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Model United Nations


Model United Nations

Model United Nations at the Prague Student Summit in the Czech Republic
Model United Nations in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Turkish International Model United Nations in Istanbul, Turkey

Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and academic competition in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches research, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.[1] Usually an extracurricular activity, some schools also offer Model UN as a class.[2]

Participants in Model UN conferences, referred to as delegates, are placed in committees and assigned countries, or occasionally other organizations or political figures, to represent. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in committee. At the end of a conference, the best-performing delegates in each committee are sometimes recognized with awards.

Model UN participants include students at the middle school, high school, and college/university levels,[3] with most conferences catering to just one of these three levels (high school and college conferences being most common). Delegates usually attend conferences together as delegations sent by their respective schools' or universities' Model UN clubs, though some delegates attend conferences independently.[4]

Most conferences are hosted by high school and college MUN clubs, though organizations such as UNA-USA also host Model UN conferences.[5] As of 2012, there were about 400 MUN conferences worldwide.


  • History 1
  • Conference 2
    • Procedures 2.1
      • Languages 2.1.1
      • Attire 2.1.2
  • Committees 3
  • Organization 4
  • Model UN by region and country 5
    • North America 5.1
      • United States 5.1.1
    • Europe 5.2
      • Germany 5.2.1
      • Poland 5.2.2
    • Latin America 5.3
    • Asia-Pacific 5.4
      • China 5.4.1
      • India 5.4.2
    • Middle East and North Africa 5.5
  • Notable participants 6
  • In popular culture 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


Model UN began as a series of student-led Model United Nations, in 1945.[6] Today, some Model UN conferences include simulations of the League of Nations among their committee offerings.

It is disputed which conference was the first Model UN conference held in the world, with the major claimants being Berkeley Model United Nations (BMUN),[7][8] Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN), and National Model United Nations (NMUN NY). However, it is clear that the first was held some time in the early 1950s.[9][10]

In recent decades, Model UN has spread to East and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa, with major conference organizers such as Harvard and THIMUN establishing additional conferences in these regions to meet burgeoning demand.[11]



Delegates negotiating during an unmoderated caucus

In order to maintain

  • Best Delegate
  • United Nations Cyberschoolbus
  • UNA-USA Model UN resources
  • The MUN Manifesto Guide to Model United Nations
  • Model United Nations Research from UCB Libraries GovPubs

External links

  • A Guide to Delegate Preparation: A Model United Nations Handbook, edited by Scott A. Leslie, The United Nations Association of the United States of America, 2004 edition (October 2004), softcover, 296 pages, ISBN 1-880632-71-3.

Further reading

  1. ^
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  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
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  9. ^
  10. ^ "Berkeley Model United Nations Celebrates 60th Year as the First and Oldest MUN Conference in the World". Best Delegate. March 12, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "Rules of Procedure". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Model UN Glossary". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  17. ^ Shen, Sunny; Ryan Bae; Amanda Chen; Geneva Nam; Sarah Wang; Marco Wong; Lance Zhou (2012). "The MUN Manifesto". Connect Global Youth Association. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  18. ^ "What is a Resolution?". University of Tennessee. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Resolutions". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b Parrin, Anjli (August 2, 2013). "The Dog-Eat-Dog World of Model U.N.". The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  24. ^ Montero, Nicole (November 22, 2013). "Model United Nations Team Hopes to Rank First Among the Country". FIU Student Media. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  25. ^ Yossinger, Nili Sarit (August 23, 2012). "What is Model UN? (And Why Should You Care?)". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  26. ^ Brennan, Mary Beth (1996). "The Importance of the Model United Nations Experience". Johnson Country Community College. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Guide to the UN Cyberschoolbus". BEST DELEGATE. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  28. ^ Jackson, Robert P. (October 28, 2013). "Africa: U.S. Envoy on Africa at Opening of Model U.N. Conference". United States Department of State. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ "记外交学院首届模拟联合国活动 - China Academic Journals Full-text Database". 
  35. ^ "Intro to CFAU-MUNA". 
  36. ^ """外交学院举办"2012北京模拟联合国大会. 
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^
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See also

As Model UN has become more well-known, numerous references to the activity have appeared in popular culture.[45] At times inaccurate, the depiction of or reference to the activity in the mainstream media and the entertainment industry, in such shows as Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, and Jeopardy, raises the profile of Model UN, and shows how it is perceived, while also shaping the perception of the public in the process.

In popular culture

When I was an undergraduate at Stanford, I was twice a delegate to the Model United Nations and once a member of the Secretariat (when Stanford was the host). Students are enthusiastic role-players. We had to learn how nations and their representatives could work with others. We learned about how the United Nations (and international relations) worked in practice. The experience was valuable; the conferences were educational; and it was great fun. I am delighted to learn more than half a century later the Model UN is still going strong. I should think that in today’s great global conversation it offers ... students an even more valuable experience.
—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Model UN builds skills that are useful in a wide variety of fields, with many participants having gone on to become leaders in diplomacy, politics, law and the media.

