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Frequently Asked Questions


What is HELIMUN?
HELIMUN (Helsinki International Model United Nations) is a Model United Nations conference, where students simulate United Nations -like conditions. The aim of the Model United Nations is to seek, through discussion and debate, solutions to problems of the world such as human rights and disarmament issues. Students participating in MUN learn how the real United Nations works, what lobbying, formal debate, and resolutions are and why they are important when they try to solve problems. They can also practice their language skills (the language of most MUN conferences is English) and hopefully give them an understanding of the world’s problems. HELIMUN takes place at Kulosaaren Yhteiskoulu (KSYK, Helsinki, Finland) every May.

How can I participate?
HELIMUN is mandatory for KSYK 9th graders, but is not restricted to only them. Upper Secondary students of both KSYK and other schools and Lower Secondary students from other schools can participate in the conference.

How can I become a Student Officer?
All Student Officers have attended at least one HELIMUN (or equivalent) conference before as delegates. The application process happens through this website, and the applying time for next year’s conference is usually in September or October. The Student Officers will also be more than happy to answer any questions about being a Student Officer.

What is a policy statement?
A policy statement is a short document outlining the opinion of your delegation concerning a specific issue (i.e. for each topic, you should prepare a policy statement) as well as an idea how your delegation feels this opinion could be implemented when debating on the issue and preparing resolutions. In HELIMUN a delegate can be asked by the Student Officers to read out the policy statement of their respective delegation, if they feel it is necessary. Policy statements also provide a good base upon which to build speeches and points of information.

Can I wear jeans?
The dress code in HELIMUN is formal. This means jeans are not suitable for the conference and gives a bad impression of you. The same applies to trainers, sneakers, caps and t-shirts, to mention a few. A proper attire for boys would be a suit – if you don’t own one, borrow from a friend or a relative. For girls, a blazer and a knee-length skirt or black trousers are fine.

What should I do before HELIMUN?
Your civics teacher or HELIMUN coordinator should give you information what is obligatory for you to do before the conference, but there are a few things everyone should do in preparation for the conference:
1. Get to know your topics (start with the Research Reports prepared by the Student Officers)
2. Get to know the opinion of the delegation you represent
This will help you when you are actually debating and will also make your HELIMUN conference more enjoyable!

I’m representing a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and I heard that I can’t vote. What’s the point to participate in HELIMUN if I can’t vote?
Although NGOs nominally have no power at all in the Committees, they have a really interesting role to play. NGOs often have a very strong stance on issues such as nature protection and carbon emissions and their task is to win the opinions of other delegations on their side. To be a good NGO delegate, you need to be really active in pre-lobbying (see pre-lobbying elsewhere in this FAQ section). Being an active speaker on the floor can also win you some votes.

What is GA2?
GA2 is the Second Committee of the General Assembly, which is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. In HELIMUN, the issues discussed in GA2 are environment-related issues.

I’m the Ambassador of France. What does it mean?
Being an ambassador is a honour and you should treat that nomination with respect. Ambassadors are responsible not just for themselves but for the entire delegation. Giving a short (1-minute) mandatory opening speech in the opening session of the General Assembly is one of the most visible duties of an ambassador. On rare occasions, ambassadors might be called upon during committee sessions to deliver a speech in a committee different from their own. To prepare for this, ambassadors should acquire a basic knowledge of the issues debated in those committees where the delegation has no representative (including the International Court of Justice).

What does ”to abstain” mean?
Abstaining means that you are neither in favour nor against the resolution you are debating on. A possible reason for abstaining could for instance be that you feel your knowledge of the topic is limited and that expressing a clear stance in favour or against would not be a good idea. Remember that you cannot abstain when voting on amendments (changes on the original resolution).

Do we have any breaks?
The Student Officers will allocate suitable times for breaks between debates. You will also have a lunch break on both days of the conference.

Where can I find information concerning the topics?
The first thing you should do is to read the Research Reports, which the Student Officers have prepared for each topic. They will help you to get a basic knowledge on the issue in question and instruct you where to look for more information.

What is pre-lobbying?
Pre-lobbying is basically trying to convince others to agree with you on an issue. It might sound like a piece of cake, but can turn out to be the most challenging thing you face in HELIMUN. There is some allocated time for pre-lobbying on the first day of the conference, but doing some work beforehand with your fellow delegates can come in handy. If you really want to have the opinion of your delegation visible in the conference, pre-lobbying is an effective way to improve your chances in doing that.

I don’t know what to do. Who can help me?
Before the conference, you can ask help from your civics teacher or HELIMUN coordinator. Another good option is to contact the Student Officers, either the Secretary General (SG), Deputy Secretary General (DSG), President of the General Assembly (PGA), or the chairs / presidents of your committee. During the conference you can always send a note to the chairs of your committee if you are unsure what to do, or speak with them during the break time.

How do I begin a speech?
A speech begins with addressing the house, in order of importance. For example ”Dear Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, honourable Chairs and fellow delegates” would be suitable in the plenary sessions of the conference, whereas ”Honourable chairs and fellow delegates” is just fine in the Committees. After addressing the house, you can move on to whatever you want to say in your speech. Remember to end your speech with a thank you.

What does the registrar do?
The registrar is a judge who is responsible for keeping track of what is going on in the International Court of Justice. The tasks of the registrar include e.g. receiving, labeling and distributing written evidence. In a way the registrar is the most vital person in the ICJ, because without her/him the court can’t function properly.

I’ve been asked to be a witness at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). How do I prepare?

You will be contacted by the advocates of the two parties involved. They will explain and guide you so that you can succeed as a witness. Look into the case handled by the ICJ so that you can state your country’s/organisation’s point of view concerning the case. Remember that you can’t invent facts, if you have none. You need to always speak the truth since you are under oath. If you don’t know something, you just say: ‘I don’t know’.