Position Papers

Position papers are mandatory and due by the first day of conference weekend (April 19) to your committee chair. Any position papers submitted at least 2 weeks in advance (by April 4) will receive feedback from the committee chair by conference weekend. Please email position papers and any questions directly to your committee chair, whose emails can be found on your committee's background guide on the website. During conference weekend, you may also hand in a hard copy to your chair.

CMUNC requires position papers for all committees. Writing a position paper is an important part of the process of establishing an understanding of your country's stance on the topics to be debated, and provides a great opportunity to concisely organize your thoughts and ideas. If at any time you have a question while writing your position paper, you are encouraged to email your chair.

What to Research

  1. Your country's history and background on the topic, as well as past positions on the issues the committee is addressing.
  2. Try and find quotes and writings from current leaders in your country in order to find out where your country currently stands on your committee's topics, as well as to provide support for your national position.
  3. Look for statistics and other relevant facts that support your country's position. Also look at some of what the opposition is saying in order to organize responses to inevitable disagreements.
  4. Find out what actions your country has taken so far, and what actions it is currently considering on the topic.
  5. Research what treaties and resolutions concerning your committee's topics your country has already signed/ratified, and what additional international actions your country has either supported or opposed thus far.

General Guidelines for Position Paper Writing

  1. Stick to the topics set forth for the committee in the background guide. Please steer away from giving a history of your country and listing facts about your country, unless you can explain why that history or those facts are relevant to the committee's topics.
  2. Avoid using "I" in the position paper. Use phrases like "The United States believes...." You are not representing yourself, but a country!
  3. Avoid giving background on the topics unless the background pertains to your country's specific position.
  4. Be sure your country's stated position on a topic is clearly stated and if applicable, explain how the issue affects your country.
  5. The best position papers usually concisely, but clearly, explain your country's stance on the given topics.
  6. Also use the position paper as an opportunity to display some of your ideas for actions to be taken. While undoubtedly you will change these proposals throughout the course of debate, having some picture of how you would like to see an issue acted upon will get you off to a great start. Ultimately, you need to understand your country's goals and how the positions of other countries affect the attainment of those goals.
  7. Make sure your thoughts are well organized. If they aren't organized in the paper, then they might not be organized in your head (and consequentially, in debate) either.
  8. Get an early start on your position paper. Ideally you should start researching as soon as you find out your country and committee assignment. This will then give you ample opportunity to contact your chairs if you find you need assistance.
  9. Give yourself time to edit your position paper. Leave it alone for a little while and come back and read it the next day. You never know what new perspective you might have by simply re-reading what you've written.
  10. Please remember to cite your sources! It is important that others get credit for their contributions to your position paper. Plagiarism is a violation of academic integrity and is not tolerated at CMUNC.
  11. Position papers should be 2 pages double spaced per topic in 12pt Times New Roman font with 1" margins.

**Note for crisis committees: What is appropriate for a position paper may vary by committee. There may or may not be set topics for a committee, and as such it may be acceptable to ignore some, if not all, of these guidelines for your position papers, depending on the committee. Position paper guidelines for crisis committees will be outlined in those respective background guides.**