Model United Nations, popularly known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation of the United Nations General Assembly. It is a place where students from different countries come together to play the role of delegates. They will also try to solve real-world issues and problems that we are currently facing through their appointed countries’ policies and perspectives.
For instance, let’s take a student who has been assigned to India. She must try to solve global issues such as climate change or nuclear arms limitation using India’s policies and perspectives. The primary focus of MUN is to establish global awareness of the current world issues and to give the students a chance to make new friends internationally.
How to get started?
- It would be best to look for teachers who can help you create an MUN club. Once you apply to join the MUN team, your school might assign a teacher as your faculty advisor. If no teacher is being posted, it is best to ask your social studies teacher to help with your club activities.
- After recruiting the necessary club members to your MUN team, you should start selecting conferences to attend as a club. In case you are wondering, there are currently about 400 conferences taking place around the world. You can surf the internet to find meetings for your team. It is wise to choose sessions near your school to reduce travel costs and expenditure for new clubs.
- Your faculty advisor should also get the school administration’s permission to attend the program.
- Your MUN team can participate in multiple conferences if the students desire to do so. But if your team is starting anew, attending one or two meetings is more than enough. It also could ensure the new team is not being overwhelmed with work. And a fun fact about conferences: new teams typically do not get the first pick on what country they will represent. It is not the case if you attend smaller meetings because your chances of getting the first pick are higher. Remember, picking a big country means that you will have more research and preparation to represent it.
- The next step for your team is to pick a conference date. After date selection, your group will get assigned to a country and committee that they will have to represent. Then slowly divide roles among the members and start exploring the issues at hand.
- It is beneficial for the team if the club members practice before attending any conferences.
- If you are struggling with setting up the club, you can get help from the MUN groups in your area and ask for a few pointers on how everything works. Some MUN conferences have additional services and assistance for delegate and advisor workshops.
What do I need to prepare for a MUN conference?
Once your MUN club has finished signing up for a conference, your team will get assigned to a country and committee. From that point onwards, your team will have to start researching and preparing for that particular country. They will also have to come up with policies and perspectives related to the topic at hand.
After you get the conference guide, you should learn about the following:
- Your country
- Your topic
- Your committee
- Past actions related to the country
- Your allies
When you start researching about the country, begin with the basics. Gather all the information you can about the country: heads of state, GDP, major military and political allies, any major conflicts that persist in or around your country, general foreign policy on various issues. Make a document about your stance on social rights, humanitarian rights, military intervention, etc. It would help if you also mapped out the countries you can work with during the conference.
Along with your research, you must find time to prepare for the following:
- Opening statement: The opening statement is the first speech you deliver when a specific topic is assigned to your team. During that time, your team must inform other delegates about your current position.
- Printed materials: Some of the MUN conferences will allow computers, whereas others might allow only paper materials for support. Anyway, it is essential for making your case more robust as the committee progresses.
- Ideas for clauses: Many high school MUN conferences require students to bring clauses in advance. These clauses must be practical and presentable with no emotional language involved.
These preparations might seem like it is a lot of work, but everything will fall into place when initiated in real-time. Participating in MUNs really builds your soft skills repertoire like researching, problem solving, public speaking, debating, lobbying and thinking on your feet. Not to mention the certificate of participation that you get and how great it looks on your CV.
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