Model United Nations, or MUN, is a student-driven version of the real United Nations. It offers students an insight into what really goes on in the UN and opportunities to debate current global issues, with each student pretending to be a delegate from a range of different countries. The country they are allocated will drive the position they will take in debate and which other countries they will look to form alliances with. Large countries will look to smaller ones for support on their resolutions while smaller ones will use large ones to give them a much stronger voice. Debates are based upon resolutions. These are documents written by a country which will address a certain issue, and will contain a number of clauses calling for action on the issue. Our guide to writing MUN resolutions can be found here.
At large inter-school conferences you will be on a team of delegates from the same country, however all of you will be on different committees. These committees will debate specific, similar issues. For example, the Human Rights committee will focus on human rights issues. All delegates will write a resolution which they will try to get debated in their committees. To do this they will attempt to persuade delegates representing other countries to pledge their support by co-submitting it. At the end of the conference on the second day all delegates come together with their countries for one massive debate on an emergency issue. This grand-finale to the conference gives you the chance to speak in front of hundreds of people and will put your public speaking skills to the test. Whether or not you get your point across will depend upon how well you can persuade those others in the audience to support you.
To be a successful delegate you'll need excellent skills of persuasion and negotiation, as you try to convince other countries to support you. Ideally you should have a really well-researched and well-written resolution for your committee. In the weeks leading up to the conference, make sure you follow the news closely so you are well-versed in international current affairs, as well as ongoing situations such as the conflict in Syria. Come to the conference with an open mind, a sense of humour and your wits about you - you'll have to think on your feet! Above all, enjoy yourself - we hope you have an unforgettable weekend in Oxford.
Contact us if you have any questions, especially if you are new to MUN.