Model United Nations

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The opening ceremony of the second annual session of Budapest International Model United Nations in the Upper House chamber of the Hungarian Parliament Building
Model United Nations in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

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.[1]

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.[2] The participants range from middle school students to graduate school students.[1] Model United Nations involves researching, public, teamwork, and leadership skills.[3] As of 2012, there are about 400 MUN conferences worldwide.[1]


The first instances of Model United Nations was the Model League of Nations Assembly.[2] The first recorded meeting of a simulation of a Model League of Nations was run by Harvard University in 1927.[4] In 1946, the League of Nations was dissolved and the United Nations was established.[5] 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.[2]

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)[6] while Best Delegate establishes the Berkeley Model United Nations Conference as the oldest (1952).[7]

As of 2012, there are about 400 MUN conferences worldwide.[1]



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.[8] 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.[9]

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[8][10]

Resolutions are the basis of all debate.[11] 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.[12]


Model United Nation conferences are always held in the English language.[13]


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.[2] Other committees include:[14]

Many conferences simulate other IGOs including:

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.'[4] In this committee, a crisis is given to a team of students and the teams must come up with solutions.[15] The Crisis Committee focuses on a single historical event. The event may be fictional or non-fictional.[4]


MUNs are usually organized by high school clubs or college clubs.[1] Organizations that coordinate MUNs such as the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) are considered important organizing forces.[2]

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.[16] Organizations such as the Osgood Center for International Studies[17] have aided in the creation of MUNs.

List of Model UN Conferences[edit]

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.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Yossinger, Nili Sarit (August 23, 2012). "What is Model UN? (And Why Should You Care?)". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brennan, Mary Beth (1996). "The Importance of the Model United Nations Experience". Johnson Country Community College. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ "What is Model United Nations?". BEST DELEGATE. November 4, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Parrin, Anjli (August 2, 2013). "The Dog-Eat-Dog World of Model U.N.". The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ "League of Nations instituted". A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ "MUN History". the MUN project-LFhED. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Berkeley Model United Nations Celebrates 60th Year as the First and Oldest MUN Conference in the World". Best Delegate. March 12, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Rules of Procedure". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Model UN Glossary". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  10. ^ Shen, Sunny; Ryan Bae; Amanda Chen; Geneva Nam; Sarah Wang; Marco Wong; Lance Zhou (2012). "The MUN Manifesto". Connect Global Youth Association. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ "What is a Resolution?". University of Tennessee. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Resolutions". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  13. ^ Klein, Rahel. "Simulating World Diplomacy". Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst German Academic Exchange Service. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Committees and Topics". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ Montero, Nicole (November 22, 2013). "Model United Nations Team Hopes to Rank First Among the Country". FIU Student Media. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Guide to the UN Cyberschoolbus". BEST DELEGATE. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ Jackson, Robert P. (October 28, 2013). "Africa: U.S. Envoy on Africa at Opening of Model U.N. Conference". United States Department of State. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Model United Nations Conference Database: 2013-2014". BEST DELEGATE. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]