A Model United Nations, often known as simply a Model UN, is a simulation of the UN General Assembly alongside a number of other multilateral branches. In a Model UN, the students that are involved assume the roles of different ambassadors from a variety of UN member states. Once in their shoes, these students debate on current issues affecting the organization’s agenda. While they are assuming their roles as these unique ambassadors, the student delegates deliver speeches, negotiate with both adversaries and allies, construct draft resolutions, resolve a series of conflicts, learn, and understand the Model UN conference rules and procedures. They do all of this with the interest of using international cooperation to handle issues that affect countries all over the globe.
Before they step into the shoes of these ambassadors in the Model UN, these students do their research. They learn about the specific issue that their community plans to address, allowing these participants to also learn how the international community behaves in regards to its concerns over issues such as security and peace, the environment, economic globalization and development, food and hunger, along with human rights. Model UN delegates also examine closely the goals, needs and foreign policies of each of the countries they plan to represent. The insights that these students gain from exploring the culture, economics, history, geography and science of these places influence and contribute to the authenticity of the simulation even that they will perform in as they role play as the delegates acutely involved in such affairs. The in-depth knowledge that these delegates gain of their assigned countries certainly promises an interactive, lively and memorable time for everyone involved.
With the above topics being covered in most simulations, the items that are discussed with Model UN simulations can change depending on the conference. Many of these simulations place emphasis on current affairs that are actively being discussed in the real United Nations. These issues cover anything from financial, social and political concerns. Some committees might task their student delegates with taking on hypothetical questions or issues from both the future and the past, such as the “crisis” committees in which delegates must handle a hypothetical or real-world crisis situation.
The Model UN’s official beginnings have not been documented, but it is known that the Model UN is the product of a number of student-led Model League of Nation simulations done over time. Some people are of the belief that the inaugural Model UN simulation was performed at Harvard University, while other colleges claim that they were, in fact, the first universities to take on such an event. Whoever did begin it is neither here nor there, as these sorts of international organization simulations were being held way before the true United Nations even began.
By participating in the Model UN simulations, students all over can get a real world grasp on issues currently affecting the world that they live in to understand the importance of a proactive role if they want to change the world. This may also lead young scholars to develop an interest in joining the United Nations when they are of age.