3 reasons why you should attend Model United Nations
“What did you do this weekend?”
“I attended MUN. You know, the conference where you pretend to be a politician of United Nations.”
“Oh, cool. Sounds… fascinating.”
Yes. If this is the only description of this event, there’s only a slight chance you will be interested enough to sign up. That is why I have decided to write this article, where I would like to explain to you how much you gain from spending your Friday and Saturday (sometimes Sunday) discussing global problems with other students.
But firstly, what are MUN conferences about?
Model United Nations are international events organized all over the world. When you attend MUN you get a country and a committee with a certain problem assigned and your job is to research the country’s position on that topic. It is important that you don’t present your own ideas and opinions but you say exactly what your country does and says, even if it sometimes means that you must stand up in front of 200 people in the General Assembly and state that your country believes child labor is a great thing. Your goal is to write a resolution paper which will suit your country the best and will pass the voting.
So why should you go and sign up for the next MUN our school attends?
Reason no.1: Your language skills
When I first came to MUN (November 2015), I thought I could speak English and that this part of the conference wouldn’t cause me any trouble. Oh, how wrong I was. As soon as the first committee session started, I realized that I lacked some serious formal vocabulary. Point of parliamentary inquiry? Motion to prolong the unmoderated caucus? Pre-ambulatory and operative clauses in the resolution paper? What?!
But as the sessions went on, I learned. I got to know that before asking to go to the restroom I had to raise my placard and say “point of personal privilege”. I have improved my debating and presenting skills, so on my next MUN I did not need to write my every single speech down. And by the third MUN I have fully read only the speech I gave at the end of the General Assembly.
So don’t be afraid of speaking up, even if you probably will mess up at the beginning. Soon, you will learn to control your fear and your voice and hands won’t shake. You will stop being scared of shouting during the unmoderated caucus (the free discussion- which is usually a complete mess) and you will be able to react to other delegates’ questions fast (even if you won’t know the answer 😀 ).
By the end of your first MUN, you will get the idea of what amendments in the resolution papers are, what clauses you need to use, what kind of words are the best for the resolution and soon you will come to a conclusion that even though you might have rocked your academic essay in your Literature and writing class, this is something completely different. But, you are there to discover new things and you will use that knowledge to sponsor and later on write your own resolutions on your next MUNs which is the main goal of everyone: to write a resolution paper that will be so good other delegates will sponsor and vote for it.
Reason no.2: Your knowledge about this world
Sure, you know that majority people in Slovakia believe child labor is wrong. But when you get to represent Nigeria, what do you do? It is not as easy to abolish child labor in that country. And once again, you learn. You learn about new points of view, you learn more about certain problems, which aren’t discussed that much in our country.
Representing Russian Federation? You’ve got to do a research on what Russia thinks of progressive taxes. Don’t know what progressive taxes are? Great, another thing you need to read about and fully understand.
As the days pass you become more and more informed about the topic you are discussing. But you probably won’t stay there. Most students become far more interested even in other problems of this world and read the news daily so they don’t miss a single thing that has happened. And I believe that that’s a great thing to do, staying informed about what’s going on in this world and not having your ideas based only on Facebook comments which are written under news that came from unreliable sources.
Reason no.3: Friends
This is one of my favorite parts of MUN (unless you count the lunch- the food is always surprisingly good!). Meeting new people from various countries and talking to them outside of the committee sessions. The breaks (or parties) are the best places to get to know different cultures. Meeting a group of students from Italy? A girl from Serbia? A boy from Ukraine? Great! Get to know them, ask them about the differences between Bratislava and their hometown, about their school system, about what they think of the problem you are discussing during the committees. One learns so much by getting to know people of his own age living in different places of the world.
If you are at least a little bit more interested after reading this, please do sign up. Most of the students which I have talked to had been leaving their first MUN thrilled, impatiently awaiting the next date to be announced. Even if you aren’t interested in studying law, international relations or anything like that after high school and you are simply willing to try something new and face your fears of public speaking (which we all have to some extend) MUN is the place to be and I hope to see more of you there on the next one ☺