Frequently Asked Questions
Introduction to the Conference
What is SSUNS?
- Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium (SSUNS) is Canada’s largest high-school level Model United Nations conference, hosting over 1300 students every November in downtown Montreal. For 27 years, SSUNS has been organised by over 500 students from McGill University. With 27 committees, including two bilingual committees and one francophone committee, SSUNS offers a wide variety of interesting and appealing topics.
When is SSUNS 2018 and where is it located?
SSUNS 2019 will take place from Thursday, November 14th to Sunday, November 17th, 2019, with Registration taking place between 10 AM and 5 PM on Thursday and Closing Ceremonies occurring early on Sunday morning. Late registrations/early departures can of course be arranged with our Chargée d’Affaires at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference this year will be located at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, a premier 4-star hotel located centrally within downtown Montreal. The hotel is also a short walk away from McGill Campus and the VIA Rail/Greyhound/Megabus terminals; delegates will have the option to take complementary guided tours of McGill Campus or of Montreal’s beautiful Old Port on the Friday morning. More information about the variety of tourist attractions in Montreal can be found here.
Delegates are highly encouraged to stay at the Sheraton using SSUNS’ discounted hotel room rates, as all committee sessions and social events will be taking place within the hotel itself. Please contact our Chargée d’Affaires at email@example.com with any questions about the Sheraton.
What is Model United Nations?
In an effort to simulate the real UN, delegates are invited to partake in four days of thought-provoking and informative discussions regarding real world issues, both present and historical. Model United Nations, or MUN, allows delegates to be well-informed about contemporary world issues, and then debate said issues with others, representing their respective positions during their conference. In this sense, MUN is an extremely valuable educational tool, and is often incorporated into the curriculum/syllabi of schools.
Upon registration, schools will be assigned a number of characters or countries in a series of committees. In the weeks (or months) leading up to the conference, delegates will learn more about the topic (and about their assigned country’s perspective on the topics) by reading through the conference-provided Background Guide (BG) in addition to their own research. At the conference, delegates will then engage in informed debate and work diplomatically on drafting resolutions and directives towards solving the issues at hand.
What are the different types of committees?
- SSUNS, as Canada’s largest high-school level MUN conference, has over 26 committees for beginners and veterans alike. There are 3 categories of committees- a) General Assemblies and Economic and Social Councils (GAs and ECOSOCs) are large committees dealing with important issues such as nuclear disarmament, the Peaceful uses of Outer space, and Canadian Senate Reform; b) Specialized Agencies (SAs) are medium-sized committees dealing with specialized (and sometimes historical) topics, such as the Commonwealth Games, and combating global security issues; c) Crisis committees are small committees/simulations also dealing with specialized issues, such as the Haitian Revolution, Daniel Ortega’s Council in Nicaragua following July of 1979, and the Democratic National Committee, 2020.
Preparing for Registration
Why should I register for SSUNS? What else does SSUNS offer?
- We at SSUNS truly believe in the educational value of our conference. Beyond the 27 committees we offer, delegates will also be able to engage in a wide variety of extra, complementary activities organized by the conference, including:
- Committee Speakers: Guest speakers are invited to committees to share their experience and knowledge. Past notable speakers include Kenneth Deer, Cindy Blackstock, Anthony Housefather and David Lametti.
- Workshop Series: During Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, delegates will have the opportunity to attend a variety of (optional) workshops hosted by clubs and speakers from the McGill and Montreal community. Past topics have included MUN 101, Introduction to GA, SA & Crisis and Crisis intensive, as well as panelists from various backgrounds.
- Tours of McGill Campus & Old-Port: Delegates will have the option to attend guided tours of McGill campus or of the historic Old-Port, on the Friday morning. SSUNS 2019 will feature expanded tours to new locations that delegates previously did not have the chance to see.
- Delegation Networking Event & Delegate Gala: Held on the Thursday and Friday nights respectively, delegates from around the world will be able to network and socialise over complimentary hotel hors d’oeuvres, while also engaging in fun activities such as our annual scavenger hunt.
