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Welcome to UNA-UK's Model UN Portal
Each year more than 400,000 students from primary school to university participate worldwide in Model UN conferences. These events are simply a role-play of UN meetings and are usually based on the Security Council or General Assembly committees.
To support these simulations UN headquarters formed a Model UN Task Force and has organised annual Global Model UN events since 2009, in Switzerland, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea.
We created this portal to assist all those organising and taking part in Model UN events, whether in a school, college, university or other group.
We have made this resource freely available, but if you have found the resources useful, please consider making a charitable donation to UNA-UK to help us cover the cost of keeping these resources up to date.
For further information on Model UN or on UNA-UK’s education work, please contact Rich Nelmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An introduction to Model UN events
Model UN events are simply a role-play of a UN meeting. The Security Council and the General Assembly committees are the most popular, although events can be based on a specialised UN body such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development or the Human Rights Council (both subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly) or the Peacebuilding Commission (a subsidiary body of both the Security Council and the General Assembly).
A Commission of the Economic and Social Council, such as Sustainable Development or Social Development, can also be used. In fact, most bodies within the UN System can be used for a Model UN event, but this portal focuses on Model UN General Assembly events.
Events can last from a few hours to a week and can involve people of all ages. The delegate resources produced by UNA-UK have been broken into different sections which are suitable for different age groups. Schools might run model events within one class, one year group, the whole of a sixth form, or with other schools.
Universities may hold events within a student society or with all students studying a subject. Model UN events can cover a whole city or region and many national and international events are held throughout the world.
The basic principles remain the same, regardless of the UN body being modelled, or of the size or age of the group:
1. Participants are assigned a UN Member State. They assume the role of that country’s diplomats at whichever UN body is being enacted. The delegations represent the views of ‘their’ country, reflecting that country’s national interests, rather than their own personal opinions on an issue.
2. The delegates research their country’s position on selected topics, paying particular attention to their country’s perspective on the topics to be discussed at the Model UN. The topics are issues of global importance – such as provision of clean water, economic justice or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
3. The delegations come together and enact the UN meeting, based on agreed rules of procedure. The delegates present statements of their countries’ positions and debate and negotiate with the other delegations, both through formal and informal debate.
4. A resolution is written, debated, negotiated and amended, in line with each country’s interests and in response to the debate. Votes are held on the resolution and the amendments. A final resolution is produced, which is acceptable to a majority of delegations and represents the final product of the meeting.
Model UN events provide active learning opportunities for delegates, allowing them to explore and analyse a situation affecting unfamiliar people in unfamiliar settings. They negotiate and reach consensus on the best action for all, working individually and as part of a group. Delegates develop their communication skills and build their self-confidence.
The UN can be a difficult organisation to grasp – it is not a world government, but a system of many organisations which together affect our lives in many ways. In order to influence the way in which the UN works, we must understand the UN – one way of doing this is by taking part in a Model UN event.
Model UN work not only educates participants about the problems the world is facing, but also suggests the means by which progress can be made and problems resolved, peacefully and justly. Whether you are a participant or an organiser, we hope that you will enjoy, and be enriched by, your experience of Model UN.