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Virtual Model UN Transition During COVID-19

Written by Frank Pobutkiewicz

I'm the founder/Managing Director of the All-American Model UN Programs! If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. Happy MUNing!

May 22, 2020

Virtual Model UN Transition During COVID-19

UPDATED: March 3, 2021
ORIGINAL DATE: May 22, 2020

Dear Students, Parents, Teachers, and Alumni,

I hope that you and your families are keeping well during the coronavirus crisis. Without a doubt, the global pandemic has dramatically reshaped the world from daily life to life plans.

All-American Model UN began adjusting to the wake of the coronavirus in January 2020 when I decided not to bring a team to Beijing this August. With some quick planning, we adjusted and intended to attend ILMUNC Peru instead. Little did I know that decision would be the easiest adjustment to make.

The news came in March 2020 that universities would close their campuses and governments soon followed suit issuing stay-at-home orders. In the most difficult moment of my professional life, I announced that All-American Model UN would be suspending all in-person programs until 2021, at the earliest.

Doing Right by Families and Issuing 100% Refunds

After the decision was made to cancel all programs, including our summer Academies and international travel teams, we then had to address the issue of refunds for students already enrolled. At this moment, I reflected upon our commitment to the community, to families, and to the students with whom we work. Although some of our partner conferences and hotels refused to issue refunds for canceled conferences, I promised our students full refunds.

This left All-American Model UN in a precarious situation. With no source of revenue in 2020, we had to find a way to continue serving our students. So, we asked our community for help. If families were willing to let us hold their tuition until 2021, I would give a free travel grant equal to 25% of the tuition being pushed forward.

Over 55% of families with students enrolled for this summer accepted my proposal. The decisions by these families to trust All-American Model United Nations have allowed us to push forward.

Our Approach to Digital Education

Over the past eight weeks, I have been developing a new suite of tools, courses, and programs to deliver Model United Nations experiences, training, and conferences to students across the country. By adopting a digital-first approach, I believe our new virtual programs and products will deliver the best Model UN experiences available.

In developing these new programs, I had the following priorities in mind:

  • Individual attention that supports relationship and community building. Even though technology allows classes to scale beyond what’s possible in a physical environment, All-American Model UN promises some of the smallest ratios of students to teachers.
  • Content that allows students to learn in a manner in which they are most comfortable. Some students respond well to long-form written tutorials. Others prefer self-paced coursework. Still, others need verbal back-and-forth to understand concepts. Our mix of formal, informal, live, and self-paced programs cater to students of all learning styles.
  • Opportunities for students to grow and improve. Equipping students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in Model UN and in the classroom remains one of the centerpieces in our program design.
  • Multiple touchpoints with specifically chosen technology platforms. In an entirely digital period of time, our programs give students the option of multiple interactive points for different lengths of time, specific learning objectives, and using specifically chosen technology. Not all of our life has to rotate around only Zoom.

Virtual Model UN Programs

Virtual Diplomacy Academy and Virtual Crisis Academy

Diplomacy Academy: July 11-16, 2021
Crisis Academy: July 25-30, 2021

The All-American Model UN  Virtual Academies give students the best Model training in the world. Redesigned for a virtual experience, students will participate in interactive workshops in the morning (10AM-12PM) and simulations in the afternoon (1PM-3:30PM). Students will receive personalized feedback after each day to improve their performance. In addition, students must complete an academic project corresponding to the Academy title consisting of a 2,000-word abstract and presentation. Students who successfully complete the week-long Academies will earn their seats on the All-American Model UN US and International Travel Teams. Tuition is $400 per week and students receive a $500 travel grant after successful completion.

Virtual All-American Model UN Summer Tournament

June 26-August 7, 2021

Each Saturday from 11AM-3PM ET, students will compete in a new Model UN committee. Students will receive a new position and committee assignment each week through the summer. At the conclusion of each weekly simulation, delegates will receive individual feedback and coaching from our team of experienced coaches. We’ll review your strategy, debate tactics, and leadership skills.

All-American Model UN Academy in Boston (Tentative)

August 8-August 14, 2021

All-American Model UN is tentatively planning an in-person Academy in August 2021. The Academy is tentative and depends on COVID19 vaccinations. All students and staff must be vaccinated prior to registration. Students may apply for either the Delegate track or Director track. The All-American Academy is a comprehensive learning experience for Model UN students with at least one year of experience.

Gavel Drop Director’s Newsletter

Every Monday Morning in Your Inbox

Subscribe to the All-American Model UN Director’s weekly email to get unparalleled insights, opinions, and frankness. Every Monday, you’ll get an article or two written by Frank Pobutkiewicz, the Director of All-American Model UN. In addition to Model UN hot takes, Gavel Drop will cover topics like gap years, internships, bad teachers, and building community.


Looking towards the Future

All-American Model UN will continue its tradition of success, growth, and community as we all get through this period of time. I believe that Model UN will drastically change in the near future– a topic that I will be spending increasing time towards. During that period of transition, we have a great opportunity to help students continue to achieve their Model UN, collegiate, and educational goals.

As All-American gets back on track and builds a new generation of MUN, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions, comments, or thoughts.

Frank Pob
[email protected]

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