Contrasting Commonly Used Terms in Traditional (North American) Model UN vs. THIMUN (European).
Everyone will always tell you - walk into the committee prepared. Know your committees procedure, know your topic, your country's stance on it, know your bloc, know your proposed solutions, etc. Before staring an MUN, it's very important to become acquainted with the basic terms and phrases used both before and during the conference.
But even after 12 years in MUN (and having tried traditional MUN throughout this time), when I started working with a THIMUN conference in 2014, I couldn't help but notice the slight, and sometimes notable differences between both conference styles. It took me a while to actually pinpoint any and all variations.
Aside from the leadership & reporting structure, the phases/ steps of progression of both conferences, the heavy focus on awards in North America vs. the zero award policy that defines the THIMUN Philosophy, one of the first differentiating factors, is the terminology -- The commonly used terms.
The guide below is one I developed to try to contrast between the most famous terms used in each MUN platform, and its equivalent in the counterpart platform.
Take a look at this comparison guide below:
Among the general similarities , there are certainly a few notable differences. I'll try to highlight the ones that hold the most significance, at least in my point of view,
Leadership titles - The "dream position" has a different name: One of the first things you'll notice, are the titles assigned to the student secretariat. In North America, the term "staff" is the one used most frequently when referring to the organizing team, the "hot shots", the ones everyone looks up to and wants to be. The term is also interchangeable with "secretariat". In THIMUN however, the title is "student officer". Trust me, to an MUNer, the title of the position they dream of filling one day, makes a huge difference. Having been an integral part of the social sphere of both MUN circuits, I can tell you, to an aspiring young MUNer, the title of the dream position has a special zing, an electrifying effect, every-time its heard. To me, it was worth pointing out.
Caucus Vs. Lobbying:
A crucial difference. North American MUN uses the term "Un-moderated Caucus", while THIMUN uses the term "Lobbying". Aside from the fact that the terminology differs, lobbying in THIMUN starts right after opening speeches (referred to as formal debate in Traditional (N.A). MUN, where the speakers list is used), while Un-mod in Traditional (N.A.) MUN, starts after moderated caucus (debate without a speakers list) has taken some time.
The Approval Panel:
Another difference in THIMUN conferences is the presence of an approval panel, made up of teachers/ THIMUN directors, who formally review any draft resolutions (who would be referred to as working papers in Traditional MUN in this case) before they are cleared and passed on to the committee to propose amendments on.
Other differences include: the term research report on the committee topic, as opposed to background guide (which took some getting used to for me), the term THIMUN Director, as opposed to Faculty Adviser, and finally, the overall spirit of THIMUN style conferences, that is defined, by the zero awards policy.
So, that's it for the basic terminology differences between Traditional (North American MUN) and THIMUN. Hope you found it useful!
Make sure to keep following my other blogs on this topic. And feel free to reach out to us in the comment section below for any questions or feedback! We'd love to hear from you.