Written by: Ema Sabljak
Enter the world of diplomacy
Diplomacy is a world of precise rules, it is a world of finesse. It is considered by many to be an art, the art of negotiation. It should be the very height of debate and charisma. But it is also a world of excitement, in which every carefully chosen word is a fight for what you believe in. While, that may sound daunting, I assure you that a Model United Nations (MUN) Conference will change your mind. Just as the name indicates, MUNs are simulations of the United Nations, i.e. a formal debate, for High School and University students. In an MUN you are no longer yourself, you represent a chosen country; your ideas should support the goals of that country; you are now a delegate.
Photo credit: The Gannon Knight
Not as disconcerting as it seems
MUNs have a history that spreads not only long, but wide as they are found across the globe. They follow strict rules and procedures, they have a set dress code and they can seem quite less entertaining than they truly are. However, if you have an interest in international relations and topics such as establishing peace in Ukraine and the integration of refugees, you will find there is no better place for you than an MUN. You will learn to speak the delicate language of diplomacy, you will learn to enjoy teamwork, and you will most definitely learn to excel at public speaking and debate. You will learn about international topics and become more aware of global issues, and actually become good at thinking of solutions. And even if you forego all the academic benefits, you are still left in a room filled with likeminded people who truly know how to have fun. These academics know how to entertain themselves, from the enthusiastic karaoke to the ever entertaining “butt spelling” (trust me, look it up). MUNs will not only make you a better person professionally and academically, but they will make sure you have the best three days you’ve had in a while.
Photo credit: GimMUN Ptuj
Those future connections
MUNs are usually filled with people from all over the globe, smart and ambitious people that are clearly going far in life, and it gives you a chance to build beautiful friendships with them and while the experience will be short, you will now share a bond with these people, a precious bond filled with countless internal jokes. You may even be speaking to a future Prime Minister or Member of Parliament. That is possibly one of the best aspects of an MUN. They are a true life experience. However, be warned that once you try one, you will most likely want more.
Advice to the beginners
Finally, a simple word of advice to future MUN delegates, speak up! Even the most experienced MUNer used to fear the podium, but this is your chance to conquer that fear, nobody will judge, this is your chance to learn how to utilize your potential, and trust me, they will be impressed when you win that Best Delegate certificate.
If I’ve managed to intrigue you, this site makes a great resource for all MUNers wanting to learn more, including calendars of future MUNs.