Pros and cons of the MUN culture

Published By Stephanie Jackson, 23 Apr 2019

Pros and cons of the MUN culture

Model United Nations, better known as Model UN or MUN has become a sort of a trend amongst students today. MUN involves and teaches participants speaking and debating skills, in addition to thinking critically, skills appropriate for teamwork and the ability to show leadership in the face of adversity. The main reason of Model UN is to give students a deeper understanding of the issues plaguing the world today. Participants in these conferences are known as delegates. They are placed in committees and assigned countries to represent, and on occasion they represent other organizations or political figures. These assignments are presented to them prior to the actual conference, along with topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research related to their topics beforehand and devise positions that they will then debate on with their fellow delegates present in their committee. However, they cannot take the side they prefer, but rather, they have to present the opinion of the country or organization they are assigned. The best-performing delegates in each committee, as well as the best delegations, are awarded At the end of a conference.

Pros of the MUN culture

Participation in these conferences is meant to stimulate communication skills, including speaking and negotiation skills. There are also crisis committees, where the aim is to deal with crisis situations, develop leadership skills and the ability to think outside the box in situations which rise unexpectedly as these crisis committees can involve any situation, whether contemporary or historical. In preparation for a conference, topics are chosen for each committee, and the organizers make a background guide of these topics available for the committees and their delegates to go through. Delegates of each committee are expected to formulate the position of the country or group they represent prior to the actual conference based on these guides, and then submit the result of their preparation to their committee. This procedure is done to make sure the delegates are familiarized with the topics they will be debating which will ensure extensive Academic Research on the delegates’ part. The purpose of Model UN is not to argue with the nature of a question, prove facts or even defend a specific policy but to provide solutions that every nation can use to resolve crises and thus rise to the task of maintaining international peace and security. This is where parliament and the UN differ, distinguishing a power struggle from actual diplomacy. There is the added benefit of growing confident and feeling empowered when a satisfying resolution is passed. Most people studying international affairs dream of working for the UN and this is the perfect opportunity for them to learn the way it works. But once you’re at MUN and you realize that in order to pass your resolution you need to find allies, otherwise you won’t have enough votes, you realize there might be some drawbacks. This is because in order to actually get enough sponsors, you resolution has to be changed a lot to please your allies. Teamwork skills, leadership abilities and sheer force of will come into play here.

Cons of the MUN culture

These conferences may be pretty expensive making it hard for debaters from different backgrounds to take part in them especially if they are abroad as all the good ones usually seem to be. There are some that might be for show only, with not a lot of debating going on thus are deemed as both a waste of money and time. Further, students might have to skip school to attend these conferences which is a huge waste of resources in itself. Moreover, delegates are supposed to stick to their country’s foreign policy and the information that they use is real, but the resolution that passes serves no actual purpose. These resolutions that delegates work so hard on do not get sent to the United Nations as believed by many so isn’t it a complete waste to work so hard on coming up with a solution with no actual purpose. Furthermore, students that deem themselves better than others defeat the whole purpose of teamwork. They are always unwilling to cooperate and only want show off their supposed better debating skills. Slightly worse than these debaters are the awards which might be the most unfair way to recognize someone’s hard work as these awards become all that they work for instead of learning from the whole process of the MUN. These awards just bring the competitive sides of some people right out which ruins the experience of other debaters who come to these conferences to learn from it. 

Author Bio: This article has been written by Oliver Robbing who works at College Homework Helper - Pro Homework Help, an avid debater and part time journalist.