What is Model United Nations?
Model UN is an educational simulation that allows all those interested in international relations and diplomacy to develop their knowledge of current world affairs, public speaking, and negotiation through participation in simulations of diplomatic conferences and committee meetings of international organisations, most commonly formal sessions of different UN bodies, although it is not uncommon to come across simulations of other international bodies or organisations, e.g. the EU Parliament, ASEAN, the African Union, UNASUR, and even historical or crisis committees.
It is essentially a role-playing activity in which Society Members are transformed into diplomats in order to tackle political issues of international importance. Every week, a different problem is being addressed: in the past, we have had discussions about the European refugee crisis, the effects of rising sea levels on small island states, the threats facing the Antarctic Treaty, the political situation in Cyprus, the war in Syria, the Kashmir crisis and many more.
At the beginning of every meeting, each Member picks the State they wish to represent and the debate begins! The idea is to have a productive discussion with everybody (no matter how different your opinions are), evaluate who could be your "allies" and your "enemies", convince as many delegates to see the benefits of your proposals, and reach the ultimate goal: pass a resolution.
What else do we do?
Each year, we organise induction sessions and Rules of Procedure workshops for Model UN beginners, and the year 2020/2021 will be no exception, so you can expect these in the first few weeks of Autumn term. In addition to workshops on Model UN itself, we also organise a number of career-focused workshops. Many of our members have gone to work in high political careers, and we always love to welcome back Essex alumni's to share their experience.
We also try to prepare and send official University of Essex delegations to as many international Model UN conferences as we can, mainly in the UK and across the EU. Some of the "hottest" conferences we've attended were WorldMUN (Harvard in Madrid), LIMUN (London), EuroMUN (Maastricht), WarMUN (Warwick), and HamMUN (Hamburg), but we're always trying to expand our repertoire and go to conferences we've never been to before.
As a regional partner of UNA-UK, we often get invitations and discounts for special UN-related events in London and elsewhere, such as panel debates with Ban Ki-Moon and António Guterres, and our Members have thoroughly enjoyed these in the past. We also have plans for organising weekend trips to some of the most important centres of international politics in Europe.
After each weekly meeting, we tend to organise a mini-social in Top Bar on campus to get to know each other in a more casual setting and have some light-hearted fun. In the past, we've also organised other special events like bowling socials, room escape socials, and we are currently coming up with new ideas for our Member-only events in 2020/2021, so stay tuned and like our Facebook page for the most up-to-date news.
Due to recent events, until further notice, all society meetings will take place online on Discord (terms may change depending on COVID-19 developments in the future)
We plan to fundraise for the UNICEF this year and other worthy causes and charities. Pre-COVID you would usually find us on Square 3 for our regular bake sales.
What can we offer you?
Our Executive team (which you can check out under the Contact tab) is always there should you need any help with the formalities of Model UN beyond our beginners' workshops, preparing for or attending conferences, or any other questions or doubts you may have. Just drop us a message on Facebook or directly contact our President, Audrey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Active participation in our meetings and attending external conferences is a surefire way to boost your political awareness, as well as your communication, negotiation, and public speaking skills, which are transferable skills that will enhance your CV and be useful in many jobs and professions, particularly those related to international relations and diplomacy. One of our former presidents has won the Many Languages, One World 2016 essay contest sponsored by the UN Academic Impact and got to speak at the General Assembly of the UN in New York partly because of the importance she gave to the values and skills that Model UN has given her in her application, and another of our former Presidents completed an internship with the UN and is now a UN Consultant in one of their European offices. Many of our executives and Members have also had access to many valuable opportunities particularly because of their involvement with the Model UN Society and the connections and skills they have built up via Model UN conferences.
When do we meet?
Our meetings happen once a week on Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm UK time on Zoom