Yasmine A.

Aug 29, 2021

Soft Skills - The Hidden Curriculum of MUN: Part I

By Ioana Staicu, Lindsey High, Xuan Zi Han

** This article is adapted from the workshop conducted by the MUN Department of United Nations Association Youth Platform - UK (UNAYP) during the 1st edition of the UK UN Youth Summit 2021. **


If you have ever been part of a Model UN club, society, or even conference, you most likely had the opportunity to read numerous articles on how to perform in these simulations. Constructing your argument, writing a position paper and a good speech, as well as what on earth you should write in the preambulatory clauses - these are just a few of the staple things MUNers read about when preparing for a session. 

However, what is not explored as much, are the 'unwritten rules' of MUN, the subtle cues and personality dynamics that everyone witnesses but no one really discusses. We all know that there are 'quiet' vs 'loud' Delegates or 'chilled-out' vs 'strict' Chairs, but did you know that there is a spectrum for both categories, rather than two polar opposites?
Also, remember those people who say that 'MUN is just roleplay with no consequence'? Well, there are actually lots of applications and transferable skills that you can use not only in your academic endeavours but also in your personal life. (Take that, nay-sayers!) 

Sounds interesting, right? Read on so we can spill the tea on the 'hidden curriculum' of MUN and give you some tips on how to best harness those soft skills to become your best MUN self! 

 MUN 101

Model United Nations is, as we all may know, a type of simulation that imitates the procedures and debates at the United Nations. This activity aims to find solutions for real-world problems through discussions, debates, lobbying/negotiations and drafting resolutions. All around the world, Model UN is carried out in high school and university-level societies, as well as in their own dedicated conferences. 

What do Delegates and Chairs do, again?
I'm glad you asked - let us break it down for you:

The Delegates' main goal:  represent a country's interests.

Other roles:
  • debate, discuss and negotiate with other Delegates
  • vote on motions, amendments and resolutions
  • draft working papers and resolutions to solve the issue at hand
  • follow the Rules and Procedures specific to the committee + any other directions from the Chairs

The Chairs' main goal:  impartially moderate the debates/discussions.

Other roles:
  • encourage Delegates to speak (especially beginners/shy ones)
  • approve amendments/resolutions
  • take notes on the arguments presented and the blocs formed during lobbying sessions
  • make sure the Delegates respect the ROP
  • give the Best Delegate awards