Usually the Chairperson is a student officer who is very experienced with the Model United Nations. The Chairperson will sit at a table at the front of the room facing the other Delegates, and may well be accompanied by a Deputy Chair or Co-Chair. There may be a microphone and speakers provided if the conference is large enough.
A Chairperson will keep track of time, keep track of which Delegates have spoken, keep track of whether the debate is in time for or time against, and decide what is, or what is not, in order.
Roles of the ChairpersonEdit
The following list of Roles and Responsibilities is by no means complete or required, it is only meant to be indicative of the various tasks that a Chairperson might undertake. Each conference will have its own set of expectations of each Chairperson.
At the start of a conference, the Chairperson should take a register of all of the participants.
The total allowed time for speakers wishing to speak for the topic or against it should be set out before the debate starts. This can include the permitted amount of time for each speaker, for each amendment and for each question.
After each and every speaker, the responsibility for deciding who speaks next rests with the Chairperson. Making a note of who has spoken during the conference will help a Chairperson decide who to invite to speak next.
The Chairperson will also determine whether a speaker is allowed to yeild to another speaker. A Chairperson's skill in this area will make sure that the same delegates are not taking up all of the conference's time, and that every opinion has the chance of being heard.
Inviting Points of InformationEdit
At the end of a Delegate's speach, a Chairperson will ask them "if they are open to any points of information" - i.e. Questions. The Delegate will decide if they would like to be asked questions and if so, how many. The Chairperson can then invite other Delegates if they would like to ask questions, and then select which Delegates will make their points.
As an experienced Model United Nations student, it is expected that the Chairperson will know a lot about the procedures of the debate and about various subtleties of etiquette. If an inexperienced delegate makes a mistake (traditionally these are to do with "the third person") it is up to the Chairperson to correct them.
Having determined how much time is allowed for each section of the debate, the Chairperson bares the responsibility for making sure that these constraints are met.
From time to time, things in a Committee will get out of order. The Chairperson can bring around a return to normality by removing ("evicting") troublesome Delegates.
Sometimes a Delegate will say something that is out of order. For example they may insult another country, or threaten to declare war. The Chairperson has the power to demand that the Delegate withdraws their insults or threats, or face eviction.
Once the votes for any motion have been counted, the Chairperson announces the results, "With fifteen votes for and thirty three votes against, the resolution has not passed."