Step by step guide how to create your own conference – Marián Bellay (Gymnázium bilingválne, T.Ružičku Žilina)
Do you want to organize a model conference but you don’t know how to do it? If the answer is yes, this manual is for you. This plan was created during preparation of our own MEC conference (Model European Council) and it maps everything you must do to organize one.
How to start with the organisation?
At the beginning, ask one or two your friends for help. You need a team you can rely on. It’s good to have somebody who can help you with such a complex conference. You will form the Presidency. It is good to discuss your ideas with a group of people, but too big groups are usually not effective – if you are too many it will be hard to agree on something (you will see it during the conference).
How to choose the type of a conference?
The first thing you should do is to choose the type of your conference. It should reflect your goals. If you want to educate people about some war conflict or some global issue, United Nations simulation is what you want to do. If you prefer to discuss European policy, go for European Parliament or European Council. If you want just to have fun, you can solve some problem in a fantasy world (ex. Game of Thrones). Be sure to study how the model you have chosen works in reality. E.g. – We decided to do model European council, so we found out, that in every meeting of the EC are present President of the European Council, European Commission President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy. It is very important to be accurate when it comes to procedures of the institution because you are also showing to all participants how it works.
How to choose the language of a conference?
You should think about the language of your conference as well. Your mother tongue is good if your primary goal is to increase argumentation skills or knowledge of the participants. A foreign language is a nice choice because events like this really help all participants with their language skills but for somebody, it can be problematic to express his/her opinions. In the diplomatic world, we use a bit different vocabulary. In this case, it is necessary to be well prepared, some small practice committee where delegates could practise can be definitely very useful.
How to choose the date?
Set the date of your conference, half of the year ahead of an international conference or one month ahead of a school round. You need time to manage the location, sending invitations, find chairs (they need time to write a study guide), and create the web site. A standard duration is from 1 day (2 afternoons) for small school conferences with one committee to 3-5 days (multiple committees and general assembly + closing ceremony).
What to do next?
Discuss the rules and procedures of your new conference. You can start with reading rules from another similar event and in the case you find them inconvenient in some way, modify them. In this rules, you will present general information (parliamentary procedure), the role and duties of the delegates during the conference (representing country, writing position paper and if you like draft resolutions as well), how the committees work (moderated/unmoderated caucus – speakers time), how to create a resolution (practical advice), what is the General assembly, you will set rules of voting procedure and also a list of useful vocabulary is recommended.
You can have multiple committees and in every committee, you can have a different topic. At least 12 delegates should be in every committee. If there are less, there is a chance the dialogue will stop at some point. On the other hand, too many delegates in one committee can result in a situation, where there won’t be enough time for all delegates to express their opinion.
Now you have a general idea about how your conference will look like. Start to promote it! If you plan a big simulation, a website is necessary. Probably you have no idea how to create it. Our advice is that you can ask your friends who are interested in computers whether they can help. If you don’t know anybody and your IT teacher isn’t open to help you, find some guides on Youtube. It’s not too difficult to follow instructions from one of many videos available. One way or another, announce it to the directory of your school. Events like this are usually very welcome.
Formation of the final team
It’s time to bring together complete staff team. You need a director general, somebody who controls everybody from staff and who is in charge of the conference. Then, every committee needs a chair and deputy chair as well. They will be in charge of committees, if you agree, they can choose the topic, they will write the study guide for delegates (to explain and clarify the topic), and check the position papers and they will lead the committee to create the resolution. Then you need at least one page in every committee, multiple in General assembly room and some to prepare coffee breaks and print documents. It’s good to have one responsible person as a head page – he/she will manage all pages. You also need a handy technical support team which will set computers and help with possible technical problems (most likely there will be some). Don’t forget General assembly president, he/she will moderate a discussion in the GA.
How much does it cost?
Having a goodwill and motivation is perfect, but you can’t do anything without money. If you study in a European Union member state, the best possible way how to find money is to ask the Erasmus + program to finance it. You can get some money from your school or different founds as well (e.g. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung). Participants can pay the fee as well but we don’t recommend setting the fee too high.