As part of the Model United Nations course, offered at the University, 19 students and I were lucky enough to partake in an international conference known as Model United Nations (MUN), held in none other than New York City. MUN is basically a simulation of the United Nations (UN) and is structured around how the UN functions. Various committees and subsidiary bodies of the UN are replicated for students from various universities, that span all over the world, to attend. Each university that attends represents one of the 193 countries that make up our world, as well as NGO’s and non-member states that may not be recognized as official countries (Holy See, State of Palestine… etc). Saint Mary’s University has been partaking in this conference for the past 14 years, with Dr. Marc Doucet as the instructor of the course.
SMU represented the country of Portugal this year with student delegates sitting on 10 committees such as the GA1, UNHCR, HRC, and many more. The conference consists of students discusses real world issues in a diplomatic setting. Students are required to work collaboratively with other delegates representing other countries in hopes of drafting a resolution. In a large committee working papers are merged with other working papers, and delegates have to work together to compromise in the omission and addition of various clauses. Sounds quite complex right? At the end of the conference, which spans the course of 4 days in total, draft resolutions are voted on by the committee as a whole and if the majority of representative countries favor the resolution, it passes and gets adopted.
This conference is literally the most hectic, draining, exhilarating and beneficial couple of days that I’ve been privileged to experience during my time in university. It’s literally the best replica of what it’s like to work in the United Nations. Collaborating with people you’ve never met on a couple of working papers in the matter of a couple of days is literally the best way to test your teamwork skills. Student delegates are conditioned to represent their countries to the best of their capabilities, therefore it is only natural that there be discrepancies when it comes to coming to a consensus.
Over the course of the 4 days you learn to compromise in some capacity and produce a solid draft resolution. More than anything the greatest part of this entire experience is getting out of your comfort zone and reaching out to people that enjoy discussing real world issues. And to be a part of this conference in a city such as New York is literally the icing on the cake. If you’re interested in this course don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Marc Doucet: firstname.lastname@example.org