If you are interested in diplomacy, there is probably no better way to get a feel of what it is like than participating in a Model United Nations. MUN is a student simulation of the work and processes of the United Nations in which students are assigned to represent a country in one of the many UN’s committees. Similarly, to the real UN, the goal of MUN is to create solutions to global issues by negotiation, cooperation and agreement.
While learning about diplomacy and international relations is on the top of the learning outcomes of MUN, there are many other reasons why you should consider joining MUN. Not convinced yet? Then, here is a list of other things -besides diplomacy- that you will get out of a MUN conference:
1. Become More Globally Aware
Attending a MUN conference is one of the most effective ways to make you a more active and aware global citizen. Since MUN is a diplomatic simulation in which students roleplay delegates and committees of the United Nations, students are expected to research about various global issues even before the actual conference begins. The participants must also be able to understand the different views on an issue in order to debate and fight for the interests of the delegation they are representing. As a result, participants find out that there are still many concerning problems around the world that need to be addressed and resolved. More importantly, by learning how much there is to improve in the world, students become motivated to take a stand and create change even after the conference has ended.
2. Meet New People
One of the most exciting things about MUN is meeting people from all types of backgrounds. MUN conferences usually invite many schools and universities from other countries and try to make the environment as diverse as possible. The conferences provide a welcoming and friendly environment that makes it easy for participants to openly exchange ideas and learn from each other. At the same time, MUN conferences usually include social events in their programs. These events are great opportunities for the participants to set aside the formalities and get to know each other on a more personal level. With so much time together, I can assure that by the end of the conference you will have made a couple of new friends.
3. Develop Your Skills
There is no way you will come out of a MUN conference without having expanded your skill set. Whether you participate in MUN as a delegate, an organizing member, or as part of the media team, there is one thing you can be certain about: you will push your limits. To delegates, MUN requires them to overcome their fears of public speaking, practice their writing skills, initiate discussions and work in teams. To the organizing team, MUN demands them do whatever is necessary to make the conference a successful and rewarding experience; which often includes expanding their communication, time management, teamwork and interpersonal skills. Or in my case as the head of the media team, MUN gave me the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills such as learning how to use video editing software, how to place lights, how to write a script and of course, how to use a green screen.
4. Become a Leader
One of the most important parts of MUN conferences is writing resolutions – written documents that address a specific problem or issue. These resolutions are drafted by delegates and voted on by the committee. However, there is only one main submitter and being the main submitter is a remarkable achievement in a MUN conference. For this reason, MUN can be very competitive and participants are encouraged to demonstrate leadership skills. This is a great exercise for those of us who are not very comfortable taking the first step. For MUN conferences are platforms in which everyone must be respectful, diplomatic and approachable. And even if you do not become the main submitter, you can always be part of the drafting process by teaming up with other delegates to write the resolution, offering suggestions and helping with the editing.
5. Have a Good Time
While MUN conferences try to be as realistic as possible, there is also plenty space for fun. Being formal and diplomatic all day can get exhausting. So, every now and then someone in a committee session will have the need to make a joke, break in a dance or make a great personification. This is not only funny, but it is also very helpful in taking away the seriousness and start to feel more comfortable around other delegates.
So, are you now ready to join MUN?
If you would like to learn more about what MUN is all about you can go to http://www.webmun.org or watch the trailer of the latest Webster Model United Nations below.