For those who don’t know, MUN stands for the Model United Nations, and in its official wording is “an educational simulation and/or academic competition in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations.” Whilst this might possibly sound incredibly boring (sorry Mr Christmas!), or academically daunting to some, it is important to realise what MUN is actually like through the eyes of students, as looks can be deceiving. Some of you, mainly Year 7s who had no other choice but to participate in our school’s Junior Conference this week, may want to know why a group of over-excited sixth-formers wanted you to know France’s nuclear weapons programme, amongst other things.
Therefore, here is the list of reasons why MUN is FUN! not as bad as it sounds:
- It’s your chance to unleash all the pent-up anger you’ve been storing up for the whole school year:
Nothing helps that much as passively-aggressively arguing about the food storage facilities of a country you’ve never even heard of. After a while you would have forgotten the actual reasoning behind your argument; the only thing you can focus on is proving the other person wrong.
- Even the worst of your puns will be honoured:
MUN thrives on puns and jokes that would, in normal surroundings, cause groans of frustration throughout the room. On the contrary, the more puns and pop-culture references you can fit into your policy statement, the more likely you are to succeed at the conference as a whole. However, please know your limits, as there is a general rule of quality over quantity.
- Everybody pretends to be smarter, more sophisticated and likeable than they actually are:
Every MUNer has a face they put on during conferences; it is the face of a confident, young, independent and incredibly intelligent individual who can speak on any topic for minutes at the time. However, there is a line which can be rather difficult to detect for first timers: as everybody acts in this way when at an MUN event, it a natural tool of survival for a newbie to attempt to imitate such behaviour. This results in overly-confident, but extremely misinformed new MUNers, upon whom the majority of a committee will centre its collective wrath.
4. Whilst facts and information are extremely essential in general, 80% of people have absolutely no idea what they’re doing:
Prior to a conference, any MUNer worth calling themselves that name will research their country and topics of discussion extensively, as well as their opponents and allies. This is mostly because there is usually access to Wi-Fi or at least 3G in the committee rooms, and it is common knowledge that every single fact or piece of data you mention will be thoroughly checked, and there is nothing more humiliating than being called out on your errors. However, whilst the majority of people at the conference will know their facts, it is very likely that they will have basically no understanding of what they are talking about, what a “Point of Order” can actually be used for, or what to do during the somehow excessive amount of time prescribed just to lobbying.
This is obviously amongst other things, such as that it looks extremely good on any résumé or that MUN will help you in your adult life and dealing with people who know much more than you. MUN is good fun, but in order to be so, you need to actually put the effort in and participate. To join MUN at our school talk to Mrs Routledge.