JCC: training staff to think on their feet

Working on a Joint Crisis Committee (JCC) isn't your typical model UN (MUN) experience. The ritual raising of placards is replaced with international espionage, fast-paced decision-making, and incessant debates -- all aimed at outmaneuvering the other.

“Creativity and organization are essential in order to be a JCC staffer,” said the committees' director, Benjamin Pan. With unique topics, it is important to think on your feet in order to keep up with the speed of this committee, he said.

JCC consists of two independent subcommittees: Fueling the Future: Exxonmobil vs. Sinopec and the Xinjiang Region: People’s Republic of China vs. East Turkestan Independence Movement. The decisions made and actions taken immediately affect the evolving crisis at hand, providing an experience like no other.
While the complexity of JCC is consistent year-to-year, this 2015 committees look forward, rather than back.

“We do not have any historical committees this year," said Pan. "Instead, we chose a more futuristic position, which gives way to explore different scenarios and provides a scope for improved debate.” Debating issues surrounding both ongoing conflict and potential challenges in the future results in spreading awareness of pressing issues that often go ignored, and gives students to have a "say" in the future of the world.

“This year we have the opportunity to write history instead of just be a part of it and I think that’s pretty great,” said JCC staffer Anah Mirza of the topics.

During a November 21 training session, JCC staffers were given the chance to "try out" the two topics, giving them an opportunity to interact with one another before choosing the group they favored the most. Each staff member is responsible for coming up with a different crisis situation to offer delegates an unpredictable, volatile, and undoubtedly exciting experience. Most of the discussions revolve around creative ways to present the crisis situation to the delegates.
“JCC is definitely the most energetic committee to be a part of, which is why it was my only option,” said Mirza, who worked in conference services last year.  

The job of a JCC staffer is a tedious one: while they need to be quick on their feet, they must also have an academic background and competent research abilities, as they are responsible for setting the backdrop for debate.

Pan said his staff's skills really improve over the course of the conference.
"Since organization and management are key, the staff see themselves become more efficient especially in those areas,” he said. Along with discussing matters of association and crisis development, members of the committee seem to have become a sort of family and are without a doubt one of the liveliest committees in the conference.