What is MUN?
A Model United Nations conference simulates a United Nations conference during which students are assigned member countries to represent. A conference often consists of multiple committees that address challenges that have to do with the subject of the committee. Students write resolutions in which the council or committee presents its strategies and policies needed for solving a problem. Before the start of a conference delegates have already conducted extensive research. For many conferences it is compulsory to hand in a position paper. Delegates elaborate further on their stance at the start of the conference during their opening statement. Although delegates are expected to pursue the representative’s country’s interest, the entire council or committee is responsible for handing in a resolution before the end of the conference. These obligations are all in place to guarantee serious debate. Moreover, a Model United Nations conference is not all about discussing world problems, for it has a large social aspect. A great deal of delegates leave a conference with new friends, a useful side-effect considering the diversity of nationalities of delegates. Thus, a delegate builds up a global network of friendships, bound by common interests and fond memories.
The origins of Model United Nations are as old as the predecessor to the United Nations: the League of Nations. In the turbulence of the first half of the 20th century, educators began to understand the importance of international diplomacy. The first Model League of Nations conferences are believed to have been held in the 1920’s. After World War II the number of Model United Nations conferences gradually increased. In present times it is a widely known concept among both students and pupils all over the world. Its expansion is not just a matter of popularity, our world needs young, bright minds who are willing to cooperate for the common good. We are eager to serve the students of Leiden University, an University ranking high on the fields of politics and international relations, through the Minerva United Nations initiative.