position paper

Research the nature of your small group’s topic and the various positions different countries have taken on the issue. Using your research, compose a paper based on your assigned/chosen country’s position on your topic following the guidelines below.

What is a position paper?

The purpose of a position paper is to outline your country’s stance on a particular issue. These papers should be written more like a speech than like a research paper or book report. This means that it’s acceptable (and encouraged!) to be biased in the same way a delegate from your assigned country would be – just be sure to back up your claims.

You will be presenting your paper as a 1-2 minute speech next week in your small group as groups begin in-class debate.

Format

Papers must be submitted in 12pt. double-spaced Times New Roman with one-inch margins.
Papers must be properly cited in one of two ways:
using correct inline Chicago-style citations (with an optional concluding bibliography), or
using correct inline MLA-style citations (with a required concluding Works Cited page).
Papers should include roughly three sources. Uncited papers will receive a failing grade.
Your completed paper should be about 1.5 to 2 pages long, not including your bibliography or Works Cited.
Your paper should also adhere to formal Model UN writing guidelines and refrain from first-person references: you must refer to yourself as “this delegate”, “the delegate of “, or similar.
Structure

Here’s an example of what the content of your position paper should resemble, content-wise. You might also want to refer to the rubric for this assignment at the bottom of the page.

Section

Details

Header

For the purposes of this assignment, you can copy this header:

Committee: General Assembly

Topic: Your Committee’s Topic Here

Country: The Full Name Of Your Country Here

Delegate: Your Name

In this section, you must refer to your country, and other countries, by their fully-qualified names. For example, say the People’s Republic of China instead of China and the United States of America instead of the United States. (This guideline should also be adhered to in the body of your position paper, but as long as your intention and writing is clear, it’s not really necessary.)

Introduction

In this section, you should describe a contextual history of the problem that answers most of the following questions:

What, in the context of your country, is the nature of the problem? (Who’s involved? Since when? Where is it happening?)
Why, in the context of your country, is the problem happening, and who’s responsible?
Why is this problem important enough for it to be discussed, or for your country to take a position on it? (Additionally, are there any trends or conditions that have caused the problem to persist?)
Note that you should not detail your country’s position outright in this section, though it would be appropriate to allude to it in the perspective you take when describing the issue.

To this end, we recommend using statistics from the United Nations, NGOs, or other bodies.

UN Involvement

In this section, you should answer the following questions:

What has the United Nations done (e.g. resolution or international law) in response to this issue? Do any of these responses impact your country? Has the response (or lack thereof) accomplished anything?
Has any other inter/national body acted (e.g. resolution, law, military action) in response to this issue? Do any of these responses impact your country? Has the response (or lack thereof) accomplished anything?
National Policy

In this section, you should describe your country’s position and any action your country has taken on the issue, including any UN resolutions or programs your country is party to, any laws or social programs or military action undertaken in response to or impacting the issue, and the impact the aforementioned has had on the issue.

Solutions

This section should describe an original, realistic solution to the issue that your country could propose that can be implemented by the United Nations. Generally, you’ll want to:

expand or revise an existing domestic program,
expand or revise an existing UN resolution, mandate, or program, or
expand or revise another country’s existing or proposed solution.
In this section, we’re not looking for a point-by-point policy on how to approach the issue. Aim for a general framework for an original solution that has a realistic chance of changing the playing field. (Your solution doesn’t need to be revolutionary, but it also needs to be more specific than “send more aid”.)

Potential sources for research

The background guide provided by your TA. (The provided background guide does not qualify as a source, but any source listed in the background guide does.)
https://documents.un.org/
You may use news sources such as those analyzed in the weekly Analysis Assignment
CIA World Factbook (Links to an external site.). This contains all of the general information and statistics you could ever need, about every nation on the globe.
UN News Centre: http://www.un.org/News/
UN Global Issues: http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/
UN Peacekeeping News: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/news/
New York Times UN section: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/
New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/
Type the topic and/or your country in the search engine on this site for some of the best and most insightful writing available

Position Paper Writing Resources

Your student leaders!
Week 2 Presentation Slides (Links to an external site.)
United Nations Association Position Paper Guide (Links to an external site.)
Princeton University Position Paper Guide (Links to an external site.)

Position Paper Examples

We’ve provided some examples to help you get started.

Warning: These links are not external and by clicking them, will direct you away from this page, these examples are also available under the Files tab in the Position Paper Examples folder:

Syria – Global Internet Access

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1W9Ac91sMeL20Y9d4jO2wq7ovcn6It7IEkiF2OMSzIQo/edit?usp=sharing

http://www.unausa.org/global-classrooms-model-un/how-to-participate/model-un-preparation/position-papers

http://irc.princeton.edu/pmunc/docs/PMUNC2014PositionPaper.pdf

I represent Japan

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