This month students from high schools and universities in Alaska and Washington participated in the 35th Model United Nations Conference hosted by the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Students from Steller represented four countries and participated in six committees.
A Model United Nations is a simulation of one or more of the bodies of the United Nations. High school students from around the world participate in MUN conferences at the local, national and international level. This year the topic selected at our local level was the COVID Pandemic.
Participating in MUN means representing a nation state and their positions on a specific topic on the world stage. Preparation often includes research about government, population, demographics, history and current policies in order to fairly represent your countries interests in the United Nations. This often culminates in the position paper, a brief essay describing your country’s history, policy and position on the theme of the conference. The decisions you make in MUN are based upon this paper. For me, one of the hardest things to do at MUN is adopting the mindset of your country’s government, and role playing as an official of that government – especially when I don’t personally agree with the policies of the country I am representing. My natural tendency is to want to give my own opinion about things. However, MUN is about fulfilling a role which isn’t your own, and working with others for the interest of your country and the global community.
I have learned a lot from participating in MUN conferences around the world – from learning about research skills, to crafting a resolution. But one of the most important things has been to see how all the rules and regulations in a big organization can be used effectively to get things done, and also how they can be misused and get in the way. I would recommend anyone should give MUN a try!
Eli P. Senior
Want to learn more about MUN? See here.