Model United Nations

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Model United Nations in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Turkish International Model United Nations in Istanbul, Turkey

Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and/or academic competition in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.[1][2] Usually an extracurricular activity, some schools also offer MUN as a class.[3]

Participants in Model UN conferences, known as delegates, are placed in committees and assigned countries, or occasionally other organizations or political figures, where they represent members of that body. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent.[4] At the end of a conference, the best-performing delegates in each committee, as well as delegations, are sometimes recognized with awards.

Model UN participants include students at middle school, high school, and college/university levels, with most conferences catering to just one of these three levels (high school and college conferences being most common).[5] Delegates usually attend conferences together as delegations sent by their respective schools' or universities' Model UN clubs, though some delegates attend conferences independently.[6]

History[edit]

Model UN began as a series of student-led Model League of Nations simulations. It is believed that the first Model League of Nations conferences were held in the 1920s, before transitioning to Model UN after the formation of the League's successor organization, the United Nations, in 1945.[7] Today, some Model UN conferences include simulations of the League of Nations among their committee offerings.

The first Model United Nations was held at St. Lawrence University from February 11–13, 1949.[8] It was initiated by Dr. Harry Reiff, Head of the History and Government Department, with the assistance of departmental colleague Otto L. George.[9] Dr. Reiff was a technical advisor on the United States delegation to the 1945 San Francisco Conference (where the UN Charter was written) and the UN Organizational Conference in London in 1945-46 (where the UN was established).[10] The 1949 St. Lawrence University Model UN conference included delegates from regional conferences and universities, including Adelphi, Alfred, Champlain, Clarkson, McGill, Middlebury, Potsdam, St. Michael's, and Vermont.[11][12][13] The conference continued annual for many years at St. Lawrence [14][15] and has recently been revived on the campus.[16] Other Model UN conference were developed later at Berkeley, Harvard and the National Model United Nations [17][18] Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN), and National Model United Nations (NMUN NY) as well as many other colleges and universities.

In recent decades, Model UN has spread to East and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa, with major conference organizers such as Indian International Model United Nations, Harvard and THIMUN establishing additional conferences in these regions to meet burgeoning demand.[19] The Ivy League Model United Nations, an arm of the Model UN at the University of Pennsylvania, hosts conferences for high-school-aged delegates in India and China, as well.[20][21]

Procedures[edit]

Delegates negotiating during an unmoderated caucus

In order to maintain decorum, most Model UN committees use parliamentary procedure derived from Robert's Rules of Order. However, most crisis committees forgo the formality of parliamentary procedure so as to ensure smoother operation. In addition, recently the United Nations has spearheaded efforts to introduce new Model UN rules of procedure that are more closely aligned with those used by the actual UN.[22][23][24][25] Since there is no governing body for MUNs, each conference differs in the rules of procedure. 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.[26]

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.[25][27]

Resolutions are the basis of all debate.[28] 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.[29]

Languages[edit]

Placard for the United Kingdom in Spanish at the International Model United Nations of Buenos Aires (MINUBA) in Argentina

Traditionally, English has been the official and working language of most conferences, but, as Model UN has become more popular around the world, and as conferences in countries such as the United States have sought to appeal to underrepresented minorities (such as the Spanish-speaking community), committees using languages other than English, or which are bilingual, have become common.[30] It should be noted, however, that this is still not yet a mainstream phenomenon, especially not in the United States, where most bilingual or Spanish language committees are found at conferences hosted in Puerto Rico or the South.[31]

Attire[edit]

Nearly all Model UN conferences require delegates to wear Western business attire, as dressing professionally is an important way to show respect for the nation, organization, or individual one is representing, as well as for the rest of one’s committee.[32]

Committees[edit]

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.'[33] In this committee, a crisis is given to a team of students and the teams must come up with solutions.[34] The Crisis Committee focuses on a single historical event. The event may be fictional or non-fictional.[33]

Organization[edit]

MUNs are usually organized by high school clubs or college clubs.[35] Organizations that coordinate MUNs such as the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) are considered important organizing forces.[36]

Model UN by region and country[edit]

