In General Assembly, committees gather to work through the resolution booklet one resolution at a time through discussion, argument and reasoning. Delegates will assess whether the resolution is fit to pass, or whether it requires alteration, which usually results in a failure to pass, with the outcome decided by a vote. While you should be very proud if your resolution passes, you should not be disheartened if it does not. If you have stated your case and reasoned with your fellow delegates as best you can, nobody can ask for more. Remember, the outcome of the vote on your resolution makes no difference to whether you are selected.
HOW DOES GENERAL ASSEMBLY WORK?
General Assembly debate follows the same structure for every resolution.
The proposing committee will be invited (and will hopefully accept the invitation!) to make a three-minute defence speech.
Following this, committees will be asked to offer a three-minute attack speech. If the chosen committee does not use the full three minutes, the remaining time may be given to another committee bidding to attack.
The floor will then be open for debate. All committees should offer points throughout the debate, bearing in mind that every six to ten points or so, the proposing committee will be returned to in order to respond to the points raised in that round of open debate.
The debate will conclude with a three-minute summation speech from the proposing committee, which should address the key issues raised and answer any outstanding questions in a final bid to defend the resolution.
The result of the resolution is decided by a vote. Each committee will be asked to state their votes in favour, against and any abstentions. Delegates are encouraged to vote as individuals; the full committee does not need to vote the same way.
Please note that when voting, delegates are encouraged to vote in favour or against rather than abstaining. Abstentions should be avoided as far as possible, unless a delegate cannot give an opinion on the subject due to moral, religious or cultural reasons.
HOW DO THE PLACARDS WORK?
There are four main placards you will be using in GA:
Committee name placard: this one has the four-letter abbreviation which refers to your committee, and should be raised whenever anyone from the committee wishes to be recognised to make a point or deliver a speech, as well as alongside any of the below placards, so that the board knows which committee is raising the placard.
Direct response placard: each committee may use this placard once per debate in order to directly respond immediately to a point made by another committee. It can only be used in response to the most recent point made, and the board will make you aware of correct and incorrect usage of this placard. Using this placard encourages fast-paced and engaging debate, and is very much encouraged!
Point of personal privilege: if you cannot make out what someone is saying, you would raise this placard. Generally, this is because the microphone is being held too close or too far away, or if someone is speaking too fast. If the board agrees that the speaking was unclear, they will recognise your point of personal privilege and ask the speaker to repeat what they said.
Point of order: this placard is to be used if the board deviates from the scheduled order, such as by promising the next point to a certain committee, then skipping them and going to a different committee, or by recognising a committee for two Direct Responses in one debate. This placard alerts them to what they have done, so that the mistake can be remedied.
Remember to research all the resolution topics so you can contribute effectively to the debates. Amongst the heated discussions and cramping arm muscles from waving your placards around, remember that the point is to enjoy General Assembly! Being selected to attend Nationals is a great opportunity to air your views and discuss them with some of the brightest young minds of the country. Get your voice heard, and have fun!
It may be the culmination of the National Session, but General Assembly is not the be all and end all in EYP. The main thing is to remember what you have learned in Teambuilding and Committee Work, and most of all, to remember the people you have met.