MUN Goes Global



Edward Berg

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a diplomat representing your country at a place such as the United Nations (UN)? If you have, then sit in for a round of Colgate’s Model UN (MUN).

Colgate’s MUN bases itself on the international mediating body of the UN. As in the actual UN itself, students attempt to persuade the rest of the body to support the cause of their particular country or group.

“Model UN is quite simply students getting together from all around the world to simulate the United Nations,” sophomore vice-president of MUN Megan Haire said. “The structure of a MUN conference changes from conference to conference, but most conferences will have a number of General Assemblies available, which will have one or two students from a school representing a country.”

Model UN allows students to assume the role of diplomat. It is the role of the diplomat to convince the diplomats of other countries to support the particular position of their country on world issues. Each country is allotted a half-minute to speak before another country is given the chance to share its views on a given issue.

“Everything is spontaneous and improvised; you rarely have a chance to prepare a speech,” first-year MUN member Amy Appleby said.

In such a fast paced environment as MUN, one wonders about the actual particularities of policy-making abroad. Since time is limited and there is much to speak about, countries must be quick and to the point on their issues.

“You are placed in a forum where you are required to know your topic inside and out, defend every statement you make and question everyone else around you,” junior Nina Cheng said. “Many of the issues we deal with are very specific to a degree that can’t be learned from textbooks and lectures.”

Simply put, MUN is global in its perspective. This requires knowledge of each country, their stances on various issues and the geopolitics associated with each country.

The international perspective of MUN allows it to be dynamic and unique in that it contends to a larger crowd. To that end, Colgate’s MUN travels all around the world to interact with fellow student diplomats.

“Our club has traveled extensively domestically and abroad, including to England, Scotland, Canada and China,” Cheng said. “However, it’s not just where our conferences are. The content of our committees makes a big difference. I expect the next conference to be a very memorable one, as I will be in the Ottoman Divan of 1912, and it’s not every day you get to be a Grand Vizier.”

Though well traveled, Colgate’s MUN was founded just three years ago. Since then, MUN has received numerous recognitions from large tournaments hosting some of the best and most seasoned student diplomats around.

“The club has done very well over the past few years,” Haire said. “This year we have been to one conference at Georgetown University, the National Collegiate Security Conference. We brought 14 to this conference and we had four people win awards. Last year we traveled to conferences at Yale, Penn, Oxford, McGill and Worlds, which was held in Beijing, China, where we were able to have people get awards.”

Colgate MUN members look forward to a promising year. Next weekend the club will travel to the University of Pennsylvania, one of the largest MUN tournaments on the East Coast, which will be followed by many challenging conferences over the next few months.