By Rhea Yadav
There’s an emerging trend these days. People all around me, college students and school students alike, are all gearing up to participate in one or the other Model United Nations conference.
There’s no denying that it’s becoming increasingly popular but what is an MUN exactly and why should you invest both your time and money into it?
Model United Nations is an authentic simulation of the U.N. General Assembly and other multilateral bodies.
In Model UN, students pretend they are delegates from various countries serving on UN committees. Participants research issues and formulate negotiating positions based on the real interests of the countries they represent. Depending on the committee they are assigned to, delegates might develop global environmental policies or advise the UN Security Council on economic sanctions.
There are approximately 400 Model UN conferences worldwide and students can participate as early as middle school or as late as graduate school. To prepare for a conference, students thoroughly research the topics assigned to their committee, as well as the geography, culture, politics and history of the country they are representing. They then develop positions on each issue, taking into consideration the particular needs and goals of their country.
I heard about MUNs the first time only in college and thought, “Why not?”. I signed up to be the ambassador of Netherlands at this year’s first MUN conference and though I had no clue about the proceedings of the UN or the tricks of diplomacy, I not only enjoyed the experience but also won an award. That being a transformative experience, here are the top 3 reasons why I think everyone should do an MUN atleast once in their life:
1) The Learning Experience
As typical as it may sound but MUNs motivate you to learn. When you don the role of a poltical ambassador to a nation, you are expected to not only know about the country but also about its foreign policy with the rest of the countries in the world. And honestly, MUNs are fun. And because they are fun, the learning that comes along is guaranteed to stick. A conference can be two-day or three-day long and in that period, you not only explore new places but also meet new people and share common experiences. MUNs activate your imagination and make you aware of not just what’s happening in the world but how that happening is actually affectting nations in the real world.
2) Skills Development
MUNs have been transformative for me and the primary skill-sets it provides with are confidence and leadership skills. MUNs are opportunities to practice research analysis, public speaking, team work, negotiation, diplomacy, writing skills, formal documentation and disciplined conduct in a structured and formal environment. They also teach patience and the right amount of aggression and basically, all the skills one aspires to have, an MUN can provide you with those.
3) Leverage in Future
What is it that a recruiter wants in a prospective employee? Leadership quality and team work. What is it that universities look for in prospective student candidates, the afore-menioned skill-sets. Simply put, MUNs are great at shaping you and moulding you in such a manner which is deemd fit for your future endeavours. Also, the networks you make in various MUN conferences are unparalleled and can be used as leverage to grab opportunities in life ahead.
In only a handful of MUNs I’ve done, I have learnt about commercial sex work in the world, details about the whole situation in Syria, the life and miseries of stateless persons in the middle-east, the legality and humanitarian aspects of the death penalty, the concept of international humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect and the whole functioning of credit rating agencies and the question of their accountability and a lot more.
This just goes on to tell that MUNs are not as intimidating as they are made out to be. It makes you passionate and once you enjoy them, you get a high out of them and then there’s no stopping.
So suit up and sign up for the upcoming MUN conference in your city. It might just be the thing missing from your life.