MUN is the abreviation for Model United Nations.
What is MUN ?
It is a large-scale educational project and activity, a serious role-play staging student debates, designed and carried out entirely and independently by the young participants. It is an international forum where students from all over the world debate far-reaching, sometimes burning, global problems within the framework of the United Nations, which they simulate. MUN thus provides the youth with an opportunity to actively engage in the solving of current issues and in international relations, while appreciating the diversity of opinions by qualifying a particular point of view or position on a global scale.
A Model United Nations (MUN) conference replicates for two or three days, in a professional atmosphere, how different bodies of this approved institution work : General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council... It introduces the students to the world of diplomacy by training them in negotiations which aim is to promote international cooperation and human rights, and to propose, on the basis of resolutions passed by the UN, solutions to problems and conflicts arising from the major challenges facing the planet.
Within the remit of these mock-debates, the youngsters take on the role of ambassadors, as part of a delegation representing an UN member state or an affiliated international body, such as UNICEF, and enact the different stages of an UN parliamentary session while scrupulously following its rules and procedures. They are allotted between specialised expert committees modelled on those of the UN for the main part of their work, before meeting in a plenary assembly to vote on their final resolutions. The most experienced students chair the debate sessions themselves.
Participants must therefore, beforehand, undertake research and prepare files to broaden their knowledge and be able to reflect on intricate problems, concerning the needs and aspirations of the UN member countries or the institution that they represent and which interests they are to defend, on fundamental questions or various current international issues (e.g. security, economic development, inequalities, human rights, environment, etc.).
After which, during the conference itself, by carefully planning their strategy, they are invited in the course of the debates to take political stances and put forward proposals which are consistent with the interests of their delegation, to forge alliances with other delegations in order to formulate consensual resolutions and to come, through lobbying, negotiation, mediation, discussion and democratic voting, to lasting and fair compromises, respectful of the ideals of humanity and tolerance advocated by the United Nations Charter.
MUN conferences have a long history of almost 100 years. Even before the UN was founded, as early as the 1920s, experiments at simulating the work of the League of Nations had taken place in the USA. Since then, the popularity of MNU has increased year after year. Most of the time, they are organised in universities or schools or as an extracurricular activity. Today, there are over 400,000 such institutions participating in hundreds of MUN events each year. In France, albeit they are now well established in higher education, they are struggling to develop in secondary schools, event though they are perfectly in line with the objectives of the National Education Board.
MUN, What for ?
• Becoming familiar with the United Nations system, how it operates, and its principles ; understanding its advantages, but also its limitations.
• Reflecting on the worldwide issues discussed by the various UN bodies so as to raise awareness on the complexity of major current and future global problems.
• Discovering the founding texts of human rights, identifing their universal ideals and concepts, as well as the challenge of fostering respect of those rights throughout the world.
• Extending knowledge of the diversity of countries around the world : their geographical, political, economic, social and cultural situation, their history... Understanding that their positions may be different from one’s own and thus gain from new and wider perspectives.
• Learning the standards of democratic debate by practising the ways in which collective agreements are reached, following adequate rules of procedure.
• Balancing the common purpose and particular interests, being capable of listening to different points of view, in order to develop one’s analytical and synthesis skills, to learn how to negotiate mutually acceptable standpoints, cooperate and build a compromise agreement – in a nutshell, understand the intricacy of global decision making.
• Getting used to speaking and arguing in public, in different tongues, so as to improve one’s oratorical and language skills for conversation and professional communication alike.
• Developing a taste for reflection, shaping one’s personal opinion and political awareness, learning to become a fair-minded member of the community, building one’s self-esteem.
• Meeting youngsters from all over the world to share experiences, accept differences, improve communication based on on intercultural personal encounter, thus better develop one’s ability to think critically... or, simply, make friends !
• Spurring all students on, thanks to this immersive, lively, fun and enriching experience, to become curious, proactive and responsible citizens !
“The reasons for joining MUN are many. The most compelling one is to teach that the world is a shared, single resource for all countries and citizens. Communicating this as a guiding principle of world governance over and above economic advantages, enjoyed merely through historical good luck, is essential for the Earth’s survival and humanity’s progress.
“In this context, bringing the necessary skills to all students and watching them develop knowledge and awareness of the connections and disputes between nations becomes exciting : an activity which makes young people research, analyse and show empathetic understanding of individual countries’ political and economic needs and relations with each other can only be positive for future and informed understanding.
“As the recent acts of violence tell us, there are layers of complexity and extremes of emotion linked to history, belief, culture, nationhood, faith and identity which we all need to seek to appreciate with humility and reason. The MUN does all of these things.
“Finally, coming together, to debate with passion and fairness and to listen in order to understand is an education for life !”
FerMUN Magazine, 2015, p. 28
Par Admin le 20/12/2018.