Are you interested in international affairs, diplomacy, and public speaking? If so, consider joining Model United Nations. Model United Nations—often abbreviated to MUN—is an academic simulation of the intergovernmental organization, the United Nations. To join WBHS’ Model United Nations club, simply attend the weekly Wednesday meetings in Mr. Ridenour’s room, 603.
At the core of MUN is the delegate conference. Each conference attempts to imitate a real meeting of UN representatives to discuss diplomatic policy. Before each conference, a pressing current event is chosen as the central topic of discussion. Participating students (delegates) are assigned representative committees and countries. One upcoming delegate conference WBHS students are preparing for is the annal South East Michigan Model U.N. Association (also known as SEMMUNA) conference, which takes place in November at Northville High School.
Mr. Ridenour, MUN’s moderator and advisor at WBHS, said, “While delegates talk about how to solve the world’s problems, they have to make sure they play their country’s role well.” Delegates are encouraged to prepare and research their assigned topics—from the perspective of their representative nation and committee—well in advance of conferences to ensure they hold a well formulated, detailed, and opinionated stance on the topic.
MUN conferences consist of three types of sessions: formal debate, regulated caucus, and unregulated caucus. During a formal debate, delegates take turns individually addressing the topic through debate, speeches, and answering questions. Regulated caucuses have the delegates disregard formality and structure, instead opting for open discourse. Some limiting factors in a moderated caucus include that the conference chair must recognize each speaker, and speech times are usually shorter than in the formal debate. Delegates must also vote for a motion in order to request a moderated caucus. Finally, the unmoderated caucus allows delegates to engage in completely informal discussion.
The overriding motive for all debate among delegates is to arrive at a resolution. Simply put, a resolution is the proposed solution to a problem.
Whatever reason one might have to join MUN, entrants will likely benefit academically and intellectually from the program. Participants in MUN are not a group of ultra-specialised geeks speaking in jargon about esoteric political topics. MUN is a program attended by a diverse body of students, all coming in with different motivations. Some may want to boost their confidence speaking in front of audiences, while others participate in feeding a pre-existing passion for international diplomacy.
WBHS senior Eriq Carey notes his experience with MUN; “I joined MUN because I love history and current affairs. My time here has really improved my skills in debate, improvisation, and speech writing.”