Model United Nations 2014
MPW Birmingham attends the annual Model United Nations (MUN) attended by some 700 students. MUN is an international phenomenon. Run by the various United Nations Associations (UNA) across the world, it offers students, from age eleven upwards, the chance to be a delegate at an ‘as real’ General Assembly.
Schools and colleges are given one or more countries to represent at their chosen MUN event. Delegates then prepare to appear at one of a variety of committees, which mirror those sitting at the real UN, including Ecology and Environment, Human Rights and Disarmament.
Awarded Nigeria and Honduras, the MPW teams spent many weeks researching and exploring chosen committee topics, ideas and debates. Sessions during college enrichment led to development of individual delegate draft resolutions, to be discussed in committees at MUN. Daanyal Khan led the delegation for Nigeria, and Rory Prutton led Honduras. Having earned some plaudits at the 2013 event, we this time secured a place on the Security Council, with Lawrence Chandler representing Nigeria. Linh Tran was made a committee chair, presiding over delegate statements, then the running of resolution feedback and development. One of the larger challenges at MUN is being ‘in role’ as a delegate from another country. Often, research and reading will reveal something about a country that may not match the values, ideas or beliefs of the student delegate.
This means finding a balance between who you are, and what you believe to be right, wrong, just or unjust, in relation to what your very different delegate ‘persona’ needs to hold in ideology. For most, MUN means acquiring some highly valuable new skills in finding and negotiating a position, as well as working with other people. Some level of acting may be of benefit also, although the general advice offered at the start of the event is to ‘dive in and be yourself’. This makes sense, although it needs to come after a lot of preparation.
In committees, absolutely everyone has to give a one-minute statement about their topic and resolution, in front of many people. This can be daunting, although MUN is not a competitive debate, which may be won or lost. It is about consensus, and if there are skills to be brought to bear, then these are in abilities to listen, respond, empathise and evaluate, rather than to ‘win’ or ‘lose’ points. It is a very busy weekend, with long days – and a great experience.
All in all, it was a weekend of hard-working fun, and MPW Birmingham will return to MUN in March 2015.