MeDMUN IV Secretary General
As we have finalized the countries for the 10 MeDMUN IV committees, now listed on each committee's web page, we are often asked how countries are selected. The process by which conferences select countries for their committees and assign countries to participating schools can seem opaque. While all committees that are based on real, existing committees have their membership determined by the real world, such as the United Nations Security Council and Regional Bodies like the Arab League, larger committees that are simulated at MeDMUN are often times too large to include all the countries. How do we select which countries to place in the committee and which to not include? Moreover, how does MeDMUN assign countries?
For some committees, we do not pick the countries. These committees are generally smaller, so it is possible to ensure that every country will be represented in each committee. Because we limit our largest committees to 50 countries, so that delegates will have more opportunities to speak and participate, in our simulations of the General Assembly or our customized Ad-Hoc and Local Committees, we pick the countries. We choose to simulate committees in which we cannot fit all of the countries because we think the topic is important and often overlooked at larger conferences, and we want to limit the size of our committees. In this way, it is important that we balance our larger committees so that a variety of perspectives are represented, not just the major countries of the world. It would be unfair and an unrealistic to only have a certain perspective represented in a committee. That committee's debate would be less revealing and we feel that delegate's would not be able to engage with the topic in a substantial and worthwhile manner.
Across our General Assembly committees we make sure to always include the permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council. After selecting those 15 countries, we then pick countries that are highly relevant to the topic being discussed. Perhaps the topic is about a border dispute between two neighboring countries, in this case we would have to select the countries that are involved in the border dispute and the major supporters of each country's claim, or the entire committee would be missing a fundamental understanding of the topic. For some committees, only a couple countries are considered most relevant to the topic, while other more amorphous topics are relevant to all countries. To fill the remaining positions, we try to ensure that countries that are often not represented are selected. This year, in particular, we made a concerted effort to increase the representation of Sub-Saharan African nations across our committees as we feel that we have poorly represented these countries in the past.
In terms of how we assign countries to schools, we look to give schools a variety of different countries, geographically, culturally, and politically. However, we must balance this variety against not concentrating the most relevant countries for a topic with a single school. In the case of a committee debating a border dispute between 2 countries, we would not assign a school both countries involved. We would look to assign those countries to different schools so as to prevent delegates from cooperating before attending the conference. We want the ideas developed and reflected in a resolution to come from time spent in the committee, not the result of collusion in advance of the conference between delegates from the same school. That being said, if specific countries are requested by schools, we try to give those countries if they are available, while also throwing in other countries so that schools have a good mix of perspectives to represent. We want delegates to learn about an issue from a different perspective than the one they are most accustomed to arguing.
Striking a good balance between the perspectives represented in committee can be difficult. Often times we are left wanting to include additional countries that did not make the cut. We take the process of country selection in our General Assembly, Ad-Hoc and Local committee simulations very seriously. Additionally, our country assignment process is as fair as possible and we work to ensure that all delegations, both large and small, enter a committee with equal footing.