- Delegation Pictures & Professional Headshots: an opportunity to keep everlasting memories of your time at SSUNS, for Delegates and Faculty Advisors alike.
- And much more!
How much does SSUNS cost and is there financial assistance available?
The prices for SSUNS registration can be found here.
Financial assistance is available on a needs basis. Applications for SSUNS Scholarships will be released in late September.
We have travel discounts with our Travel Partners, VIARail and WestJet, in order to make travel to the conference more affordable.
How do I register and pay for SSUNS?
In order to register for SSUNS, please fill out the registration form located here. From there, our Chargée D’Affaires, Adrianna, will be in contact with further information. Additionally, you will receive an email from our USG Finance, Charles, with an invoice and information on how to pay.
In terms of payment methods, SSUNS accepts cheques and online payments through Squarespace.
In terms of refunds, fees paid to SSUNS will be 100% refundable until August 1st 2019 and 50% refundable until October 11th, 2019. More information about payment methods and registration can be found by emailing our Chargée at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for the Conference
I have received my committee and country/character assignment. What do I do now?
- As one of your first steps, we highly recommend that you check out your committee’s background guide on our committees page that your Daises have put much effort into composing. The background guide will have outlined and explained a number of topics that will be debated at the conference.It is helpful to know your committee’s history, current events, and other subject matter that you think will be relevant during debate. Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to thoroughly research your character or country’s position relating to the topics chosen, their allies, policies, etc. A thoroughly researched delegate is often a well-spoken delegate, and your knowledge will be reflected in your speeches and interactions with fellow delegates.
- Your position paper is due 8:30 P.M. on Thursday, November 14th, 2019. More information about position paper guidelines will be posted in September 2019.
I have a question about my country/character or my committee. Who do I contact?
- If you wish to clarify something about your characters, committee or information in the background guide, please contact your Chair at the respective committee’s email address. You can find the individual committee emails on our committee page, by clicking on the appropriate committee. Also don’t forget to consult the committee background guide first if you have questions about research. Most Daises have already listed ‘Questions to Consider’ and ‘Helpful Research Links’ as part of their background guides.
Is there a dress code?
- All participants at SSUNS are required to wear full western business attire. We urge you to adhere to the dress code for all SSUNS events, such as the Opening/Closing ceremonies, committee sessions, public events, excluding the delegate social events and unless otherwise directed by your Dais. For the Delegate Gala, please use your discretion in dressing casually but appropriately. SSUNS staff reserves the right to remove delegates dressed inappropriately or offensively from the delegate social events.
Can I bring my own laptop?
- Yes! Although it’s not mandatory, it is recommended that you bring your own computer for research, to draft working papers, etc. outside of your committee sessions. Usage of laptops or portable electronic devices during sessions is subject to the individual discretion of Daises and it may be prohibited during selective or all committee sessions. There will be computers and printers available for conference-related uses, such as research, at our Delegate Resource Centre.
More information regarding Position Papers will be released in July.
SSUNS is unique in offering three gavel awards per committee that represent three “pillars” of successful diplomacy as identified by the organizers of the conference. Committees will present one award in each of the three categories to the delegates who best exemplify these essential behaviours. The gavel awards at SSUNS are named in honour of three exceptional Canadian diplomatic personalities who will hopefully provide guidance and inspiration to delegates.
All gavel awards to given equal weighting and are not listed in a ranked order. These awards will be considered equally towards the final Delegation Awards
The Nellie McClung Award for Advocacy -- “Get the job done and let them howl.”
- Nellie McClung (1873 – 1951) was a prominent Canadian suffragist who had campaigned fiercely for the democratic enfranchisement of women and eventually rose to a provincially elected politician. McClung is best known for leading the “Famous Five” to successfully lobby to allow women to be appointed to the senate. The inspiring story of Nellie McClung and the Famous Five sets a fine example of perseverance, integrity, strong advocacy, and 'working the system' for diplomats present and future.
