What is Model United Nations?

JCCC Model UN at Lincoln Memorial

Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an extra-curricular activity in which students typically role-play delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. At the end of most conferences, outstanding delegates in each committee are recognized and given an award certificate. Thousands of college students across the country and around the world participate in Model United Nations, which involves substantial researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, as well as critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.

Model United Nations is an authentic simulation of the U.N. General Assembly, U.N. Security Council, or other multilateral body, which catapults students into the world of diplomacy and negotiation.  In Model U.N., students step into the shoes of ambassadors of U.N. member states, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe to debate current issues on the Organization’s vast agenda.  The students, better known as “delegates” in Model U.N., prepare draft resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the U.N.’s rules of procedure-all in the interest of mobilizing “international cooperation” to resolve problems that affect almost every country on Earth.

History of Model UN

The Model UN started as the Model League of Nations Assembly. In 1947 the Model League of Nations Assembly made the transition the League of Nations had made in 1945 and became the Model United Nations Assembly. The Model UN program, like its forerunner, has traditionally been a student-driven organization. The program has been and remains a collection of independent conferences. In the 1980’s an important organizing force, the United Nations Association of the USA, (UNA-USA) recognized the momentum of the Model UN programs and founded its Model UN and Youth Department to coordinate and track the development of the Model UN on a global level. (Muldoon, 1995)


The purpose of the Model UN is to provide an interactive educational experience that teaches in an interesting and enjoyable way about the United Nations. The process affords participants an understanding of how the process of international debate and negotiation that we commonly call diplomacy functions. The simulation of the diplomatic processes are especially important in this post-Cold War period when the world is quickly becoming more interdependent. In this interdependent world, Model UN makes for informed global citizens who not only understand the decisions their nation makes but also how those changes effect politics nationally, regionally, and globally.

Please view the video Model United Nations for Everyone. This video goes over the different elements that you will find at Model United Nations. The video is available at the UNA USA YouTube page but broken into two different videos. This video offers an insight into Model United Nations for high school and college students. It delves deeply into the Model UN conferences in which students learn international cooperation, resolution writing and important diplomatic strategies to solve global issues. Students also have an opportunity to debate, negotiate and resolve conflicts. The film includes Model UN delegates, the Secretary-General and faculty and staff which make Model UN a true international education program in which students gain a global perspective.



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