Model United Nations (MUN) is the fastest growing and most popular skills building UN simulation amongst young people today. MUN offers a chance for people to take on present day and future challenges facing every country in the world. Vibrant and stimulating, MUN gives participants a chance to discuss various issues from threats to international peace and security in a model Security Council setting, to organ transport around the world in a model World Health Organisation.
Much like the real UN, people from around the world participate, and competition has become fierce in this realm of imitation diplomacy. MUN is particularly popular within university and school campuses around the world; competition for the best team arises when participants from different universities and schools go head-to-head in inter-campus tournaments. Now a trend is emerging where the simulation resembles an even greater likeness to the real UN; national teams formed by students and young people, acting as delegations and missions of their Member State at the Global MUN.
UNA Youth, already composed of hundreds of gifted and enthusiastic MUNers is taking proactive measures to establish its own Mission to Global MUN by forming the United Kingdom’s first ever national MUN team. UNA Youth began taking the first steps in reaching this goal of a national MUN team by asking many of its branches across the UK if they would be interested. The response was overwhelming. With over 90% of branches responding with astounding support of this decision, the work began. In March 2011 a vote passed unanimously at the UNA Youth Manchester Policy Conference for “the creation of a national MUN team for the U.K...for university level students”. When the same proposition was taken to the UNA-UK Policy Conference in Cardiff in June 2011, UNA Youth received tremendous support from the greater UNA-UK membership. Finally in June 2011, at the UNA Youth AGM, the membership voted in favour of the development of a National MUN team, and since then the new Youth Council has been working tirelessly to form the UK (MUN) Mission that will represent the UK’s interests at Model UN’s around the world.
With this support from the UNA-UK membership and avid interest from the UNA Youth branches the foundation stones for the prospective UK (MUN) Mission are being laid. Already, the Youth Council has selected an MUN officer tasked with liaising with the 30+ UNA Youth branches which actively take part in MUN every year. The lengthy process of creating an organisational structure specific to a national team which will work in conjunction with UNA Youth and UNA-UK is well under way. Next, establishing delegate criteria and an applications/elections process will hopefully result in selecting delegates who can successfully represent the (model) UK’s interests and positions. Finally, a name mirroring the ‘UK Mission to the United Nations’ but appropriate to MUN will be debated and decided. UNA Youth has taken on a challenging task that when achieved will place UK MUNers amongst the top Model UN delegations in the world.
UNA Youth is reinforcing its goals and pledge to help young people to engage, understand, and commit to real life issues in the world, reflecting the goals of the United Nations itself and encouraging young people to be active global citizens and to work for a strong, credible and effective UN.
By Stephen Vanson (UNA Youth, MUN Officer) & Tyna Vayalilkollattu (UNA Youth, President)