MUN or how to engage young people in politics!

United Nations is one of the most crucial organisation holding countries together to maintain world’s peace and tackle the problems concerning them. Even if most of their resolutions are not legally binding, its recommendations are taken seriously and also serve as a moral support. There’s no shadow of doubt that it plays huge role in international relationships and have real impact on the world. But do the ordinary people, especially young ones, know a lot about this organization? I don’t think so.

That’s the reason the Model United Nation was created in United States and later spread nationwide. It is a student idea of simulating the meetings of UN with the aim to make young people interested in learning about diplomacy, politics,  international relations and the UN itself. It is extracurricular activity which helps people to connect with each other, share ideas and get a glimpse of how do the big politics work.

For the last three weeks I’ve been away in Berlin, participating in international project in politics and diplomacy. And one weeks was completely devoted to MUN, thus gave me an opportunity to get to know how it really works. Firstly, the committees are divided just as they are in reality – you may be assigned to security council, human rights council or crisis council. There are many of them, depending on the conference you are attending. Then, you are assigned a country which you will be representing. After this moment, you are officially called a ‘delegate’. Last and most important – you are given the topics of the discussion. And the real work begin.

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The opening speech, resolutions and notes.

The Model United Nations procedures works similar to the UN procedures. Dress code is formal and delegations are given specific amount of time to speak. In short – they act as it was real. This is the way to make young people ( mostly from high schools and undergraduate programs) interested in politics and real world’s problems. The event teaches you a lot – at least that was my case. The skills you acquire are long-lasting and useful for your future career. First, the research. Something that you have to do for the university, for your boss or your writings. You will learn critical thinking and how to find the sources of information that are trustworthy. After you’ve gathered the facts, you have to present them. For me, it is the most important skill I learned during MUN – public speaking. Making opening speech, stating your country’s position on the issue, may not be that hard, but defending your points during general discussion definitely is. And let’s not forget how many times in real life you have to convince people you are right . I learned you must not be afraid to speak up and voice your own arguments, even if later proven wrong.

The most important factor that makes Model United Nations so special is the fact that it gathers young people, interested in similar problems together. When you are among those who have various political views and opinions, maybe know more than you do, it makes you motivated to be creative, to learn and to come up with new ideas. It improves your leadership and oratory skills – lobbying time, finding your allies and introducing new amendments to resolution, it all requires certain abilities. And also teamwork is not to be overlooked. Even if you have the brightest ideas how to solve every existing problem, without support of others you will lead you nowhere. Learning how to cooperate with coworkers is probably the most useful thing you may learn here.

All in all, Model United Nations is great idea to gather people from different background, all working together to form better future for their countries and the world. Some of them may end up dealing with it in their professional lives, while others may only treat is as an adventure. Either way, it cannot leave any participant indifferent and disappointed.

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