Model United Nations
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Model United Nations (also Model UN or MUN) is a conference similar to the United Nations in which students participate as delegates to various UN Committees. Participants research and formulate political positions based on the actual policies of the countries they represent.
The committees usually consist of the six committees of the General Assembly (or some subset of them), but may also include the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Economic and Financial Committee. The participants range from middle school students to graduate school students. Model United Nations involves researching, public, teamwork, and leadership skills. As of 2012, there are about 400 MUN conferences worldwide.
The first instances of Model United Nations was the Model League of Nations Assembly. The first recorded meeting of a simulation of a Model League of Nations was run by Harvard University in 1927. In 1946, the League of Nations was dissolved and the United Nations was established. In 1947, the Model League of Nations changed into the Model United Nations Assembly. In the 1980s, the United Nations Association of the United States of America(UNA-USA) was established to coordinate and track the development of MUNs on a global level.
The oldest MUN in the world is a disputed issue. The MUN Project (LfhED) states that the oldest MUN in the world is the Harvard Model United Nations (1951) while Best Delegate establishes the Berkeley Model United Nations Conference as the oldest (1952).
As of 2012, there are about 400 MUN conferences worldwide.
In order to maintain decorum, MUN committees have rules of procedure to guide the procedures of the committee. Since there is no governing body for MUNs, each conference differs in the rules of procedure. Some conferences may directly adapt the UN rules of procedure while others adapt the Robert's Rules of Order. The following rules of procedure apply to general MUNs but may not apply to every MUN:
MUNs are run by a group of administrators known as the dais. A dais is headed by a Secretary-General. Each committee usually has a chair (also known as moderator), a member of the dais that enforces the rules of procedure. A delegate may request the committee as a whole to perform a particular action; this is known as a motion. Documents aiming to address the issue of the committee are known as resolutions and are voted for ratification.
MUN committees can be divided into three general sessions: formal debate, moderated caucus, and unmoderated caucus. In a formal debate, the staff maintains a list of speakers and the delegates follow the order written on the 'speaker list'. Speakers may be added to the speaker list by raising their placards or sending a note to the chair. During this time, delegates talk to the entire committee. They make speeches, answer questions, and debate on resolutions and amendments. If there are no other motions, the committee goes back to formal debate by default. There is usually a time limit. In a moderated caucus, the committee goes into a recess and the rules of procedure are suspended. Anyone may speak if recognized by the chair. A vote on a motion is necessary to go into a moderated caucus. There is a comparatively shorter time limit per speech. In an unmoderated caucus, the delegates informally meet with other delegates and the staff for discussions
Resolutions are the basis of all debate. They are considered the final results of conversations, writings, and negotiations. Resolutions must go through a draft, approval by the dais, and consequent debate and modification.
Model United Nation conferences are always held in the English language.
The committees are usually of the six committees of the General Assembly, but may also include the Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC) and the Economic and Financial Committee. Other committees include:
- Disarmament and International Security Committee
- Economic and Financial Committee
- Human Rights Council
- International Court of Justice
- International Criminal Court
- International Labour Organization
- International Monetary Fund
- United Nations Children's Fund
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations Economic and Social Council and its specialized councils and agencies
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
- United Nations Environment Programme
- United Nations General Assembly in both plenary form and within its functional committees
- United Nations High Commission for Refugees
- United Nations Security Council
- World Bank
- World Food Program
- World Health Organization
- World Trade Organization
- World Intellectual Property Organisation
Many conferences simulate other IGOs including:
- African Union
- Arab League
- Association of South East Asian Nations
- European Union
- International Atomic Energy Agency
- NATO or North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Organization of American States
- Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
- South Asian Association For Regional Co-Operation
A special committee that does not have a parallel in the actual United Nations which deals with a crisis is known as a 'Crisis Committee.' In this committee, a crisis is given to a team of students and the teams must come up with solutions. The Crisis Committee focuses on a single historical event. The event may be fictional or non-fictional.
MUNs are usually organized by high school clubs or college clubs. Organizations that coordinate MUNs such as the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) are considered important organizing forces.
The United Nations hosts a site called the UN Cyberschoolbus which contains general information about MUNs such as: advice for researching papers for MUNs, starting MUN conferences, and methods to help finding MUNs. The program also has an international Internet forum in which participants can share information. Organizations such as the Osgood Center for International Studies have aided in the creation of MUNs.
List of Model UN Conferences
Model United Nations conferences are not limited to one country or even one continent, but are spread worldwide. MUN locations include: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The level ranges from elementary school to colleges.
- Global civics
- Mock trial
- Model Arab League
- Model Congress
- Model Crime Investigations
- List of Model United Nations conferences
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- A Guide to Delegate Preparation: A Model United Nations Handbook, edited by Scott A. Leslie, The United Nations Association of the United States of America, 2004 edition (October 2004), softcover, 296 pages, ISBN 1-880632-71-3.
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