Expert Witness Role

Expert Witnessess

Witnesses play a key role in the Model Senate Hearing because they are experts on the topics that the subcommittees discuss, and their expertise is the basis for formulating the resolution that will become U.S. policy. Witnesses testify about their knowledge of the topics and offer their perspectives about future possibilities (hypothetical events, trends or policies) related to their assigned topics that the U.S. may soon face.  They also answer questions about their testimony from senators.  Examples of witnesses include high-level government officials, leaders of foreign nations, ambassadors, foreign ministers, State Department officials, scholars, think-tank analysts, corporate executives, and journalists.

If you are chosen to represent a witness, the World Affairs Council has assigned you to represent a real-life person at the Model Senate program.  You may share this role with another student, but both of you should participate fully in preparing for and delivering your witness testimony. 

A witness must:

  • Research his or her assigned role and his or her writings and position on the topic;
  • Write a draft of his or her proposed testimony and submit it to Council staff by Tuesday, February 25, 2020 (upload to your school's shared Google Classroom folder);
  • A witness’s testimony consists of a 30-second prepared statement that addresses key facts or issues about the topic that should be shared with the subcommittee.  It includes the following components: 1) a short biography of the witness; 2) background information about the topic; and 3) future possibilities related to the topic that the U.S. may encounter and his or her recommendations for how the U.S. should shape its foreign policy decisions accordingly.  Review the Tips on Testifying Before a Legislative Committee YouTube video (6:38) and Writing an Effective Witness Testimony worksheet  for assistance in preparing your testimony;
  • Be prepared to read your prepared testimony during the morning session and respond to senators’ questions (practice makes perfect - find a friend that you can practice in front of and who can offer helpful public speaking tips);
  • Listen to the other testimonies and record notes and observations on the Recording Witness Testimonies worksheet; and
  • Submit one or two statements the day of the program that summarize his or her testimony that senators can use to write the resolution.

Important Deadlines:

Using the 'Writing an Effective Witness Testimony' worksheet, and after reviewing the Tips on Testifying Before a Legislative Committee YouTube video, your Witness Testimony is due to Council staff by Tuesday, February 25, 2020.  Please upload to your school's Google Drive folder.