Model United Nations, commonly known as MUN, is an activity that simulates the United Nations. It is commonly offered as a club in schools and universities, giving students the opportunity to play the role of different “delegations” (representatives of nations) and discuss methods to solve real world issues through the policy perspectives of their respective countries. Conferences often split students into different committees that exist in the UN some committees include: the Security Council, the HRC (Human Rights Council), ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council), and General Assemblies 1, 3, 4, and 6. Topics will then be determined and discussed based on the responsibilities of each committee – for example, the HRC will often hold debates on matters of human rights violations, while the UNSC is responsible for matters of international security, inclusive of anything from nuclear disarmament to civil wars in different countries. ECOSOC, meanwhile, aims to find solutions to problems the world faces in terms of economic and social problems, as well as issues in relation to healthcare. The four general assemblies each have specific tasks as well: GA1 specifically discusses issues pertaining to disarmament and aims to maintain global peace. GA3 debates humanitarian issues, GA4 addresses territorial or border disputes, and GA6 is the legal assembly.It is important to note that, while the UNSC can draft legally binding resolutions, GA6 can only suggest global legal frameworks.
So, what are some potential reasons for joining something that seems so complicated? For one, MUN conferences give participants the chance to learn more about international relations, and meet people from different schools and backgrounds in an environment that fosters collaboration and goodwill. Many delegates come out of conferences with long-lasting connections and friendships. Furthermore, MUN can be highly beneficial for developing public speaking skills, while advocating for matters students are passionate about. One student at ISM stated that her reason for joining MUN this year was to overcome her discomfort with public speaking, as well as her passion for finding solutions for human rights issues and the environment. MUN is extremely multifaceted – it combines many social and intellectual aspects to create an activity that is truly enriching and leads to a better understanding of oneself and the world as a whole; as such, it is hardly a surprise that MUN clubs are so popular in schools across the globe, with around 187,000 students in the US alone engaging in such opportunities.
This year’s Manila MUN Locals conference truly displayed the multiplicity and intrigue behind MUN’s workings, demonstrating why the activity is so appealing for high school students across the world, and why it shall continue to be for many years to come.