What is Model United Nations?

MUN is a simulation of the United Nations. That might sound pretty vague at first, but what it basically means is that you represent a country as its ambassador in one of the committees of the UN. For example, you’d be the ambassador of France in the Disarmament and International Security Committee, or the ambassador of Argentina in the United Nations Environment Programme. Each committee is different, but most of them have the same goal: to pass a resolution that addresses the problem or topic of your committee. The most important thing in MUN is to advocate for your country.

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This means doing your research well, both on the topic you’re debating, and on your country’s response to that topic. Country policy is crucial to drafting resolutions that are both accurate and effective. Usually, the committee will go through several debates before starting to write a resolution. Your goal is to work in blocs, or groups, teaming up with other countries who agree with your position and working together to write the final resolution. You should also be working to convince other countries that your resolution has something to offer them.

Motions, Motions, Motions!

Procedure is important in MUN. While it might seem boring, it lets everyone have a fair amount of time to talk and share their ideas, and it gives MUN the structure it needs. We talk about how motions for different caucuses are phrased in another post, but what’s important to know now is that nothing can happen in committee unless someone motions for it (or the Chair decides it at his or her discretion). You also have Points, which you can use to ask questions. We’ve created a great list of Points and Motions here, that you can print out and keep with you.

The All-Knowing Research Binder

Do your research! This is key to succeeding in MUN: to convince others, you must know what you’re talking about, and be able to back it up with real facts and figures.

  • Make a list of key facts and figures - it helps you be specific, and makes your speeches more dramatic if you can say, for example, exactly how many children are dying of malaria in India.
  • Use past resolutions on your topic to get ideas, but be very careful not to plagiarize or steal them. The final ideas you present should be your own.
  • Be able to summarize your country’s policy in one sentence so you can pitch it during the different caucuses.
  • Keep a copy of both the background guide and your position paper with you - either printed out or at least accessible on a computer so that you don’t miss anything and don’t contradict yourself.

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