Although Model United Nations originated in the United States, MUN clubs and conferences are not isolated to that country. Rather, like the actual UN, Model UN is found in countries around the globe.[37] Because Model UN is decentralized and has grown autonomously around the world, there are significant differences in how MUN is done between regions.[38]

The Americas[edit]

Brazil[edit]

In Sao Paulo, every year is held the São Paulo Model United Nation (SPMUN). The SPMUN is mainly in Portuguese, bur there are also committtees in English, usually the UN Security Council. Recently the UN General Assembly committees have used the UN for MUN model, which is based on consensus

Europe[edit]

Denmark[edit]

MUN is relatively popular in Denmark, with conferences at both high-school and university level. It was first introduced in 2003,[39] it has since spread with 3 major conferences at high-school level, with at least 400 participants at each conference,[39][40] with BIGMUN being the largest conference in Scandinavia.[41]

The Netherlands[edit]

MUN in the Netherlands is almost entirely related to The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) conference, which includes over 3500 participants coming from around 200 schools and 100 different countries.[42] Although it is not located near the United-Nations Headquarters in New-York, it is one of the pioneer MUN conferences in the world, since it has been founded in 1968 and located in the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) world city of the Hague. A whole network of conferences is marked by its THIMUN affiliation, a label which basically describes the universality of the procedures that rule the conference and make it part of the UN recognized foundation. In 1995 the THIMUN Foundation was accredited as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information.[43] Also, the THIMUN has established its own conferences' network throughout time: THIMUN Qatar, THIMUN Singapore, THIMUN Online MUN (O-MUN) and THIMUN Latin America conferences have been set up from 2005.[44]

Turkey[edit]

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, hosts particularly many High School level conferences, among them there are Model United Nations Development Programme (MUNDP),[45] Kabatas Model United Nations Conference (KMUN),[46] Robert College International Model United Nations Conference (RCIMUN),[47] Turkish International Model United Nations (TIMUN),[48] Yeditepe Model United Nations Training and Development Conference,[49] ITU International Model United Nations,.[50] Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Turhan Social Sciences High School Model United Nations (SOBILMUN) [51]

Asia-Pacific[edit]

Australia[edit]

Model United Nations conferences in Australia are typically separated into tertiary and high school levels. At the high school level, the large majority of Model United Nations events are organised by the various state and territory branches of UN Youth Australia,[52] or by the many branches of Rotary Australia.[53] Tertiary events, typically running for three to four days, occur within several Australian states, and are timed to coincide with holiday periods in tertiary semesters.

Bangladesh[edit]

Model United Nations is practiced in Bangladesh since 2002. The first MUN to take place was the Model United Nations on Combating Terrorism - Bangladesh Model United Nations 2002.[54][55] Since then, plenty of MUN conferences have been held in the country. But the concept of MUN became a popular one in Bangladesh from 2013.[56]

United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSAB) is the pioneer of MUN in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Model United Nations conferences, Bangladesh International Model United Nations 2012, Dhaka+20, Brainwiz MUN 2013, UNYSAB MUN 2014 were organized by UNYSAB. MUNs if much larger numbers were organized by UNYSAB the past year when they organized Bangladesh Model United Nations (BANMUN) Session VII in June 2015 with more than 560 delegates [57] and Bangladesh International Model United Nations (BIMUN) Session II in November 2015, with over 850 delegates, the largest number in Bangladesh's history.[58]

The arena of MUN started growing leaps and bounds after the formation of the first university based MUN club of the country Dhaka University Model United Nations Association in 2011. Dhaka University National Model United Nations (DUNMUN), the most prestigious MUN conference of the country, started from 2012.[59][60][61] Worlds largest Model UN brand from India, Indian International Model United Nations is also slated to conduct its chapter conference in Dhaka in February 2016.

China[edit]

Model United Nations first came to China in 1995, when the elite China Foreign Affairs University held the country's first collegiate MUN conference.[62][63][64] Arriving in Chinese high schools in 2005, Model UN expanded rapidly. Peking University (PKU) students, after attending Harvard's HMUN, organized the first national Model UN conference for high school students in China. PKU's conference was initially backed by UNA-USA, however support was curtailed in 2010 due to the Great Recession.

