An event that once began as a typical in-person Model UN conference has now developed into one of the most prominent socially-distanced, online Model UN conferences to date. Distance Model United Nations, or DMUNC, is a 100% online Model UN conference that is bringing the educational experience of Model UN to living rooms all across the world.
Taahna Zubery, Secretary-General, speaks on how her passion for Model UN pushed her to explore ways to make the activity suitable for online:
“If educational institutions of all levels can adapt to online coursework, Model UN can, too.”
The process of building the website and outlining what procedure would look like online took some time. Moving Model UN to a digital platform was a process that, as Zubery attests, required extensive trial and error: researching new apps and web services, conducting practice simulations, making minor tweaks to Parliamentary Procedure, and implementing constructive feedback all along the way.
The premise of an online Model UN conference began as a short term solution to the immediate circumstances of the coronavirus, but has since grown into something much more. As Zubery puts it:
“We have an incredible opportunity here to redefine what Model UN looks like, and make this activity infinitely more accessible.”
Zubery cites that she decided to use Google Sites for the purpose of reducing costs, such that no registration fee would be necessary. Ultimately, many of the executive decisions that shaped the conference were made in an effort to allow as many participants as possible. Everything from deciding on a timezone, choosing strictly free web services, and opting out of printed materials altogether allowed for participants of all socioeconomic situations and levels of technological accessibility to participate equally.
At in-person conferences, wealth disparity between delegations and individual delegates is impossible to miss. Despite the fact that many conferences have completely disallowed the use of technology in committee in an attempt to level the playing field, there is no getting around other disparities that can put certain delegates ahead: Western Business Attire, personalized note-passing paper, access to printers, exclusive scholarly research materials, etc.
“With an online conference, those inequalities disappear entirely: all participants are reduced to a tiny square, and all that determines your performance is what you say.”
Zubery anticipates technological difficulties to be an unavoidable issue, one which will certainly come up over the course of the weeklong conference. That being said, there is no minor tech issue that a group of resourceful delegates cannot collectively solve. If Model UN delegates can produce solutions to world hunger and century-old territorial disputes, slow WiFi could not possibly be too complex.
Registration for DMUNC is open until August 9th, and the conference is set to take place from August 18th – August 24th. Each day of the weeklong conference is allocated to a different committee, as to reduce potential absences: a full schedule can be found on the DMUNC website. In the name of total accessibility, there is no registration fee: sign up to get back in the Model UN headspace and support an example of brilliant adaptation and innovation in the Model UN sphere.
Looking for more online Model UN opportunities for this summer? Check out our virtual academies.
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