FAQs: General Background

Q: What is a WHO simulation?

A: A WHO simulation is an educational event that allows participants to recreate the process of the World Health Assembly held at the World Health Organisation (WHO) at its Headquarters in Geneva. Throughout the event, participants focus on one overall theme, which here at Sheffield is “Outbreaks and Pandemics: Addressing the Next Crisis”, whilst also addressing further sub-questions that relate to the overall theme. Across the weekend, participants will be fulfilling a particular role out of four options: WHO Member States, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), pharmaceutical companies and the media. Through representing these roles, participants will be able to discuss, co-operate, and negotiate with other stakeholders in order to produce resolution papers that address the simulation theme.

Q: What is the WHA?

A: The WHA is the decision-making organ of the WHO, in which delegations from all WHO Member States attend and direct attention to a specific health agenda that has been formulated by the Executive Board. The WHA does not, however, only focus on this specific health agenda. It also takes on the following functions: determining the Organization’s politics; supervising the financial policies; reviewing and approving programme budgets that have been proposed; and appointing the Director-General to the WHO. For more information about the WHA, please visit http://www.who.int/about.

Q: I’m not a University of Sheffield student or alumnus. I’m not even a university student! Can I still attend?

A: SheffWHO is open to all current university students (both undergraduate and postgraduate), recent graduates and young professionals interested in global health. We even have delegates coming to join us from other continents! If you’re not sure if you fit these categories, or if this would be a suitable event for you, please get in touch with us at sheffwho2018@gmail.com.

Q: Is this event for “beginners”? I don’t have any experience with WHO simulations or model United Nations. Should I attend?

A: You’ll be pleased to know that approximately half of our currently registered delegates have told us that they don’t any experience in simulations at all! We’ll teach you what you need to know, and we’ll answer your questions if you’re unsure at any stage. If you’re interested in a career in global health, this is just one of the many benefits of attending SheffWHO: so that you have some experience under your belt before you are thrown in the deep end at a real WHA!

Q: I’m a little bit worried because I’m not a native English speaker! Will I be able to participate adequately? What level of language skills are required?

A: Even though we don’t have the resources to provide in-ear translations like they do at the real WHA, we still have great news for you: approximately a third of our current registered delegates are also non-native speakers of English! As long as you are able to read and understand position papers written in English, and have enough listening comprehension to follow debates, you will be fine. And of course you are allowed to bring dictionaries with you to SheffWHO. It’s not like it’s an exam!