Since the emergence of COVID-19, the way people meet and interact has been significantly altered, particularly events that require a large number of people. Model UN conferences, unfortunately, have not been exempt from the changes in interactions required to prevent the spread of the virus. With delegates no longer able to convene in person, online conferences are becoming increasingly popular as a way to continue participating in MUN in accommodation with social distancing guidelines. While online conferences are not an equal substitute to in-person ones, they provide a unique opportunity for delegates to continue to sharpen their skills while staying at home and are an experience that delegates should take advantage of when possible.
They are good practice
Every conference is an additional experience from which delegates can learn and practice their speaking, debating, and leadership skills.
Participating in different style committee with a diverse array of topics is what allows even the most successful delegates to better themselves.
You can use experiences in different committees to contribute to become more well-rounded and incorporate the strategies they learn into their performance. Online conferences should be viewed in the same way. They should be viewed as a different style of committee where one must use certain techniques and emphasize certain skills that may not be as common at an in-person conference. These new skills, along with practice in speeches, solution-writing, and research will help keep your MUN skills sharp and allow you to gain a broader knowledge base of different topics.
They expose you to different competition
In local and even some collegiate conferences, many of the same schools and people consistently compete against each other, making a lot of conferences seem repetitive. With online conferences, however, geographic location does not need to determine attendance, allowing for a diverse blend of people from many countries, and thus many perspectives to attend the conference. This new combination of people allows participants to practice competing with others who use different styles of debating and writing, a great opportunity for delegates to learn effective techniques and strategies to use in future conferences.
In MUN, exposing yourself to new people and different tactics is essential to success in committee and online conferences are the quickest and easiest way to do so.
They are something to do in place of Canceled activities
Many delegates were unable to participate in various conferences and other activities at the end of the academic year due to COVID-19, meaning that they have been left with fewer opportunities to practice and improve their skills before summer vacation where MUN conferences are almost non-existent. With online conferences, however, Model UN does not have to be restricted to being an in-school activity. It can be done over the summer and the experience can be enhanced with the extra preparation time that is normally not available because of school and other commitments. Not having school along with not being able to go on vacations, attend internships, or do other summer activities creates the perfect environment for a conference because it can reduce boredom and make delegates feel a sense of pride and accomplishment during an especially difficult time.
They only require internet access
Participating in online conferences does not require any effort beyond visiting a website and signing onto a conferencing application, meaning they are accessible to a larger range of people who no longer have to worry about transportational or financial obstacles to attend. With physical presence, a proper facility, and conference amenities being unnecessary, many conferences can significantly lower or even eliminate their fees.
Cars, buses, or other forms of transportation are not needed to attend online conferences; delegates can log in from home.
With all of these changes, those who may not be able to attend as many conferences as they would like because of limited access to the tools needed for traditional conferences are now able to do so, opening up Model UN to many more people.
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