Diplomacy in MUN – Beneficial or Detrimental?

Diplomacy is, quite bluntly, the art of dealing with people in a way where no one ends up getting hurt. At least, not hurt directly. Whether between delegates debating in a conference, or as diplomats negotiating international issues, diplomacy is vital. But to what extent can one be diplomatic while still being able to argue their point? At what point is diplomatic procedure a hindrance in Model United Nations?


Anyone who’s been an MUN chair or delegate knows the woes of parliamentary procedure; they have had to swap out their usual conversation cadences for more impersonal tones, as well as carve their arguments into meticulously itemized resolutions. Delegates, especially, might be familiar with the reprimand primed for anyone who loses their composure entirely: “Delegate, please maintain diplomatic decorum.” Still, these diplomatic procedures are essential to a solid traditional MUN debate; they help the chairs to maintain order and keep the debate going smoothly.


On the other hand, it could be argued that the lengths needed to go to in order to maintain diplomacy are not all that worth it. Diplomacy restricts those obligated to it to follow specific procedures and formats, which can force the oversimplification of arguments, and the inordinate formalities required of a diplomat can be exhausting to maintain. Furthermore, diplomacy, especially in MUN conferences, encourages that delegates should reach consensuses and seek to improve rather than reject. However, this somewhat dampens the vigor of debate, as delegates work sluggishly to improve resolution after resolution instead of ruling out good from bad. Although this does sometimes lead to more resolutions passing, it can lead to less ardent debate as delegates don’t have to really worry about outright rejection of resolutions.


So, in the end, is diplomacy in MUN conferences more beneficial than detrimental? Tedious or not, the answer must be the former, not the latter. Diplomacy is a vital element of Model United Nations, maintaining the order of the debates and keeping discourses civil. It encourages professionalism and formality in delegates and chairs alike, and is what allows conferences to be truly successful.