What is Model United Nations?

Written By Sally Forsyth

What is Model United Nations?

Now that you feel settled in your new school as an international student, you may be thinking about what school clubs or extracurricular activities you want to join this semester.You may also be wondering which clubs or activities may help your college application to stand out, if you are thinking of applying to university in the US or Canada. I would really recommend that you consider taking part in the Model United Nations extracurricular activity in your school. Not only does it look really impressive on your college applications, but it will also give you the opportunity to develop really important and significant leadership and conflict resolution skills which will be immensely valuable to you in the future!

Let me tell you the basics about Model United Nations, what you can expect and why it will be so beneficial for you!

What is Model United Nations?

First of all, let me explain exactly what this extracurricular activity is. Model United Nations is a role-play activity where students actually participate in a simulation of the activities and debates that occur in the real United Nations, and attempt to demonstrate the unique perspectives of individual countries represented in this important international organization.  This is an opportunity for you to develop your research skills, learn to see the world through a very different lens or point of view, and also to understand the problems and issues that people in other countries are facing in the world we live in today.

So how does it work?

You will start by working in groups, where you and your team will be assigned to represent a different country represented in the United Nations. No doubt the country you are assigned to will invariably have a very different outlook and perspective from your own culture!  For example, in my school this year here in Latin America, students have been assigned Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates! Students will then be assigned to different committees to research information about that country and its historical background, social and political perspective, plus information about geography, climate population and so on.

An incredible amount of research is expected in order to really understand the perspective of each country involved, so that you as a student will confidently be able to speak in the Model United Nations Conference as a delegate to represent your assigned country. Students will spend several months researching, planning and preparing in school before they will go to participate in the actual Model United Nations conference. These conferences are held in different cities every year. This year, for example, the conference will be held in New York City.

Why it is such a benefit for students.

Model United Nations will be really beneficial for you because it is going to help you develop a global perspective. Participating in the amazing National High School Model United Nations Conference will give you an opportunity to Interact with students from different countries and different schools. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an awareness of other cultures and meet students with very different points of view from your own. This gives you the chance to interact and socialize with teenagers from your own age group when you are at the conference. You’ll also make lots of new friends. This means that you will really strengthen your global worldview and increase your awareness of what life is like for people who live in different countries around the world.

Skills you will develop

Feedback from students who have participated in previous Model United Nations conferences tells us that the experience helped build a set of invaluable skills to apply in their personal and future professional lives. First of all, you are going to develop leadership skills as you stand up to represent your assigned country and debate the issues which will be presented to you at the conference. This will also serve as a confidence-building activity. You have to talk about a country and culture not your own, with a unique worldview, and come across as convincing to the other delegates. Of course, speaking as a delegate in the Model United Nations conference means you will have to develop your public speaking skills and  this will help you to feel more confident speaking English in public. Don’t worry!  No one is going to be assessing your English when you speak as a delegate! Remember, there will be approximately 5000 schools from all over the globe represented at the conference. Naturally, there will be different levels of English spoken by the students. However, what is much more important is for you to have really researched the information about your country and confidently defend your country’s position. They will check your research information, so make sure you have collected all your findings and sources! Students have also reported that participating in this extracurricular activity has developed their skills for problem-solving, research and investigative skills and collaboration with their classmates through teamwork.

University Application

Most universities consider participation in a Model United Nations extracurricular activity or club a great way to make applicants stand out from the crowd when they apply for college. Colleges like to see students with leadership skills, who show awareness of global issues and a strong ability to interact with people from different cultures and totally different perspectives. So it is definitely a big plus for you to get involved! I really recommend you consider taking part in this activity in your school. You will learn so much, make lots of new friends and actually have fun as well! Find out more today!

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About the author

Sally Forsyth is a High school English teacher and an educational coach. She has worked in national and internatonal schools in different countries and different school systems, She is also the founder of CoachMyFuture, a coaching organization focusing on coaching teachers and educators in the educational sector.

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