- The "McClung Award" will be granted to recognize excellence in:
- Thorough and extensive research into committee topics
- Familiarity with the interests/foreign policy relevant to the represented position
- Realistic and successful advocacy of relevant interests/foreign policy
- Knowledge of and facility with the SSUNS rules of procedure
The Lester B. Pearson Award for Peacemaking -- “We need action not only to end fighting but to make peace.”
- Lester B. Pearson (1897 - 1972) was one of the most distinguished political figures in Canadian history. Former Secretary of State, President of the United Nations General Assembly, and later Prime Minister of Canada, Pearson is best remembered for conception of peacekeeping which ultimately earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. This, and many other achievements, grew into the tradition of 'Pearson Internationalism': a principle aspired to by many of his successors in the Foreign Service, and another worthy example of diplomatic conduct for delegates at SSUNS.
- The "Pearson Award" will be granted to recognize excellence in:
- Advancement of creative and realistic ideas
- Marked dedication to the success of strong, inclusive resolutions
- Embodiment of the true spirit of diplomacy - demonstration of exceptional ability in brokering consent and uncovering shared harmonies of interest with other delegates.
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Award for Diplomatic Finesse -- “Just watch me.”
- Pierre Elliot Trudeau (1919 – 2000) was one of Canada’s most successful and eccentric politicians, serving most famously as the Prime Minister of Canada in the midst of a re- emerging national unity crisis. Trudeau is best known for the adoption of the implementation of official bilingualism and the Multiculturalism Policy in Canada, as well as the institution of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which would revitalize our federation and redefine Canadian identity. Trudeau’s charisma and style invigorated Canadians in a manner better known as “Trudeaumania”, focusing Canadian ideals around social inclusivity. He has demonstrated that the intelligent use of charisma can translate into effective and lasting change – a lesson that all diplomats and politicians would do well to keep in mind.
- The "Trudeau Award" will be granted to recognize excellence in:
- Addressing the committee in an eloquent and persuasive manner
- Leading the committee with compelling and lucid debate
- Engaging the participation of other delegates through charismatic involvement in caucus
- The Book Award will be granted to delegates who:
- Embody the spirit of Model UN
- Display enthusiasm during committee session and contributes productively to debate
- Plays an active role throughout all topics is meticulously well-researched
- An Honourable Mention is granted to a delegate who performed exceptionally well in committee, but fell slightly short of the aforementioned awards' criteria. Committees with 20 or more delegates will have two delegates that receive Honourable Mentions, while the rest will have one.
During the Conference
What is the Delegate Resouce Centre (DRC)?
- Our Delegate Resource Centre (DRC) is available throughout the conference to answer any questions regarding the conference, the hotel and Montreal. Furthermore, the DRC offers affordable merchandise for delegates to purchase as a souvenir of their time at SSUNS. More information can be found here.
What do Room Blocks Mean?
- In order to facilitate travel in hallways, to/from rooms, elevators and escalators before and after committee sessions, we have organized each committee into Block A or Block B. Being in Block A simply means that you will be starting your committee sessions 15 minutes earlier and end as much earlier than Block B. Please refer to the delegate handbook for information on which block your committee has been assigned to.
Is there wifi?
- There will be complimentary wifi available for delegates on the Conference Level. Please refer to the PR updates at the Opening Ceremonies or visit the Delegate Resource Centre for the password. We urge you to refrain from remaining connected from several devices simultaneously in order to maintain satisfactory traffic for all attendees and staff. There is wifi in your hotel rooms as well, for which you do not need a password to access.
I lost my badge. Where do I go?
- You will need your badge for admission into any event during the conference and to receive discounts at select partner restaurants. If you lose your badge, please visit the Delegate Resource Centre located on the second floor.
Where is the Lost and Found?
- Any lost item returned will be made available for pick up in the Delegate Resource Centre.
Who do I contact in case of an emergency?
- Your faculty advisor should be your primary point of contact for all cases of emergency. If you wish to directly address an issue with the conference staff, please approach your Daises or any of our staff.