cases sub-sub-clauses. Sub-clauses should answer the questions: “Who, when, where, and how is this solution going to work?” Sub-clauses detail how you plan to  implement the action described in the main clause. Sub-clauses are the meat of your clause and should take up the predominance of your resolution paper. Use these lines to inform the reader of your resolution who is going to be carrying out the action, where the action is going to be applied, and with what means you are going to fund the action and ensure all conditions are met such as transportation, security, and legality. Sub-clauses can also be used to provide further details about what the resolution is going to do.

Example:
1.) Establishes an International Standard for the Prosecution of Foreign-Born Individuals in a country in which they are not citizens

  • Requires all countries to report to the delegate in the United Nations Human Rights council of the respective country to which they are prosecuting a citizen from.
  • All trials involving international citizens must be conducted in a manner that the defendant is able to understand, meaning:
  • The trial be conducted in the language of the defendant or
    • A translator must be present capable of accommodating all parties
    •           The defense will be provided for by the home country if the accused person does not have other legal representation, and the prosecution will be by the state that is accusing.
    •           Defendants must be made aware of the charges being brought against them

Step Four: Okay, so you have the operative phrase, main clause, sub-clauses, but how the heck do you punctuate the clause as a whole? Firstly, each operative clause has to be numbered. the operative phrase underlined. After that, things can get complicated. Between each whole operative clause (including the main part of the clause and sub-clauses) you need to use a semicolon, BUT if you have sub-clauses there is extra punctuation you have to remember. Between the main part of the clause and the sub-clauses, you need to use a colon and between the sub-clauses as well as sub-sub-clauses, use commas. Additionally, sub-clauses are lettered and sub-sub-clauses are numbered with Roman numerals.

Example:

1) Establishes an International Standard for the Prosecution of Foreign-Born Individuals in a country in which they are not citizens:
     a) Requires all countries to report to the delegate in the United Nations Human Rights council of the respective country to which they are prosecuting a citizen from,
     b) All trials involving international citizens must be conducted in a manner that the defendant is able to understand, meaning:
          I. The trial be conducted in the language of the defendant or,
         II. A translator must be present capable of accommodating all parties,
III. The defense will be provided for by the home country if the accused person does not have other legal representation, and the prosecution will be by the state that is accusing,
IV. Defendants must be made aware of the charges being brought against them;

Congratulations you’ve finished your first spectacular clause. This model and these rules for writing a clause can be applied to almost any solution you wish to articulate in a resolution paper. In a conference you are going to be expected to write at least ten clauses of your own for your blocs resolution paper. We hope this advice on how to write the perfect clause has filled in the pesky gap in your Model UN style and will help you succeed in future conferences.

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