An article written during EurasiaMUN as Editor in Chief of EurasiaNews.

photo by Ivo Näpflin

Chairpersons – Masters of Time

Oscar Solera, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations, shared yesterday some of his UN experiences with the chairpersons of EurasiaMUN.

Contrary to what many conceive the roll of a chairperson to be, Solera assured that a chair will always influence the outcome of a committee session.

This is evident, because besides being the leader of a meeting, a chairperson is also a representative of their state.

Obviously, in order to be respected by the assembly, a chair must not take advantage of their role. Nonetheless, they still have in their hands a variety of powerful tools to influence the direction of the discussions.

For instance, a chairperson may choose to adjourn a meeting, directly communicate with delegations or propose their own papers.

This can go as far as having the power to stop time. UN chairpersons sometimes ask the secretariat, Solera told, to stop the clocks in conference rooms to "gain" time.

As this anecdote demonstrates, there are no simple rules for being a good chairperson. Mr. Solera therefore advised the EurasiaMUN chairs to not simply follow the procedures, but rather to be creative and try out things, especially so in a MUN. This of course applies to delegates, as well.

Ivo Näpflin, EurasiaNews, August 6, 2008