What exactly is a MUN?
“MUN” is the short form for “Model United Nations”, which explains the basic idea – modelling a UN conference and trying to stick as close to the real UN, as possible. These conferences are held at universities on a regular basis and on both national and international standards. There are different possibilities to attend a MUN – depending on how big the MUN is, a lot of staff might be needed, but also chairs or the Secretary General are needed.
However being a delegate is probably the most obvious way of taking part. As a delegate you will be the representative of a country in a certain committee (for example the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council, etc.) . Usually you apply for the country and the committee you would like to be part of and as soon as you get the information on which country you will be representing and in which committee you will be representing it you may start your research. A committee has usually two to three currently relevant topics that have to be prepared in order to discuss them and find solutions to the addressed problems.
The work and input you invest beforehand are essential for the conference itself – the more you know about your country and its position towards the topics, the better you can integrate yourself into the discussion and can hopefully represent your country authentically. The aim of each conference is to find solutions and guidelines to the topics discussed and those are reported in Resolutions, which are the result of different working groups. Every delegate should try to get the interests of his or her country through – another reason why the previous research is so important.
You will get a lot of input and improve various skills. In the first place, these conferences will help you understanding the system and achievments but also the limits of the United Nations and their powers. Delegates will learn a lot about international relations and as the lingua franca is usually English this is of course a great opporturnity to improve your speaking and debating skills. With every MUN you attend it will get easier to stand up and hold a speech, to write good working papers and to find out which information is essential for the comprehension of a countries position and its relations to other countries. Of course delegates get to learn a lot about their countries culture and history, about its problems and advantages. Moreover you will get to know many new people, learn to discuss with many different characters and to avoid or find solutions to conflicts.
At our University, the University of Paderborn, two conferences are held anually. One usually in Winter (around January) and one in spring (around May). The first one is a smaller one, thought especially for those delegates who will fly to the NMUN in New York, to prepare them for the conference there and the other one is the official PaderMUN. Still you are of course warmly invited to participate in any of them and hopefully become part of our initiative!