Washington University International Relations Council

MUN 101

WUIRC welcomes people from all different levels of speech, debate, and Model United Nations (MUN) experience. In fact, some of our most successful delegates never did MUN until college. So, what exactly is MUN?


What is Model UN?

Simply put, MUN is an extra-curricular activity in which students typically role-play delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. While committees have traditionally been based around United Nation bodies, many committees actually simulate a variety of pivotal moments and situations from the past, present, and even future, both real and fictional. Thus, committees can range from the traditional Security Council to historic Roman Senate and fictional Ministry of Magic. The breadth of committee topics ensures that everyone can find and explore their own interests in a dynamic and exciting setting. Our team travels to a number of universities across the country and competes at conferences about five times a year.  We also host two of our own conferences at the high school and collegiate levels, WUMUNS and WUMUNC.


What is a committee?

There are two basic types of committee structures: general assemblies (GAs) and crisis committees. A general assembly usually has over 50 other delegates and works to draft one holistic document that addresses the issue called a resolution. On the other hand, crisis committees are smaller, fast-paced, and therefore use directives, which are concise documents that target the current crisis of the moment. Moreover, there is communication with an outside body (crisis) that serves to simulate the external world. Here at WUIRC, we mostly focus on and compete in crisis committees, although we do travel to a few conferences that offer GA-style debate as well.


What goes on in committee?

In committee, delegates can play the role of either a country or a specific individual. The goal is to contextualize your personal role and it’s relation to the overall committee in order to shape your actions. Debate takes place using parliamentary procedure and features a combination of moderated and unmoderated caucus.  A moderated caucus has a set time frame and speaking time with a clear topic where one delegate speaks at a time. An unmoderated caucus also has a set time frame, but delegates are free to break off and speak freely back and forth amongst one another. Debate is used to help get directives or resolutions written and substantially discussed before the body takes a vote to either pass or fail the document.


Why should I join Model UN?

Home to WashU’s Model UN team, WUIRC focuses on engaging all members, providing a welcoming and stimulating environment for discussion and opportunity, and developing global leaders. Model UN is an extremely rewarding experience that fine-tunes critical thinking, public speaking, and problem solving skills that extend far beyond the bounds of the classroom while having fun at the same time!

While MUN is difficult to describe, there is no better way to learn about MUN than to experience it for yourself! WUMUNS, WUMUNC, and our regular intramural Model UN conferences are a great way to get a taste for Model UN and more involved in the WUIRC community. Participation in intramurals is mandatory for the travel team.