Notable participants

Middle East and North Africa

[41] The first Model United Nations conference in


Most MUN conferences in China are organized through private or academic enterprises, however some government-affiliated MUNs have also flourished, and recently, unofficial student-run grassroots conferences have begun to dominate the Chinese MUN scene.[37]

Between 2005 and 2010, national MUN conferences such as those organized by PKU and the rivaling Fudan University in Shanghai drew the best high school students from around the country, who competed for limited spaces. Over time, lesser-known national conferences, as well as regional and even local conferences for high school students, began to develop and gradually spread to cities beyond Beijing and Shanghai.[37]

Model United Nations first came to China in 1995, when the elite UNA-USA, however support was curtailed in 2010 due to the Great Recession.



Latin America

Model United Nations is not so popular in Poland, but there are some conferences known from good atmosphere and interesting debates. All conferences use English as their working language. The first MUN organized at university level is Catholic University of Lublin Model United Nations (CULMUN).[33].


Model United Nations is quite popular in Germany, with numerous conferences held each year at the high school and college levels.[32] Most conferences use English as their working language, though there are also bilingual conferences and committees.



Model UN was first developed in the United States and it is where many of the world's most respected conferences are held. The United States has several regional centers of Model UN,[31] including the East Coast (Northeast), the West Coast (California), the Midwest, the South, and Puerto Rico.[29]

United States

North America

Although Model United Nations originated in the United States, MUN clubs and conferences are not isolated to that country. Rather, like the actual UN, Model UN is found in countries around the globe.[29] Because Model UN is decentralized and has grown autonomously around the world, there are significant differences in how MUN is done between regions.[30]

Model UN by region and country

The Osgood Center for International Studies[28] have aided in the creation of MUNs.

[26] MUNs are usually organized by


A special committee that does not have a parallel in the actual United Nations which deals with a crisis is known as a 'Crisis Committee.'[23] In this committee, a crisis is given to a team of students and the teams must come up with solutions.[24] The Crisis Committee focuses on a single historical event. The event may be fictional or non-fictional.[23]

Model United Nations committees may be modern, historical, futuristic, or fantastical.

Committees at Model UN conferences can simulate a variety of bodies. From the more commonly simulated six main committees of the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council, to corporate executive boards and national cabinets, Model UN committees reflect the diversity of the delegates who participate in them.

  • how they are run (traditional committees and crisis committees),
  • when they occur (historical, contemporary, and futuristic committees),
  • whether or not they are based on the real world (realistic and fantastical committees),
  • who the principal actors are (organizations, or individuals),
  • their powers (executive, legislative, judicial, etc.), and
  • their area of focus (political, economic, social, etc.)
  • their size (large, medium, small, etc.)

Committees in Model United Nations can be divided into a variety of categories, based on

The number of possible committees in Model UN is very large, limited only by the creativity and vision of conference organizers. In spite of differences in type and topic, most all committees share a few common characteristics. An example of this would be a dais (also known as a committee staff), which facilitates the smooth running of a committee. A dais is headed by a chair and/or director who presides over the committee, maintaining decorum, ensuring delegates follow the established procedures in committee, and guiding delegates through the resolution or directive-writing process. Another example of a common characteristic would be note passing, which allows delegates to discreetly communicate with one another and the dais during debate.

General Assembly delegates at Model United Nations Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart, Germany


At some conferences delegates may be allowed to dress in a manner that reflects their committee and topic or their assigned nation, organization, or individual (provided their portrayals are accurate and appropriate), however this is less common. [22] Nearly all Model UN conferences require delegates to wear


Traditionally, English has been the official and working language of most conferences, but, as Model UN has become more popular around the world, and as conferences in countries such as the United States have sought to appeal to underrepresented minorities (such as the Spanish-speaking community), committees using languages other than English, or which are bilingual, have become common.[20] It should be noted, however, that this is still not yet a mainstream phenomenon, especially not in the United States, where most bilingual or Spanish language committees are found at conferences hosted in Puerto Rico or the South.[21]

Placard for the United Kingdom in Spanish at the International Model United Nations of Buenos Aires (MINUBA) in Argentina


Resolutions are the basis of all debate.[18] They are considered the final results of conversations, writings, and negotiations. Resolutions must go through a draft, approval by the dais, and consequent debate and modification.[19]

MUN committees can be divided into three general sessions: formal debate, moderated caucus, and unmoderated caucus. In a formal debate, the staff maintains a list of speakers and the delegates follow the order written on the 'speaker list'. Speakers may be added to the speaker list by raising their placards or sending a note to the chair. During this time, delegates talk to the entire committee. They make speeches, answer questions, and debate on resolutions and amendments. If there are no other motions, the committee goes back to formal debate by default. There is usually a time limit. In a moderated caucus, the committee goes into a recess and the rules of procedure are suspended. Anyone may speak if recognized by the chair. A vote on a motion is necessary to go into a moderated caucus. There is a comparatively shorter time limit per speech. In an unmoderated caucus, the delegates informally meet with other delegates and the staff for discussions[15][17]

MUNs are run by a group of administrators known as the dais. A dais is headed by a Secretary-General. Each committee usually has a chair (also known as moderator), a member of the dais that enforces the rules of procedure. A delegate may request the committee as a whole to perform a particular action; this is known as a motion. Documents aiming to address the issue of the committee are known as resolutions and are voted for ratification.[16]

for MUNs, each conference differs in the rules of procedure. The following rules of procedure apply to general MUNs but may not apply to every MUN: governing body Since there is no [15][14][13][12]

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