As all delegates preach, Model UN is more than an academic activity, or a simulation. Model UN teaches critical life skills and geopolitical understandings that have been tested during this pandemic. From learning to work together in a massive General Assembly committee to quick-paced thinking in crisis committees, Model UN provides students with experiences necessary to thrive in the new world of COVID-19. In times of uncertainty, participants in Model UN are better prepared to understand the frightening circumstances of a global pandemic, in a number of ways.
1. Understanding Global Crisis Response Mechanisms
In Model UN, delegates learn about non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and how they work with/alongside national governments.
The global crisis response mechanism is highly applicable to the circumstances of COVID-19. Model UN teaches that.
A pandemic that is globalized requires an innately global response. Therefore, the nuanced understanding of global systems and transnational governance that Model UN provides is an asset now more than ever.
Almost every organization related to or inside of the United Nations is currently attempting to mitigate the detrimental effects of a worldwide pandemic.
2. The Critical Lesson Of Perspective
At its core, Model UN is based on the capacity to put yourself in another’s shoes: perspective. In the circumstances of a global pandemic–in which people of different age groups, health conditions, and socio-economic statuses are all affected in different ways–perspective is more important than ever.
Whether it’s directly or indirectly, COVID-19 has hurt pretty much everyone at this point. It’s important to be able to understand what everyone else is going through. Having a graduation ceremony get cancelled is sad. Not being able to be with a parent in their last moments of life: that’s tragic. Everyone feels the effects of the coronavirus in some way or another, but some are worse than others.
Model UN, with its emphasis on empathy, perspective, and global togetherness, teaches students to think outside of themselves.
Model UN spreads compassion, and everyone who participates in it will walk away learning how to understand others.
3. Think Policy-Making
During this pandemic, we’ve seen the enactment of action–or failure to do so–by governments result in major catastrophes. Governmental responses to COVID-19 are something most people can criticize.
While many delegates who have participated in Model UN are going off in their own directions, many are looking to become the future leaders of the world. Model UN teaches effective policy-making, ingenuity, quick-thinking, and self-advocacy.
Skills that are used in every committee session, like lobbying and clause-writing, provide the tools necessary to mobilize students for change. Model UN teaches students what to demand of their public officials, and how to accomplish tangible legislative change.
Much like everything else, the Model UN sphere has felt the effects of COVID-19, but as a community, we must continue to practice resilience and lean in. Though many in-person conferences for the first half of the Model UN season are being cancelled, there are still options to plan ahead for in the spring. Further, there are plenty of online Model UN conferences and training options to choose from. At All-American, we’re even offering 3 virtual Model UN academies this summer. However you choose to do it, stay engaged: in times when much of the world feels unstable, Model UN delegates have the tools to make it all make sense.
Related Article: 3 Ways to Keep Your Model UN Team Active During Quarantine