Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Model United Nations (also known as Model UN or MUN) is a conference format that seeks to replicate the United Nations' procedures. Students roleplay as "Delegates'' for numerous United Nations Committees. Participants conduct analysis and devise policy positions based on the current positions of the countries. The Model League of Nations evolved into the Model United Nations. It is estimated that every year over 400,000 students from all educational levels – from primary school to university – participate in MUNs.
Model UN Conferences in India
Since the practice is decentralized — it developed separately in various geographical regions — and most students' four to eight years with the activity is not long enough to offer them a historical background of Model UN, few have recorded the past of the organization worldwide. Most participants, however, are aware that the organization began as a simulation of the League of Nations and was renamed to Model United Nations after the UN was founded in 1945. The former simulations were known as "International Assembly," and the first was conducted at Oxford University on 12th November 1921. Mir Mahmood, the President of the first Oxford International Assembly, travelled to Harvard in 1922 to help spread this concept further after many simulations in Oxford. During his visit, he lobbied for support of the League of Nations, and he seemed to have encouraged the Harvard Liberal Club to organize the first American International Assembly in 1923 at Harvard University.
While the Oxford International Assembly ceased to exist in the following years, the Harvard International Assembly thrived and has since renewed these simulations all over the world. Participants of the International Assemblies were similar to that of Model UN conference, in which they represented nations, debated to find solutions, and promoted the idea of resolving international conflicts at a negotiation table, which was also a noble concept at the time. Following the founding of the League's successor body, the United Nations, in 1945, Model League of Nations was renamed Model United Nations.
On April 5, 1947, at Swarthmore College, the first Model United Nations conference was held. Over 150 students from 41 colleges are said to have taken part. The delegates pretended to be members of the UN General Assembly, recommending that member states "establish an international control and development of atomic energy" and that nations "promote the reconstruction of devastated areas by economic aid." Model UN conference is designed to improve negotiation, public speaking, and communication skills. Furthermore, crisis committees, which deal with current or historical crisis scenarios, may help improve organizational skills and the ability to adapt to and deal with unforeseen circumstances. A quasi-academic methodology is often used to address material aspects of diplomacy and strategy. Topics are selected for each committee in advance of a meeting, and the conference organizers usually make analysis and context guides (called Study Guides) accessible to each committee. Delegates to each committee are often required to pre-formulate the stance of the country or party they represent, based on these context manuals, and send the outcome of this planning to the chairman of the committee.
The United Nations’ Model UN Program seeks to strengthen and sustain relationships between the UN and MUN participants all over the world. It does so by providing students with guides and seminars on how to improve their simulations; by attending conferences and exchanging practical experience about what the UN is like; and by encouraging Model UN clubs to take concrete steps to promote organization principles and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Even though the Indian Model UN Circuit has only recently gained popularity, it has a lot of promise and variety. It has so far defied the traditional label of an "extracurricular sport" and has evolved into something more than a hobby among Indian students who have embraced the idea with a new sense of zeal. People here are gradually realizing that such conferences are not only for students involved in politics and foreign affairs, but also for students from all walks of life who want to diversify. Model United Nations is assisting students in discovering not just themselves, but also their ability to make a difference in India and around the world. The Indian Model United Nations Circuit has flourished in recent years, with conferences taking place every weekend — and even several conferences on the same dates. The months of January to March and August to November are the busiest for Indian MUN circuit.
Top Model UN Conferences and Societies in India
Following are some of the well-known MUN organizations and conferences:
KIIT MUN- The KIIT International Model United Nations, coordinated by the KIIT University, is one of the world's largest simulations of the United Nations. With each edition since its inception in 2013, the event has raised the bar. According to their array of Executive Board Members, with about 2,500 attendees, the KIIT International MUN 2016 was one of the largest conferences ever held in the world. This conference has participants from not only India's prestigious institutions and organizations, but also from countries all over the world. It's a fantastic opportunity to mingle with delegates from all walks of life while learning the intricacies of diplomacy and leadership from a carefully selected group of Board Members who are truly knowledgeable. The three-day event features lively discussions and extensive analysis, as well as something to look forward to at the end of each day.
Harvard MUN- With the first Model League of Nations in 1927 and the first Model United Nations conference in 1953, Harvard MUN has in total 68 years of experience. HMUN is a Harvard University IRC and Worldview initiative that annually engages over 6000 students in conferences in the United States, China, Dubai, and India. Every year, over 1400 young people from over 150 schools and 15 countries from around the world participate in HMUN India. This year, to commemorate Harvard Model UN India's tenth anniversary, the organizing panel pledged to make it bigger, stronger, and more meaningful for their students by introducing dynamic committees, a diverse range of exceptional speakers, and unique engagements, as well as events, seminars, and training sessions.
The City MUN Project- Commenced in 2016, City MUN Project is a brand of the City One Initiative, dedicated to providing personality development and public speaking conferences for the betterment of individuals. Udaipur, Jodhpur and the Mumbai International Conference are three of the Project's flagship conferences in India. They've held over 50 seminars and training sessions around the world, with over 2500 delegates in attendance. The organization is based around the idea of creating a voice for youth to represent international and national issues on the dais, such as climate change, education, women's empowerment, and global crises, and coming up with concrete solutions.
The Doon School MUN- DSMUN began in 2007 as an intra-school conference. It drew local schools at first, then schools from across the Indian subcontinent and beyond, eventually becoming one of India's largest conferences. It is one of the most prominent MUNs in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 350 delegates from over 40 schools attending each year. The School, in addition to hosting its own international conference every August, sends delegations to various MUN conferences around the world, including Harvard, Colombo, Jordan, Dubai, Seoul and China.
IIMUN- I.I.M.U.N. (India's International Movement to Unite Nations, also known as Indian International Model United Nations) is a grassroot organization made up of 26,000 young organizers who organize student conventions in 160 cities across 22 countries and collaborate with over 7,500 colleges, affecting a total of 10 million students. The association engages school students in discussions on international diplomacy, global events and world politics by simulating the workings of the Indian Parliament and multilateral organizations. The organization's goal is to help Indian students aged 13 to 19 develop into global citizens with an Indian mindset.
Model UN conferences and organizations exist to make the world a better place; shape a more informed, socially liberal audience, and encourage attendees to become leaders of their genre, beyond the fact that it may appear simple enough. Although it is accessible to a limited number for now, initiatives and steps are being taken to expand its reach. Model United Nations conventions are an excellent way to test your technical abilities, leadership skills, and global awareness. It may seem intimidating at first, but there are a variety of preparation programs available where you can get a detailed outline and training before the conferences and events. The traits instilled at an MUN conference will serve you well in your future endeavors.