Model UN: Developing Global Citizenship and Leadership Skills

Virginia Model UN Conference

For more than 30 years, the University of Virginia has hosted one of the top high school Model UN conferences in North America. VAMUN is run by the International Relations Organization and takes place on UVA’s historic grounds.

Students prepare by researching their assigned country and topic for the weekend of the conference. This research often includes writing a position paper.

What is Model UN?

Model UN is an academic experience that allows students to simulate the United Nations and practice diplomacy, research, writing, public speaking, and compromise. It is a great opportunity to develop critical skills for college and career.

The goal of the organization is to foster global citizenship through experiential learning programs that encourage delegates to engage in discussions with other countries in order to understand different perspectives, positions and policies and ultimately find common ground. Students assume the role of a country and engage in discussions in specialized committees such as the General Assembly, Security Council, Human Rights Council, Environmental Agency, etc.

Delegates will spend time researching their position and the country they are representing, preparing a “Position Paper,” drafting resolutions, and engaging in debate. They will also learn how to navigate the complex parliamentary procedure used by each conference. The process is very interactive and requires an active participation by all delegates. This is one of the key features that makes it so valuable to future leaders.

Why Should I Join Model UN?

Not many extracurricular activities can offer the depth of experience that Model UN offers. It will teach students critical skills that they can use in their future careers and lives.

It will help to develop public speaking skills, and can even lead to a job opportunity for some students. It will also improve analytical and problem-solving skills. It is a great way to make friends that will last a lifetime.

Students will learn to pay attention to global news and understand that what happens in one part of the world impacts people everywhere. This understanding can create a world of peace.

Many schools will send their MUN teams to conferences outside of their state and country. If your school doesn’t already have a MUN program, you can start one by following the normal procedures for starting a club at your school. You will need to find a faculty advisor and some interested students to start a team.

How Can I Get Involved?

If you are interested in becoming a model UN delegate or staff, the first step is to seek out your school’s club faculty advisor. They are well versed in the recruitment process and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. They will be able to guide you through the process of joining your school’s MUN club, and coach you through your first conference experience.

The second step is to attend any club meetings or training sessions that your school MUN club may host. This will allow you to meet the student leaders of your club and get a feel for the club dynamic. This will also help you establish a relationship with the club leaders, which will be invaluable once you begin attending conferences. Finally, be prepared to make some initial investments in the MUN activity. You will likely be required to purchase Western Business Attire for conferences, and your participation in the activity will require a certain level of dedication and financial commitment.

How Can I Get Started?

Model UN is an internationally recognized extracurricular program that allows students to shape their leadership skills and gain international experience. It is a great way to build critical thinking, communication and public speaking skills as well as to learn about world issues and develop possible solutions to those issues.

Each year, GSMUN hosts a large conference in Richmond, VA. This event brings over 500 high schools from across the region together for a weekend of debate and learning. This is one of the oldest and largest high school Model UN conferences in Virginia.

In addition to hosting a large conference, GSMUN also sends delegations to domestic and international collegiate conferences. These conferences allow students to compete against other university students, and gain valuable experiences that will serve them throughout their lives. This 2021 – 2022 school year, our team was named among the top 10 Model UN programs nationally. This is due to the hard work of all delegates, club leaders and mentors over the course of this academic year.

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