Whether you heard about it from the United Nations, your school, the over 500,000 students that do Model UN each year, or an episode of Parks and Recreation, Model UN is a rapidly growing activity for students around the world. Whether you’re in elementary school or university, and whether you’re interested in health, technology, peacebuilding, or human rights, there’s a Model UN conference and committee for you. Model UN is a transformational, cross-cultural activity that helped celebrities, Supreme Court justices, and even the UN Secretary General get where they are today, but what exactly is Model UN.
At a Model UN conference, you become a World Leader for a weekend. As a Model UN “Delegate”, you take on the role of a representative of another country to the United Nations, where you will argue for the policies of that country on your assigned topic, and eventually write a resolution on behalf of your assigned country. This means you have to put yourself in the shoes of an international diplomat and learn the issues facing another country, as well as how they would respond to that issue.
As a Model UN delegate representing your country, you will participate in a “committee” with assigned topics. You may learn about access to technology in developing countries, how sports can help promote peace, how to reduce the risk of nuclear war, or how the world can come together to stop the threat of global climate change. It will be your job to decide what the UN should do about these issues, and lead the other delegates in your committee to approve your “resolution”- your document of solutions to the issue.
Most of a Model UN conference is based in your “committee”. where you will debate and discuss your topic, and ultimately write your resolution. Your committee is a room of 10-400 delegates, though usually 20-50, who are representing countries just like you are. Throughout the conference you will be led by your “Dais”, the conference staff that is there to make sure committee is orderly and that you are having a good experience. There are many different types of staff roles, however you will be led by a “Chair” who helps guide your committee through debate, and the other members of staff will help your Chair maintain control of your committee. These staff are there to help you, so feel free to write them notes to ask questions, or ask them for help before or after committee; they’ll be happy to help you have the best time possible!
Why Model United Nations?
The Educational Experience
Students in Model UN gain a wide range of skills and information critical to their success in high school, college, and beyond. Students learn public speaking and deliver their first speech in front of an audience. They hone their research skills and synthesize information from all over the world. They practice how to write policies, and learn about cultures they never even knew existed.
However just as importantly, students will learn critical social skills that will help them throughout life. Whether it’s learning to discuss complex issues and compromise, or learning how to be a leader for the first time, many students will “find their voice” through Model UN, and realize their leadership potential and social ability. Model UN helps students build the Confidence to succeed.
Access to the UN, NGOs, and incredible keynote speakers
Model UN is enormous with over half a million students participating each year. UN Officials, NGOs, business leaders, and public figures have taken notice, and actively engage with these students. Officials from the UN Department of Public Information and organizations around the world teach students Model UN, even help MUNers on their path to college, internships, and careers! Students often get to meet incredible leaders who deliver the Keynote Address at Model UN Conferences— notable keynote speakers include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Director of the FBI, and even Pope Francis! Model UN introduces students to a global Community of leaders.
College and Careers
Model UN helps students on their paths to college and careers – from our MUN programs alone, we’ve had dozens of students go on to Ivy League universities, and MUNers fill youngest generation of employees at the UN, Foreign Services around the world, and a wide range of the most prestigious careers around the world. We’ll talk even more about how Model UN can help students get into college later on! Model UN gives students the ideas and tools they need to make real Change in the world.
And of course, M-U-N is F-U-N!