As the President of the Model United Nations Society, I am very proud and excited to say that we have been shortlisted as one of the ten best Hobby & Interest Societies in the UK at this year’s National Society Awards!
We received the notice a few weeks after submitting our application, and it feels like a huge achievement given that more than 800 applications were submitted and we were competing with many incredible societies across the UK. We are also grateful to the SU’s Communications Team for providing us with a platform on which to share this achievement.
For those who may not know, Model United Nations is an educational simulation in which participants assume the role of national ambassadors or representatives to debate and seek to solve global issues. Any United Nations body or agency can be simulated, but the Security Council and General Assembly are the most popular. Model UN is a great way to build up confidence, learn about global political affairs, diplomacy, and the work of international organisations, and to develop your public speaking, debating, and negotiation skills.
Our aim as a Society is to not only carry out simulations of UN committees, but also to provide the best possible Model UN experience to our members and develop their knowledge of current international affairs, transferable skills, and employability through provision of quality extracurricular activities.
This was our 500-word entry that got us shortlisted:
“Throughout 2018/2019, our Society has consistently been organising high-quality events for all levels of interest and skill relating to Model United Nations, with each one of them celebrating and promoting the shared passion and interest for international affairs that brings students from many different departments into one community – our Society. These have included:
- Weekly debates on hot international issues, including the protection of women migrant workers, food insecurity in Yemen, nuclear terrorism and global disarmament, and preservation of indigenous languages;
- Historical, crisis, and specialised non-UN debates, such as the re-enactment of the 1884 Berlin Conference, a Falklands War II crisis, and a European Council debate on the creation of an EU army;
- Rules of Procedure workshops for beginners, with the aim of acquainting new members with the set of rules we use for our debates;
- Best Delegate workshops for intermediate-to-advanced MUNers, with the aim of further developing their research and negotiation skills and helping them win awards at Model UN conferences;
- Collaborations with the Film Society, the Essex European Movement, the Essex LGBQ+ Officer, the Sri Lankan Society, and others;
- Charity fundraisers to help underprivileged children in India, in collaboration with the Goodwill Society;
- Employability-oriented events, including a visit from a United Nations employee based in Geneva, a videochat with the UN Youth Delegate for Austria, and a videochat with a young EU activist based in Brussels;
- Fun activities and mixers, including an exam de-stress session with games and a pizza/film evening;
- On and off-campus social events, including weekly meetups in Top Bar (our favourite on-campus bar) and a visit to the Escape Room in downtown Colchester.
We have also attended several external Model UN conferences, including WarMUN XII in Coventry and LSEMUN X in London, and we will also send delegations to participate at WorldMUN in Spain (March), LisboMUN in Portugal (March), and EuroMUN in the Netherlands (May), which all include beginner, intermediate, and advanced committees.
From the above, it is evident that we have worked hard to encourage the participation of our members and develop their enthusiasm for Model UN, and we have managed to achieve truly inspirational results. Our member participation this year has been at an all-time high: our first meeting was attended by more than 80 students, and our regular weekly meetings are attended by approximately 20-30 students even during exam times. At the beginning of the year, we expected to have a maximum of 30 members, but our member count currently stands at 92, which is more than triple the expected number!
We have also managed to promote and celebrate our unique qualities so successfully that our University now mentions us as a ‘specialist facility’ in their online overview of the BA International Relations course. We have also been invited by a local high school to help them set up their own Model UN club, not to mention that we have a long-standing partnership with United Nations Association in the UK, and from this year on, with the World Food Programme London as well.”
Now, all that remains is to keep your fingers crossed for us on 30th of April, the day of the awards ceremony in Manchester!
President of the Model United Nations Society