Between 2005 and 2010, national MUN conferences such as those organized by PKU and the rivaling Fudan University in Shanghai drew the best high school students from around the country, who competed for limited spaces. Over time, lesser-known national conferences, as well as regional and even local conferences for high school students, began to develop and gradually spread to cities beyond Beijing and Shanghai.[65]

In the realm of interscholastic MUN conferences in China, the widely acknowledged top 3 conferences are called "the ABC": Asian International Model United Nations held by Peking University; Beijing Model United Nations held by China Foreign Affairs University, and China National Model United Nations, held by United Nations Association of China, hosted in different cities annually.[66]

Most MUN conferences in China are organized through private or academic enterprises, however some government-affiliated MUNs have also flourished, and recently, unofficial student-run grassroots conferences have begun to dominate the Chinese MUN scene.[65]

India[edit]

In 1996 the Cathedral Model United Nations (CMUN) was hosted by The Cathedral and John Connon School in Hyderabad.[67] Since then, Model UN has become increasingly popular in India, with an estimated 200 conferences held in the country in 2012 alone, most concentrated in Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata.[68][69]

BESC Assembly on Nations logo
The logo of the BESC Assembly of Nations, organised by the Bhawanipur Education Society College, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Japan[edit]

General Assembly of the Kansai High School Model United Nations at the Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan.

The Kansai High School Model United Nations (KHSMUN) is believed to be the first organised Model United Nations (MUN) conference aimed directly at high school English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. The first conference was held in 1990 as a required project for third year students in Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School's Course of International and Cultural Studies. This conference included 40 KGNHS students and 13 students from Kansai International High School in Toyonaka, Osaka. The two-day conference, held at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, simulated the Commission on Human Rights and debated the agenda item of the Israel and Palestine Conflict. The conference went on to become an annual gathering of high school students studying EFL in Japan. Unlike other MUN events around the world, the Kansai High School Model United Nations is a non-competitive MUN event.[70]

Year Conference Agenda
2013 Water for Life
2014 Global Food Security
2015 The Rights of the Child
2016 Protecting the Rights of Refugees

Korea[edit]

The South Korean Model United Nations is held at Jeju Island global education city every year since 2015, including in February, 2016. GECMUN is the acronym.

Pakistan[edit]

Sindh: In the Province of Sindh Many of the Model United Nation have been organized by many Reputable Universities, Organizations and Educational Institutes.

Name Abbreviation Organizer Location Year established
Mehran UET Model United Nations MUETMUN Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro, Hyderabad 2015
College of Business Management Model United Nations CBMUN Literary and Public Speaking Society of IoBM Karachi
Hyderabad Model United Nations HYDMUN Students of Hyderabad Hyderabad 2014
Model United Nations IBA Karachi MUNIK Institute of Business Administration Karachi
Model United Nations in Guards Public College GPCMUN Guards Public College, Karachi Karachi
Neroon Kot Model United Nations NKMUN Mehran UET, QUEST and KYI (Know Your Importance) Hyderabad 2015
Model United Nation in LUMHS MUNIL Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Hyderabad 2015
QUEST Model United Nations Q-MUN Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology Nawabshah
Badin Model United Nations Badin-MUN Students of Badin City Badin 2016
NED UET Model United Nations NEDMUN OpenMIC Karachi 201

New Zealand[edit]

A high number of New Zealand high schools operate their own MUN events, with UN Youth New Zealand functioning as a managing organisation.[71] UN Youth NZ also organises regional and national events, along with Aotearoa Youth Declaration, the Pacific Project, and New Zealand's THIMUN delegation.[72]

Singapore[edit]

The following are Model United Nation Conferences, Model ASEAN Conferences and other model diplomatic conferences held in Singapore.

