Model United Nations

Model United Nations (MUN) is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda.

Through simulating deliberative bodies within the U.N. system and other international institutions, Model United Nations is considered as one of the most gradual educational strategies that help to engage youth in world issues. Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations where students play the role of delegates from different countries and attempt to solve real world issues using the policies and perspectives of their assigned country. Model United Nations conferences began as early as 1923 with simulated sessions of “The League of Nations”. MUN is held in many countries of the world.

Each year about 60,000 secondary and university students participate in Model United Nations program worldwide. Each program is run independently, but goals common to all are to increase international understanding and develop the art of peaceful negotiation

The participants role-play as diplomats representing a nation or NGO in a simulated session of a committee of the United Nations, such as the Security Council or the General Assembly. Participants research a country, take on roles as diplomats, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems. More recently, simulation of other deliberative bodies, such as the United Nations Security Council, has been included in Model United Nations. In some Model United Nations, the participants that are considered to be most contributing are given awards.

During a conference, participants must employ a variety of communication and critical thinking skills in order to represent the policies of their assigned country. These skills include public speaking, group communication, research, policy analysis, active listening, negotiating, reaching consensus, conflict resolution, note taking, and technical writing. Model United Nations groups exist to develop these skills and are usually organized as either a club, conference, or class. A conference is a wide, local, regional or international gathering of Model United Nations students who come together over a period between one and five days.

In recent decades Model United Nations has greatly matured and expanded. It is now practiced all over the world by elementary, secondary, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. Some simulations are small, including members of only a single class. For example, 20 students can do a one-hour simulation of the (15-member) United Nations Security Council in their classroom.

Other simulations can be very large, involving many committees and taking place over the span of several days. The majority of conferences generally involve anywhere from 50 to several hundred delegates, with most students living around that one region. The largest conferences, such as THIMUN, NMUN, HMUN can have thousands of participants from many different countries.