Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation in which high school or university students represent the viewpoint of their allocated state in a given body of the United Nations. During this simulation of debates and decision-making, they are meant to improve their knowledge and their skills in a practical context.
Knowledge may stand for a theoretical, academic approach meaning international relations theory, diplomacy and a general understanding of the work of international organisations. On the other hand, it refers to practical, everyday developments. For example, an international relations expert or anyone involved in the field of world affairs has to be up to date regarding their own agenda or field of study. In an MUN simulation to get the upper hand, you need to be up to date and that is exactly why MUN is a great incentive to stay informed regarding current trends, dynamics and news. These elements may have a vital effect on the flow of a debate, therefore it is inevitable to always keep an eye on the actualities.
For the preparation to an MUN, one needs to do substantial research of the topic at hand, especially if it has detailed and complex legal and political aspects. Once a general understanding of the situation is established, a participant is ought to look into one’s allocated state to gain a deeper comprehension of what viewpoints one will have to represent during the simulation. This requires a high level of empathy and capability to stay objectively unattached to one’s own views when it comes to representing that of states’. Once the future participant is ready with all this, this person needs to establish a strategic plan to reach the goals defined by the state he or she is supposed to represent. Once all this is completed, a position paper is to be written that outlines the most essential elements of the preparatory research and planning.
During the simulation, participants will have to be able to communicate their represented states’ point of view which requires public speaking skills. If they have finished vocalising their interests, participants shall step to the next level and get engaged in bi- or multilateral talks, also called lobbying, using their debating and leadership skills to persuade other participants of their own truth, their own understanding of the situation or their own opinion regarding a topic. At the end of the day, the most convincing, most engaged and best leader will conquer the debate and fulfill the interests of their own represented state. Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would strive to reach a compromise that will lead to a lasting solution to issues posing a risk to international peace and security, and teaching this mentality should be in the centre of MUN itself. However, we have to understand that this is not always the case. This is why MUN gives participants the chance to take part in closed-door diplomacy as well, meaning coming to agreements with important actors being left out of the conversation. In our opinion, the beauty of MUN lies in not telling you how you should reach your goals, but in giving you as many life-like opportunities as possible while hoping for you to do the right thing.
Last, but not least, MUN conferences are great opportunities to meet with open- and like-minded, ambitious students from all over the world. Networking and making friendships is essential for those seeking a career in the field of diplomacy. Atsuch conferences, you have a chance to meet fellow aspiring professionals, diplomats, ambassadors or academics. You can explore different cities which is an additional benefit for those who seek adventures and love to travel. Therefore, these conferences not only offer professional and personal development, but also a cultural and linguistic exchange.