What makes a negotiation more effective? Majority rules? Or consensus?
I recently participated in the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) International Model United Nations Conference (WIMUN) in New York with the AUSMUN Travel Team. For myself and many of my colleagues who are experienced MUN delegates, this was an unprecedented challenge.
Unlike the previous MUN conferences we participated in, the resolution-making process at WIMUN was consensus-based, not on majority votes. Meaning, everybody in the conference room had to agree to a resolution in order for it to be passed. This technique was more time-consuming and nerve-wracking, but nearing the end of the conference, I began to appreciate this process more.
During one of the training workshops held prior to the conference, our instructor divided us into teams of two, with the goal of creating a pizza. A simple task? Not entirely! Each team had a set of conditions that necessitated what should and shouldn’t be included in the pizza, and the conditions of many teams often conflicted with one another, creating a stalemate situation. The only solution was to make sacrifices, while insisting on the fundamental conditions. While the pizza we ended up with was completely different from the one we had in mind before the negotiations, it satisfied everybody, not just the majority. Additionally, it had what everybody wanted, the pizza didn’t include an ingredient disliked by some just because the majority liked it.
While the pizza-making scenario was simple, in essence, it resembled the nature of the negotiations and resolution writing at the WIMUN conference. Reaching a resolution was particularly difficult due to the conflicting ideologies and interests of the representatives present in the conference room, especially with the self-imposing nations that would go at all costs to achieve their goals at the cost of other nations’ satisfaction.
As a lifelong critic of the United Nations and its ineffective actions, this conference completely changed my view on it. A consensus-based conference was a more realistic representation of the UN and the arduous tasks presented before it.
Inspired by the WIMUN conference, and the productive negotiation process that was stemmed out of it, AUSMUN will now introduce a consensus-based committee in the Security Council to ensure a more realistic stimulation of the United Nations.
The upcoming AUSMUN conference is February 25-27, 2016
To register, or know more, please access our website AUSMUN.org
To find out more about AUSMUN:
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