FAQ – About the MMUN Program
Q: What is Model United Nations?
Model United Nations is a simulation of the UN General Assembly and other multilateral bodies. In Model UN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors from UN member states to debate current issues on the organization’s agenda. While playing their roles as ambassadors, student “delegates” make speeches, prepare draft resolutions, negotiate with allies and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the Model UN conference rules of procedure – all in the interest of mobilizing “international cooperation” to resolve problems that affect countries all over the world.
Before playing out their ambassadorial roles in a Model UN simulation, students research the issue that their committee will address. Model UN participants learn how the international community acts on its concerns about topics including peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and hunger, economic development and globalization. Model UN delegates also look closely at the needs, goals and foreign policies of the countries they will represent at the event. The insights they gain from their exploration of history, geography, culture, economics and science contribute to the authenticity of the simulation when the role playing gets under way. The delegates’ in-depth knowledge of their countries guarantees a lively and memorable experience.
How did Model UN begin?
While there is no official record of how Model UN began, we do know that Model UN is the successor of a series of student-led Model League of Nations simulations. Some people believe that the first Model UN conference was held at Harvard University, although other colleges claim they held the first conference. Regardless, simulations of international organizations began even before the birth of the United Nations!
Q: What is the difference between the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) Program and a Model United Nations (MUN) Program?
Montessori Model UN differs in important ways from the traditional Model UN program. First, MMUN is not competitive and does not give awards or prizes. The reason is that neither does the UN. The goal for UN Ambassadors is to foster the interests of their country while creating collaborative agreements with other member states.
MMUN focuses on assisting the delegates to find common ground and create one consensus based resolution per topic. The committee work is based on collaboration and negotiation rather than debate. Skills that will last a lifetime.
Another important difference is that the MMUN Rules of Procedure are not parliamentary because the UN is not a parliamentary forum but one where each member state is sovereign.
MMUN encourages delegates to find their voice and take action to solve global issues that affect the world we share.
Q: What types of topics are discussed in a Montessori Model United Nations conferences?
The agenda items discussed in committee vary at each conference. Most conferences tend to focus on current affairs issues that are being discussed in the United Nations. These issues can highlight political, financial and/or social concerns. However, the task of committees might be to address hypothetical concerns or issues from the past or future. For example, many conferences have “crisis” committees, in which delegates must react to a hypothetical or actual crisis situation. Other conferences host historical or future Security Council simulations.
Q: What are some of the educational benefits of Montessori Model United Nations?
For almost 10 years 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 cooperation.
Q: What is a Montessori Model United Nations delegate?
A Model UN delegate is a student who assumes the role of an ambassador to the United Nations in a Model UN simulation. Prior to a conference or event, a Model UN delegate does not need extensive experience in international relations. Anyone can participate in Model UN, 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 UN students tend to go on to become great leaders in politics, law, business, education and medicine.
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