NHSMUN | Why Participate in Model UN?


“We look at today’s world the same as people have looked at the world for ages: we see the potential for greatness, along with the dark shadow of evil and despair. Some are ‘passengers’ of humanity while others take the driver’s seat. Model UN isn’t just simulation; it is practice for those who want to drive humanity toward that greatness. Why does my school do Model UN? We’re watching our future global leaders take form before our very eyes.”

— Zachary Simmons, Haverhill High School

Model UN provides students with a truly holistic educational experience. First, students undergo rigorous academic preparation as they research the country they have been assigned, the UN committee they are simulating, and the debate topics chosen by NHSMUN. This academic preparation requires the students to develop an understanding of modern international relations (a subject not usually taught in core curricula), typically through individual research or working in small groups.

Through representing their assigned countries, students also expand their knowledge of other cultures, as they are forced to abandon their personal opinions and discover the very different ways that countries can approach the same problems. Finally, the students must also be prepared to broadcast their policy in front of their committees and peers. This requires students to train strong public speaking skills, both in the form of prepared speeches and careful, fact-based improvisation.

At the conference, all three of these areas converge to create a truly unique learning environment. To best represent a country, students need to advocate for their country’s policy in prepared speeches to their peers. However, they also need to be prepared to think critically on their feet about where their country would be willing to compromise, based on their understanding of the values most important to the country. All this is possible only with a careful understanding of the facts of the topic and the solutions that will create meaningful change. Because MUN is a well-known global phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of students participating every year, schools and businesses look for these experiences when students apply to college or their future careers. Because skills like research, public speaking, and negotiation are critical skills for almost any modern career, this experience is sought inside and outside of international relations work.