Model UN: FAQ

Photo of Model UN hall and seal

Q: What is the Model United Nations?
A:The Model United Nations (also known as a "Model UN" or a "MUN") is a simulation education activity focusing on civics, communications, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. In MUN students take on roles as foreign diplomats and participate in a simulated session of an intergovernmental organization (IGO). Participants research a country, take on a role as a diplomat, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems. During a simulation they must employ a variety of communications and critical thinking skills to defend and advance the policies of their country. Most MUNs are simulations of a body in the United Nations system, like the Economic and Social Council, the Economic and Finance Committee of the General Assembly or the Executive Committee of UNICEF.

Photo of Model UN Croatian delegation

Q: How did Model United Nations begin?
A: Model and civic simulation education is older than the United Nations. Records indicate that as early as the 1920’s, students in the United States of America were participating in collegiate simulations of the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations. The modern day National Model United Nations in New York City started as a model League of Nations in the early twenties as did the Harvard Model UN in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As the League of Nations was dismantled and the United Nations was born in 1945, Model League of Nations was transformed into Model United Nations.

Q: Who participates in Model United Nations?
A: The popularity of Model U.N. continues to grow, and today more than 200,000 high school and college/university students worldwide participate every year. Many of today's leaders in law, government, business and the arts participated in Model U.N. during their academic careers – from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former World Court Justice Stephen M. Schwebel to actor Samuel L. Jackson. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is a Model U.N. veteran as well.

Photo of the UN building exterior

Q: What is a Model United Nations delegate or diplomat and what are the duties?
A: The Model United Nations students take on roles as foreign diplomats or delegates and take part in a simulated session of intergovernmental organizations. Participants research a country, take on a role as diplomats engaged in international negotiations, investigate international issues, debate, discuss, consult and then develop solutions to world issues. During a simulation they must employ a variety of communications and critical thinking skills to defend and advance the policies of their country.

Q: How are the Model United Nations Conferences organized?
A: There is some variation in how individual conferences are organized.  In addition to the standard conference procedures, however, many conferences simulate crisis simulations in which hypothetical real world factors are included in the simulation. Some examples are national cabinets or representatives from groups. Also, historical simulations and war games can be found under MUN.

Most MUNs are simulations of a body in the United Nations system, such as: 

Many conferences, especially in the United Kingdom, include other committees to sit alongside the Security Council, such as the Middle East Committee, or Political Committee.

Many conferences simulate other IGOs including:

Photo of the UN floor

Q: What are the personal benefits of participating in the Model U.N.?
A: Thousands of students from over the world participate in Model U.N. conferences every year. Model U.N. is a stimulating and exciting opportunity to meet students from different cultures and backgrounds and share ideas. Model U.N. creates great opportunities for students to learn the art of diplomacy, consensus building, and conflict resolution. Additionally, learning tolerance of other cultures and beliefs is essential in your personal and professional life. It is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

Q: What are some of the educational benefits of participating in the Model United Nations Program?
A: For over 50 years now, teachers and students have benefited from and enjoyed this interactive learning experience. It not only involves young people in the study and discussion of global issues, but also encourages the development of skills useful throughout their lives, such as research, writing, public speaking, problem solving, consensus building, conflict resolution and compromise and cooperation. For many, it is a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. Many students who have experienced the program only wish they had participated earlier in the educational process so they would have had more time to experience the Model UN.

Q: What is the cost to participate in the Model UN?
A: When a student is selected to participate in the program, funding is provided by the MCC Student Association, a not-for-profit corporation that manages student life fees.

Q: Is previous experience or participation in a certain educational major necessary to apply for the Model U.N.?
A: No.  Any MCC student can apply to participate on the team.  You do not need any special expertise, knowledge or major.  However, students interested in participating must meet the following criteria:

  • Willingness to be interviewed by a group of advisors;
  • Completion of the application;
  • Enrollment in POS 234 – Model U.N. course;
  • Maintaining a grade point average of 2.25 or better and currently in satisfactory standing with the college, i.e. no sanctions or disciplinary actions and enrolled in at least 6 credit hours.