The Beginner's Guide to Model United Nations
Recently Model United Nations seems to have gained traction in Bangladesh. With each successive conference, the number of young, eager participants seem to swell. This should serve as an introduction to those completely oblivious to MUN and beginners seeking help navigating these unfamiliar waters.
Model UN is essentially a simulation of the United Nations committee sessions. The participants ('delegates') are assigned countries they must represent and are allowed to choose their own committee. They are given agendas and must formulate solutions. The committee then discusses the presented solutions until a resolution is passed.
MUN promotes research, communication, reasoning and team work. It teaches participants leadership, diplomacy, gets them acquainted with current world problems from different perspectives.
So is MUN right for you? Depends on how you look at it. It is a chance to make new friends, for a start. Frequent MUN participants often form a close-knit group bordering on a cult. It's also an opportunity to travel, as many MUN conferences take place outside Dhaka, to say nothing of the international conferences. It looks good on a college application, especially if you win a few awards along the way. Having trouble getting your parents to fund your trip overseas? Tell them that you're going for academic reasons. With enough charisma or luck you might even manage to convince your school or university to sponsor you. Most importantly, Model UN is fun. Those who've experienced it say there's nothing more satisfying than having your resolution paper passed.
Of course some have argued that it's quite dull and nothing more than a glorified debate club. Needless to say, not the place to go if you want an adrenaline rush. So best bear that in mind.
For those willing to give Model UN a try the Dhaka University National Model United Nations (DUNMUN) commencing from 21st of December is a great place to start. Being one of the biggest MUN conferences in Bangladesh, it is a great opportunity to practice diplomacy with the brightest young delegates in the country. Or if you're unsure about MUN or aren't ready to unleash your expert public-speaking skills on the world yet, you could just observe or volunteer in one of the committees. That would provide an excellent opportunity to learn.
For beginners looking to shine and impress during their next conference, Sharif Tousif Mustafa, participant in two international MUNs and one local, winner of several awards and part of the organizing team for BUGMUN had some advice.
“In the MUNs I have attended, there were a few people who thought they could come to the MUNs unprepared just because they spoke well. They crashed and burned pretty quick. So do it properly: research efficiently and be confident when speaking to a room and trying to convince them to join your side; they usually respond well to that.”
Well there you have it. Whether it's for the intellectual challenge, a platform to jumpstart your political career or just a way to beef up your ECA record, MUN might just be the thing for you.