I had the pleasure to spend the past three days at the McMaster Model United Nations conference in Hamilton, Ontario. I was named the Russian Federation delegation in the Economic and Social Council and debated solutions to problems such as the integration of immigrants, ageism, and peace-building/conflict recovery. The MACMUN team kept up on our toes, even adding a crisis related to a refugee camp in Turkey.
I was lucky to have the opportunities to compete in my regional Model UN throughout high school. Over the course of three years, I represented Belarus, Sri Lanka, and Hungary on a variety of concerning issues. I have always enjoyed the action and preparation of Model UN - it truly can be fun. However, as I prepared for this conference, using the skills taught in my Integrated business and Humanities course, I constantly drew similarities to the knowledge gained from my classrooms. I am writing this post to explain some of the many benefits of competing in a Model UN Conference.
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that Model UN is a great educational exercise in research, public speaking, and teamwork. These are skills that you will need throughout your career, and Model UN is wonderful practice. Delegates develop confidence and leadership skills through experience as well as negotiation, and writing skills through resolution drafting. What should also be noted (as a commerce student), is how many business skills can be gained for Model UN. For business students and frankly all students, you must consider the facts the in Model UN there is team-building, conflict resolution, and being open and considerate to other ideas. Also, Model UN is a strong display of leadership and global knowledge for resumes going forwards. There is a gap between classroom activities and non-classroom activities and Model UN is a bridge, as noted by the McMaster President Dr. Patrick Dean.
Getting strong grades is wonderful, but events such as this truly enhance your inter-personal skills. As a delegate, you combine and develop the intellectual capacity of a student and the social skills of a diplomat. To the best of my knowledge, all Model UNs organize and offer a set of social events, which act as an opportunity to have a good time with the people you’ve met. You will also develop a network of alumni from your MUN club and people you’ve met at conferences. I have already added several of my fellow delegates and MACMUN staff on Facebook and LinkedIn (you know you are old when...)
Finally, in this crazy world of conflict and globalization, learning about the world and how it interacts is crucial. No matter your field, you will interact with people from different and diverse countries. Representing a nation. forces you to learn about a certain country in particular, but the conference looks at how people represent countries other than your own, and how to formulate possible solutions to global problems. I think this is the most important advantage of Model UN because it is so hard to think of doing this in a classroom setting. Exploring information and problems independent of the classroom is such a vital step to becoming better global citizens.
Oh, and it is incredibly fun! Which is why I hope to be back next year and hope you try it too!