What is MUN?
While there is no official record of exactly how and when Model UN began, we do know that Model UN is the successor of a series of student-led Model League of Nations simulations. Some people believe that the first Model UN conference was held at Harvard University, although other colleges claim they held the first conference. However, it is clear that the first was held some time in the early 1950s. Regardless, simulations of international organization which was The League of Nations, began even before the establishment of the United Nations. The League of Nations was the predecessor to the United Nations. The League was founded in 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference, after World War I, but failed to maintain peace during World War II. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. However, the organization body has failed to respond to most critical, political, social, and security challenges of 21st century mostly due to the failure to reform itself following significant fast and major changes in the international system. To exemplify this ineffectiveness and failure, the last five years due to its deadlock in the U.N. Security Council, the U.N. has failed to even adopt an arms embargo against the Assad regime in Syria. Within this framework, Turkey is attempting to make the U.N. meaningful and functional despite obstructions and it should continue in its attempts.
Because of this platform, despite all of the aforementioned deadlocks, is the most important apparatus in the hands of the world’s countries. Today, some Model UN conferences include simulations of the League of Nations among their committee offerings. In recent decades, Model UN has spread through each part of the world, with major organizations such as Harvard and THIMUN establishing additional conferences in regions to meet burgeoning demand. The Ivy League Model United Nations, a branch of the Model UN society in the University of Pennsylvania, hosts conferences for delegates currently studying in high school in India and China, as well.
For over 60 years, students have benefited from this interactive learning experience. It is the difficulty of learning to negotiate and to compromise when necessary, with people from every background, culture, religion and perspective that makes Model United Nations what it is. It engages young people in studies and discussions on global issues, enabling them to understand the world in a better way. From it they acquire the skills that they will benefit from through their lives, that are researching, public speaking, problem solving, reaching consensus on controversial issues, resolving conflicts, cooperating even when it requires compromise, and at the same time, making new friends of all backgrounds.