The Value of Model United Nations
As the summer comes to an end, in the next couple of weeks students will return to the classroom. One activity returning High school, Middle school, or even college students should consider is Model United Nations.
Model United Nations is a “simulation of the UN General Assembly and its other multilateral bodies where students perform an ambassador role while debating topics such as gender equality, climate action, global health, and more.” (United Nations Association of the United States of America)
In recent years, hosts of conferences have gotten creative. For example, at MICSUN (the University of Miami’s Model United Nations conference) I participated in a Marvel’s Infinity Wars Crisis Committee where I represented the Black Panther.
On July 19th, Mikhal Ben-Joseph wrote about the cost and knowledge barrier of Model United Nations. You can read her blog post here. She, like many participants, understands the transformative nature of Model United Nations. In the following, I will attempt to convey to you why so many people, including Rain Wilson (Dwight from the Office), Samuel L. Jackson, and myself, found value in Model United Nations.
At first, Model United Nations can be intimidating. The three-day commitment, public speaking, and the use of parliamentary procedure can be confusing. However, through attending conferences, you will quickly learn the skills necessary to compete.
If you are a prospective participant, there are resources available.
The United Nations Association of the United States of America has the MyDiplomat App which leads users “through creative group simulations, challenging them to think and speak about global issues from the perspective of another country.” You can learn more about the MyDiplomat App here.
Best Delegate is an education company with the goal of “Model United Nations for All.” They also provide programs about Model United Nations called the MUN Institute. You can access their free resources here.
MoMUNtum is an organization that aims to address the inequalities found in Model United Nations by providing resources and a forum where participants can share their best practices. You can find out about their work here.
The extensive nature of Model United Nations teaches you a wide range of skills. Short speeches force participants to speak succinctly and speak in a public setting. Merging resolutions forces participants to engage in active listening. Most importantly, it takes you out of your comfort zone.
When I began Model United Nations I was comfortable with public speaking because I had experience with Congressional Debate, however, I was crippled by my lack of confidence. At my first conference, despite the extensive research and training, I hesitated to engage in the conference. It wasn’t until I took the initiative to engage with other participants where I reaped the benefits of Model United Nations.
When I gave enthusiastic speeches, other delegates reciprocated my energy and reached out to work with me. When I took the first step, it led me to other opportunities which led to more challenges that ultimately helped me learn skills that I will use for a lifetime. Ultimately, Model United Nations taught me how to learn from new experiences and develop new skills from them.
When I speak to prospective participants of Model United Nations, they are often intimidated. I encourage them to take the leap of faith and attend the first conference. By adapting to these seemingly daunting challenges, participants leave Model United Nations transformed.
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