Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Model United Nations?
A: Model United Nations is an authentic simulation of the U.N. General Assembly and other multilateral bodies.
Q: How did Model U.N. begin?
A: Simulating international organizations began even before the birth of the United Nations, when students held a series of Model League of Nations in the 1920s. The Model U.N. Program is a successor to a student-directed simulation of what preceded the U.N. itself, but it is not documented exactly how the Model U.N. began.
Q: Who participates in Model United Nations?
A: The popularity of Model U.N. continues to grow, and today more than 400,000 middle school, 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.
Q: What is a Model United Nations conference?
A: Some Model U.N. exercises take place in the classroom and others are school wide. Still others are regional, national, or even international. These are called conferences, and the events are much larger, with participants from all over the United States and the world. More than 1,000,000 people have participated in MUN conferences around the world since the conferences became popular over 50 years ago. Today there are more than 400 conferences that take place in 35 countries. Depending on the location, the average conference can have as few as 30 students or as many as 2,000.
Q: Where and when are Model United Nations conferences held?
A: There are an estimated 400 Model U.N. conferences held annually worldwide. These conferences take place virtually every month throughout the school year, but there are few events in the summer and even fewer around standardized testing such as the SAT.
Q: What is a Model United Nations delegate?
A: A Model U.N. delegate is a student who assumes the role of an ambassador to the United Nations at a Model U.N. event. A Model U.N. delegate does not have to have experience in international relations. Anyone can participate in Model U.N., so long as they have the ambition to learn something new, and to work with people to try and make a difference in the world. Model U.N. students tend to go on to become great leaders in politics, law, business, education and even medicine.
Q: Why should I participate in Model United Nations?
A: You should participate in Model U.N. because it promotes student and teacher interest in international relations and related subjects, increases the capacity for students to engage in problem solving, teaches aspects of conflict resolution, research skills, and communication skills, and creates the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
Q: What are some of the educational benefits of Model United Nations?
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.
Q: How do I start a Model United Nations program at my school?
A: You can start a Model UN at
your school with a few simple steps. First, you should find
a faculty advisor by asking teachers if they would be interested
in helping you start a Model UN You also can ask your principal
or Social Studies chairperson to see if they know of any teachers
that would be interested. Next, you need to recruit members
and pick a day and time to meet. After you recruit members,
you should decide which conferences your group would like to
attend. Once you pick your conferences, you should hold meetings
once a week. At the meetings you can choose other conferences
to attend, organize fundraising ideas, and talk about any new
information you may have received. For more information on starting
a club, read our section on getting
Q: Where can my organization get
the funds to attend a Model United Nations conference?
A: Funds can be obtained through
a variety of means. Since many Model U.N. conferences are held
at colleges and hotels, fees can range from $15 to $165 per
delegate. This fee usually does not include transportation,
meals, or lodging. In some cases, however, meals and lodging
are covered. Some conferences offer early registration discounts,
while others have late fees. Many model U.N. groups can try
to request funds through their school's
administration to cover transportation and conference costs.
Other groups can apply for scholarships, but these are usually
limited to groups traveling abroad. Model U.N. clubs can attempt
to request funds through their local UNA-USA chapters . Additionally,
groups can try local organizations such as Rotary and Lions
Clubs for support. Other ways to raise funds include monthly
group activities, dance-a-thons, bake sales, car washes, and
sporting events. Finally, check AMUN's
guide to fundraising for other ideas.
Q: Should we have a Model United Nations class or a Model UN club?
A: On the issue of class vs. club,
you should do whatever fits your needs best. In order to have
a class, you need a teacher who is fully knowledgeable about
the Model United Nations program. In addition, the teacher would
have to get your school's administration to approve adding the
course into its curriculum, which can be difficult for a new
program. If you want to start a club instead, you would need
a faculty advisor. Talk to your teachers or school principal
to see which option would work best for you.
Q: What is the role of a Model
United Nations faculty advisor?
A: The faculty advisor is usually
a teacher responsible for all of the students when attending
a Model UN conference. Usually the faculty advisor is fully
committed to Model UN, but he or she does not need prior Model
UN experience. This person should be able to assist students
with their research. Also, the advisor oversees students when
they make travel arrangements to conferences. Lastly, the faculty
advisor will help students pick out the Model UN conference
they would like to attend.
Q: How do I recruit members for my Model United Nations team?
A: You can recruit new members by posting flyers all around your school, putting flyers in teachers' mailboxes and setting up a special meeting, either after school or during an activity period. Additionally, you should discuss the conferences you may want to attend, and discuss what happens at a Model UN conference in general. Aside from setting up a meeting, you can go around to different classes or have teachers announce it in their classes.
Adapted from and posted with the permission of UNA-USA.