Q: What is Model United Nations?
Model United Nations is a simulation of the UN General Assembly and other multilateral bodies. In Model UN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors from UN member states to debate current issues on the organization’s agenda. While playing their roles as ambassadors, student “delegates” make speeches, prepare draft resolutions, negotiate with allies and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the Model UN conference rules of procedure – all in the interest of mobilizing “international cooperation” to resolve problems that affect countries all over the world.
Before playing out their ambassadorial roles in a Model UN simulation, students research the issue that their committee will address. Model UN participants learn how the international community acts on its concerns about topics including peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and hunger, economic development and globalization. Model UN delegates also look closely at the needs, goals and foreign policies of the countries they will represent at the event. The insights they gain from their exploration of history, geography, culture, economics and science contribute to the authenticity of the simulation when the role playing gets under way. The delegates’ in-depth knowledge of their countries guarantees a lively and memorable experience.
Q: How did Model UN begin?
While there is no official record of how Model UN began, we do know that Model UN is the successor of a series of student-led Model League of Nations simulations. Some people believe that the first Model UN conference was held at Harvard University, although other colleges claim they held the first conference. Regardless, simulations of international organizations began even before the birth of the United Nations!