Model United Nations is an educational simulation of the United Nations which allows the students to role play as the delegates of various countries and try to solve real worldwide issues. For example, a student may have to assume the role of representative of India and will have come with solutions for the existing crisis such as the Indo-China war. MUNs are unique experiences that every delegate remembers for their whole life. Imagine yourself wearing a crisp suit walking into a room full of similar-looking students all prepared to debate with each other. You get to meet new people, make friends, explore new places, and at the end of the day, take back with you some amazing memories.
Multiple Model United Nations conferences are organized by universities, high schools, middle schools, and NGOs around the world. There are also many MUNs that are held in India by various ICSE and CBSE schools and colleges as well as other institutes. You don’t use personal pronouns in these conferences and express your opinions as your country. For example, if you’re a delegate of Africa, you’d say, “Africa supports the cause….”
How do Model United Nations Conferences Work?
You might be a little confused as to what goes down in these conferences. No need to worry about it, here’s all you need to know.
Types of committees
Now there are three main categories: General assembly, Special committee, and Crisis committee.
These are usually the largest committees in the conferences as they include representatives of all United Nations members. They work over a variety of issues like International Security, Social Issues, and Economic problems.
The most common General Assemblies are-
- DISEC – Disarmament and International Security Committee
- ECOFIN – Economic and Financial Committee
- SOCHUM – Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
- SPECPOL – Special Political and Decolonization committee
- Administrative and Budgetary Committee
- Legal Committee
Specialized committees are smaller than General Assemblies. These committees indulge in more focused topics and specific issues and thus are for the more advanced delegates. Some of the examples include WHO or any of the committees of ECOSOC (The United Nations Economic and Social Council)
These committees are a little more dynamic as they pass directives instead of resolutions. Delegates have to think creatively as they face random crisis updates that completely change the direction and flow of the committee. These include specifically created situations or existing ones with severe modifications and require more quick thinking that procedural knowledge.
It is an action made by the delegates to direct the discussion or debate in a certain direction and is usually done by raising placards. When you raise a motion, you have to describe three things in the following order- Delegate of ___, total time, individual speaker’s time. For example, “The delegate of India would like to move the committee into a moderated caucus on the topic Indo China War for a total time of 20 minutes, individual speaker’s time being 60 seconds.”
A document containing the concerns that the committee wishes to resolve and the possible solutions to them proposed by the committee. It is called a draft resolution until it is passed by the committee.
A document containing clauses asking the committee to offer their opinion on the concerning issues and the possible solutions offered. Working papers are unofficial documents providing an outline for resolution. They are the basis of draft resolutions.
A document that is not more than 2-3 pages long, and includes three parts – Background of the topic, Past International Action taken, and the related policies of the country.
Point of Personal privilege
Delegate use this if and when they experience any personal discomfort like the temperature of the room, need to use the washroom, etc.
Point of Information
This is used when any delegate finds any factual error in the speech of a fellow delegate.
Point of Order
This is used when any delegate feels that there has been a mistake or error in the parliamentary procedure.
Point of Inquiry
Delegates use this when they have a question regarding any procedure.
Note: Only Point of Personal privilege can interrupt a speaker.
This refers to a detailed formal discussion about a specific topic. There is no Speaker’s list and delegates have to raise their placards to have the floor to speak.
This is an informal discussion wherein delegates can leave their seats to go and talk to other delegates freely. Delegates use this to form allies.
Delegates with similar ideas and opinions can choose to form blocs or groups and can work together to form a draft resolution.
It is the list of delegates in the order they’ll give their speech.
How does a Model United Nations Conference proceed?
There are three common types of MUN conferences which are THIMUN, UN4MUN, AND UNA USA. UNA USA is the most popular type of conference. Read below to find out what a day in a UNA USA conference looks like –
- Chairperson begins with the roll call and delegates have to respond with ‘Present’ or ‘Present and voting’.
- An agenda is set and speakers have to speak for the designated time according to the speakers’ list. If the speaker completes speaking before his/her designated time, they may yield the time to the Dias, to another delegate or questions.
- While the Speakers’ list is open, a motion for a moderated caucus or un-moderated caucus can be raised.
- When a working paper is ready to be turned into a draft resolution and presented to the committee one of its sponsors can raise the motion to introduce it to the committee. This can only happen at the discretion of the Dias.
- After debated delegates enter into voting procedures and amendments.
- Once a draft resolution passes it becomes a resolution. A majority is required to pass a resolution.
Benefits of Taking Part in Model United Nations Conferences
- It gives you a chance to meet and interact with different kinds of people and expand your network.
- It boosts your confidence and improves your public speaking skills.
- Participating in it expands your knowledge about global issues.
- It adds weight to your resume and acts as leverage for your employer or college.
- You become an even better negotiator.
- With such experiences come great leadership skills. This helps you to emerge as a leader.
- It is a fun experience. You can have fun and learn at the same time.
Tips to Make the Most of Your MUN Experience
- Have a research binder ready. One can’t emphasize enough how much having all your efficient research in place helps. If you’re well informed and know what you’re talking about, there’s nothing that can stop you from being the best delegate.
- Prepare a good first speech. As you know, the first impression is the last impression. So switch on your writer mode and prepare an engaging and convincing first speech.
- Be prepared with good arguments. Diplomacy is the key to these conferences. You’ve to have your reply ready on the tip of your tongue or others win. Agree to them at first, grab their attention, and then refuse with your logical argument.
- Have fun. If you’re enjoying the debate, your mind will be active and this will help you sustain those long debates and discussions.
MUNs Held Around the World
- Iberian Model United Nations (IMUN), Lisbon (Portugal)
- Catalonia Model United Nations (C’MUN), Barcelona (Spain)
- United Arab Emirates Universities Model United Nations
- Bahrain Universities Model United Nations
- Model United Nations of the University of Chicago (MUNUC), Chicago (USA)
Model United Nations Held in India
- WIMUN India, Agra
- Pune Model UN
- NMIMS MUN