Model United Nations is an academic extracurricular activity that students from high school up to masters level participate all around the world. Students role-play as “delegates” representing UN member countries in UN councils (Such as the Security Council) and debate current issues. They learn to research and discuss areas of conflict such as Syria or even potential issues such as the future of cybersecurity and create “resolutions” that aim to tackle the problem at hand.
History of Model United Nations
This activity initially began as League of Nations simulations. With a similar premise, they were called “International Assemblies” and were first held at the University of Oxford in the year 1921. Following the creation of the United Nations after the end of the Second World War, this activity was renamed as Model United Nations. The first recorded MUN conference was in 1947 at Swarthmore College. The four oldest MUN’s that are still active today are Berkely MUN (BMUN), Harvard Model UN (HMUN high school level), Harvard National MUN (HNMUN collegiate level) and Model UN of the Far West (MUNFW).
MUN was brought to Malaysia by a foreign teacher at Mont Kiara International School. What started out as a predominantly private event, MUN in Malaysia spread to almost every private education institution, opening its doors for anyone who is willing to attend. Recently, the Malaysian government recognized MUN as a legitimate extracurricular activity, allowing public institutions to host their own conferences. The first to do so would be SMK Bandar Utama 4, which organized consecutive BU4MUN conferences that were a large success. Other notable conferences include Subang Utama (SUMUNC), Kolej Tunku Kurshiah (TKC MUN) and University Malaya (MalayaMUN). MalayaMUN was one of Malaysia’s first international conferences, attracting students from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and even Germany.
What Can You Gain From MUN?
Oratory skills: In today’s job market, soft skills are incredibly sought out for. Whether it is consulting a patient as a surgeon or arguing a case in court, public speaking is a vital skill that is not taught in schools. By being encouraged to process and criticise and make speeches, students evolve into fantastic speakers
Critical thinking: History and literature students are all too familiar with the “evaluation” section of their essay questions. The ability to look at facts and drum up a conclusion in the spur of the moment is not an easy one, but once mastered is an incredible asset to wield. Delegates are made to not only speak on world issues but create solutions based on the foreign policies of different nations. This encourages them to really think out of the box, allowing them to apply whatever knowledge they may currently possess.
Negotiation skills: We rarely get what we want in life. Be it with our relationships or in work, we must always learn to compromise. By teaching students how to compromise conflicting national interests, MUN creates better negotiators out of our students.
Policy writing skills: Resolutions are often made in the format of the actual UN proceedings, therefore delegates learn the ability to present solutions in a way that is done in legislation and treaties
Networking skills: MUN is a great place to make friends! Students get to meet like-minded people and gain valuable social skills
UNAM Youth’s Model United Nations Development has always been dedicated towards the betterment of the MUN scene.
We have held various workshops on behalf of conferences to teach prospective delegates the ropes of MUN, from its various rules of procedures to codes of conduct. Over time, we’ve also formed various partnerships with conferences and institutions, providing assistance and guidance to those who’ve sought us out to create educational and memorable conferences, including but not limited to BorneoMUN, Diversity, and Inclusion Youth Conference (DIYC), Subang Utama MUN Conference (SUMUNC), and Tunku Kurshiah College MUN (TKCMUN); the latter two being governmental institutions, adhering to our goal of enhancing and promoting the extracurricular beyond private institutions.
Last but not least, as one of our most esteemed accomplishments, we’ve managed to pioneer MUN as an extracurricular activity that is officially recognised by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.