What I’ve Learned From Model United Nations

Picture of Model United Nations delegates debating the sovereignty of the Arctic region.
Delegates debating Arctic land and resource disputes. Credit to VISSMUN.

The Model United Nations program is perhaps one of the most intellectually stimulating and rigorous hobbies for young students. After 3 years of both hosting and participating in Model United Nations conferences, or MUNs, I still struggle to pinpoint exactly why the MUN format is so engaging.

Despite the fact that MUN is an imitation of the United Nations, it is still able to retain the same serious attitude present in the real United Nations. MUN is in essence a platform for youth to imagine themselves as UN ambassadors each attempting to debate and form resolutions on issues of international significance.

In a recent MUN conference I, representing Colombia, debated the regulation of Private Military Corporations. I formed a bloc of my allies and we used our bloc to propose a resolution in which we argued that mercenaries must be restricted in their use in offensive warfare and in their violations of human rights. We were subjected to the questions and arguments of our colleagues and had to argue in favor of our proposed solution.

This exercise in debate proved beneficial in developing my own understanding of an issue of global significance that I was not previously aware of. This example is just a regular day in a MUN conference. The back and forth between delegates, the in-depth research into an unknown issue and the rush to quickly think of creative solutions to problems all helps develop skills that are commonly used in the workplace and academia. The impact of MUN on a delegate extends beyond events like MUN and Debate Club into a delegate’s ability to think creatively, problem solve and speak publicly.

After having started MUN I noticed improvements in my ability to write critical essays, I was able to more confidently speak at public events and I also developed communication skills that made it easier for me to lead my peers and to network.

Valuable skills are not all that Model United Nations provides to its participants. The fact that MUN conferences are international events also means that I have befriended individuals from Brazil, Afghanistan, China, Jordan and numerous other countries. MUN grants its participants with a life long social networks spanning the globe.

The Model United Nations platform is, to summarize, one that provides each of its participants with a unique experience. It provides its participants with opportunities and skills that are hard to come by for any student. I encourage any student that has the ability to attend or host a MUN conference, to do so. MUN is not just a platform and conference but an experience that is entirely individual and invaluable.

This article was also published in the Huffington Post.