What is Model UN?
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.
Who does Model UN?
The popularity of Model UN continues to grow and more than 400,000 middle school, high school and college/university students worldwide participate every year.
Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts participated in Model UN during their academic careers:
- US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
- Former World Court Justice Stephen M. Schwebel
- ABC’s This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos
- Former first-daughter Chelsea Clinton
- Under-Secretary General for Public Information, Kiyotaka Akasaka
- UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon
- Actor Samuel L. Jackson
- Ryan Seacrest from American Idol.
- Rainn Wilson – Dwight from The Office
What happens at a Model UN Conference?
At a Model UN conference, delegates (students) are assigned a committee. These committees can be simulations of actual UN committees, government bodies, or international meetings of either past, present, or future. At GWCIA, we focus on providing committees that are easily researchable for delegates, provide the greatest learning opportunity, and give insight into international issues at large. The committees are comprised of delegates from different schools which allows students to learn from their peers and get to know other students on the circuit. Committees are staffed by a dais, who pick the topics for discussion for the committee and write the background guide. GWCIA staffs only the most knowledgable, experienced, and responsible college students to oversee the committee.
During the committee, delegates debate the topics as if they are actually representing their assigned position or country. This debate is structured by parliamentary procedure, which is explained in more depth in Model UN 101. This debate ultimately leads to the writing of resolutions and forming voting blocs, which are elaborated on in our resources for delegates.
How do you get an award at a Model UN Conference?
Committee awards recognize the delegates who have done exemplary work, debate, and diplomacy during the time of the conference. Awards are decided upon by the individual committees’ dais. GWCIA awards honorable mention, outstanding delegate, and best delegate awards for each committee. For more information on Model UN Awards, please visit this website.
Why should I do Model UN?
Model UN promotes students’ and teachers’ interest in world around them and broadens a student’s knowledge in a variety of subjects. Model UN also teaches vital skills in negotiation, public speaking, problem solving, conflict resolution, research and communication. Model UN also gives students and teachers the opportunity to meet interesting new people and make new friends.
For over 60 years, teachers and students have benefited from and enjoyed this interactive learning experience. It not only involves young people in the study and discussion of global issues, but also encourages the development of skills useful throughout their lives, such as research, writing, public speaking, problem solving, consensus building, conflict resolution and compromise and cooperation.
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