What is Model United Nations ?

by lindatrautman on September 1, 2010

Jefferson Liu next to the UN FlagThere are very few student activities which generate as much intellectual excitement, creativity and responsibility as the Model United Nations (MUN) conferences.  These international conferences for students are simulations of the United Nations meetings in New York and Geneva and include all Member states of the UN, Observer nations, and many non-governmental organisations.  Several of the largest conferences includes over 3500 students from around the world. Student officers chair and run the conference sessions using the same debating rules as those used at the United Nations sessions in New York. The resolutions which are drawn up by students are often sent to New York, and the former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, even attended an MUN conference several years ago!!!!  Thus, the voices of students are taken seriously on the world stage!

Each school is assigned a member country by the organisers of a Model United Nations.  Student delegates then represent the member nations of the United Nations from the perspective of that country.  Therefore student delegates need to thoroughly know the country’s policies and views.  Students begin by researching all aspects of the country before attempting to formulate resolutions which will be debated.

The Model United Nations conference is organised much like the United Nations in New York.  Students represent the country on a UN Committee and becoming the spokesperson on that Committee.    The agenda items discussed in the Committees correspond to those on the agendas of the same committees at the United Nations in New York.

Voting ProceduresAfter preparing the country research and an understanding of the committee issues, students write resolutions (according to UN guidelines) which they will take to the Model United Nations session.  The first day of lobbying is a chaotic, but exciting one:  delegates gather together from their Committees and diplomatically introduce their resolutions – eagerly finding support for them from other Member states.  One highlight of the first days is the opening of the General Assembly, and the Opening Speeches given by the Ambassadors of each Member country.  The Committees then meet and debate the resolutions and member countries vote on them.  Throughout the conference students must represent the views of the country they are officially representing.

All students will also be responsible for researching, writing and typing all resolutions in their own time and during our weekly meetings.   Students are encouraged to use outside libraries and the United Nations website, as well as periodicals and magazines and information at MUN sites now found on the Internet.  When we receive our country assignment please clip any articles you might see on our country.  The news items will help keep our students informed of current policies and trends.





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