What is a MUN?

It is not fear or security concerns that have driven the demand for better information, rather it is the recognition by students that they have been left out of the loop in a world that increasingly turns on an axis of global communication. We have discovered that young people want to be part of the bigger world, serving as citizens of global society. Model UN is an activity that is designed to help them do just that.

Lucia Rodriguez, UNA-USA Director, Education & Model UN

Model United Nations (MUN) are opportunities for students to debate relevant issues of the international agenda through an authentic simulation of the discussions taking place at the UN. They simulate, in a very realistic manner, the proceedings and debates of different UN organs, such as the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council. During the simulations, the students act as “delegates” representing one specific country. By acting as ambassadors of that Member State, participants support their positions and uphold their interests during the discussions.The simulation of international organizations begun in the first half of the 20th century, with simulations of the League of Nations, and has grown progressively more popular through the years. The easier information flows worldwide, the more people become conscious of the importance of knowing and discussing collective problems of the world. That is probably why, today, more than 200,000 high school and college/university students take part in this challenging experience every year. To date, more than 1,000,000 people have participated in Model UN around the world. Many of them have become great leaders in politics, business, education, law, and even in arts, medicine and engineering.The goal of the Model UN is to engage students in the work of the UN and other multilateral organizations, through research, discussion, negotiation, and debate. It has proven to be a rewarding educational activity, providing participants with a better understanding of the function, scope and issues of bodies of different international organizations. During the preparation for a Model UN, students:

  • gain knowledge of UN issues and learn how the United Nations operates;
  • become expert researchers as they investigate multilateral issues from a national perspective;
  • acquire negotiation skills, as they role-play the representative of a particular country or non-governmental organization (NGO);
  • develop public speaking and debating skills, as they articulate their country’s position on different issues;
  • engage in consensus-building, while taking into account the views and opinions of other member states;
  • understand better how they can act in the world, feeling as part of our global community.

Hence, a Model UN not only involves young people in the study and discussion of global issues, but also encourages the development of skills useful throughout their lives.



Adapted from:
A Guide to Delegate Preparation. New York: United Nations Association of the United States of America, 2002. 230p.
United Nations Cyber Schoolbus – Model UN Headquarters.
Basic Facts about the United Nations. New York: United Nations Publication, 2000. 346p.
How to Plan a Model UN Conference. New York: United Nations Association of the United States of America, 2002. 80p.