  • Raffles Model United Nations Conference[73]
  • Dunman High Model ASEAN Plus Summit[74]
  • Youth Model ASEAN Conference[75]
  • Hwa Chong Conflict Resolution and Inquiry[76]
  • International Model United Nations Conferences[77]
  • Middle East Summit[77]
  • River Valley Model United Nations[78]
  • Sustainable Development Youth Convention[79]
  • Nanyang Technological University Model United Nations[80]
  • Singapore Chinese Girls' School Model United Nations Conference[81]
  • United Nations Association of Singapore Model United Nations Preparatory Conference[82]
  • Saint Joseph's Institution Model United Nations[83]
  • Yale-NUS Asia-Pacific Model United Nations[84]
  • Victoria School Model United Nations[85]

Vietnam

The idea of Model United Nations is relatively new among Vietnamese youth. There has been an increasing number of such conferences, including invitational ones such as UNISMUN, SAIMUN and many other non-invitational ones. These conferences are often organised by schools or student-led organizations with varying scale and exclusivity. One of the most inclusive Model United Nations conferences in the country is Vietnam National Model United Nations (VNMUN), open to not only Vietnamese in all parts of the country but also international students studying around the world.[86]

Middle East[edit]

Model United Nations is growing in popularity in the region. The largest conference in the region held in Doha, Qatar, held each January at the Qatar National Convention Center.[87] THIMUN Qatar currently hosts over 1500 student participants. The region boasts over 8 THIMUN-affiliated conferences in places such as Istanbul (MUNDP) Jordan (AMMUN), Dubai (DIAMUN),Abu Dhabi (CAMUN), Bahrain (BayMUN), Cairo (CACMUN, HIAMUN, AISMUN and BISKMUN) and Doha (DCMUN). Most countries in the region host numerous smaller conferences. The region also has its own regional MUN magazine, The Olive Branch, co-edited by THIMUN Qatar, THIMUN Online, and Best Delegate.[88]

UAE[edit]

UAE boasts MUN conferences majorly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with conferences such as DIAMUN, CAMUN, MUN@DPSD and IHSMUN taking place. The Indian High School Model United Nations has been successfully one of the largest HMUN conferences in the region. Indian International Model United Nations is also scheduled to conduct an MUN conference in UAE in 2016.[89] Cambridge Model United Nations (CAMUN) has been successfully running since 2008.[90][91]


Africa[edit]

Tunisia[edit]

Conferences in Tunisia are mostly found in Tunis and they are usually sponsored by the Tunisian International Model United Nations (TIMUN[92]). The most famous conference in Tunisia is the "Grande Simulation annuelle du TIMUN" in Tunis, which host more than 300 delegates. These conferences are usually hosted by the biggest national universities. Since the 6th edition, the "Grande Simulation annuelle" is under the patronage of the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs and welcomes Tunisian ministers and diplomats.

Other countries[edit]

The other conferences in Africa include NIAMUN[93] in Marrakech Established in August 2012 by a coalition of North African youths, NAIMUN is the largest student-run Model United Nations conference in Africa and the Middle East, with 4 sub-branches in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt .It trains and encourages young people to address pressing global issues and engage them in resolving global problems. NAIMUN is a non-profit organization which provides an equal opportunity for all youth to actively participate in an open debate., JoMUN[94] in Johannesburg, and the recently founded IMIRAMUN[95] in Windhoek a recent one took place in Benin, in Cotonou. The first edition of Algeria Model United Nations was held in December 2014.[96] The East African Model United Nations (EAMUN) takes place in Nairobi, Kenya.

Notable participants[edit]

Model UN builds skills that are useful in a wide variety of fields, with many participants having gone on to become leaders in diplomacy, politics, law and the media.

When I was an undergraduate at Stanford, I was twice a delegate to the Model United Nations and once a member of the Secretariat (when Stanford was the host). Students are enthusiastic role-players. We had to learn how nations and their representatives could work with others. We learned about how the United Nations (and international relations) worked in practice. The experience was valuable; the conferences were educational; and it was great fun. I am delighted to learn more than half a century later the Model UN is still going strong. I should think that in today’s great global conversation it offers ... students an even more valuable experience.

— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

See also[edit]

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  100. ^ "A glimpse into Rainn Wilson's 'SoulPancake' - USATODAY.com". usatoday.com. 

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]