Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and/or academic activity, which was originally created to facilitate students to learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations.
Through facilitating a series of activities that give students the opportunity to practice hands-on;
– researching, public speaking, debating, writing skills, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities
Over time the methodology has evolved widely to be used to educate or engage individuals, groups, schools, communities, CSOs etc. around about any topic, as long as such a topic requires gaining deep knowledge and hands-on practice/simulation of how someone goes about working with it.
The concept with MUN or its other variants is that you try to simulate the UN way of handling a community issue (in our EU model we simulated the EU) and facilitate that your participants experience this first hand through designing their roles, as well as arguments for their roles, decisions and behaviours in this process. You give them the ball in their hands, create a frame for them to work in, and then they fill in the gaps. Over this process, they realize that:
– they need more information – therefore they go out and research,
– they need to convince others that their opinions matter, so they think through a good argument for what they are proposing.
– They need to also challenge other people’s positions/opinions if they want their opinion to emerge out on the top – so they critically listen and analyse other people’s point of views with the aim of intervening in reducing their validity vs. theirs.
– Along this process, they need to work as a team – thus teamwork skills and think through who will best represent which component as well as who takes overall charge of organizing the group.