The most central part of our work is to bring together people with various backgrounds to organize and participate in Model United Nations (MUN) seminars. The concept itself is neither new nor revolutionary. Simulating international organizations began even before the birth of the United Nations, when students held a series of Model League of Nations conferences in the 1920s.
The key activity of the simulations is to learn hands on. Participants debate global issues on the UN agenda, develop understanding of global politics and Finnish foreign policy as the simulations are a practical exercise of diplomatic skills. With the aid of the Model UN one is able to understand the practices, principles, dilemmas and strength of decision-making on the world stage.
In a MUN students participate in a simulation of a body in the United Nations system. Participants research a country, take on a role as a foreign diplomat, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and develop solutions to the topics at hand. Communications and critical thinking skills are needed to defend and advance the policies of the country of represented. Model United Nations simulations allow participants to experience, practice and experiment conflict resolution, public speaking, small group dynamics and negotiation.
Even though the simulations are exercises, participation requires engagement. Students are expected to research the represented country including areas such as domestic and foreign politics, current affairs, economics, geography, government, and history. In return students learn parliamentary procedure, formulate prepared presentations and give extemporaneous speeches. Understanding of the logic of foreign policy and culture norms as well as skills in technical writing are tested, as participants are asked to craft properly formulated United Nations resolutions. Listening, effective presentation, and strategic thinking skills are characteristics to be practiced in the Model United Nations simulations.
Yes, Model United Nations is intensive, but worth it! Bringing observation into participation will provide a new viewpoint on the management of foreign affairs and cross cultural communication.
Model UN isn’t a mere role-play. It is an intense simulation of the most global institution in the world in which you represent an allocated country to your best of capacity. Your task is to embrace the spirit of your country’s foreign policy and engage in fast paced debate.
Each delegate gets allocated a country to represent at the simulation. The delegate will then research the country’s foreign policy and its position on the given topics. In order to prepare for the conference, all delegates must usually submit a position paper that outlines the country’s position on the topic.
At the conference delegates engage in debate under the MUN Rules of Procedure that have been adapted from the real UN Rules of Procedure. A director will chair the debate. During formal meetings delegates have 30-120 seconds to make their stand, advocate and defend their stand and persuade other delegates to adopt similar stance. Main lobbying is done during the informal consultations where delegates freely negotiate and try find a common note. The goal of the debate is to pass a resolution.
At Model UN you don’t only learn new skills of debate, public speaking and negotiation, but also learn how the dynamics of the international system work. But above all, Model UN is a fun way to challenge yourself and meet a bunch of new people!