ISP Model United Nations Blog
Over the last few years our ISP Model United Nations (MUN) programme has grown from strength to strength engaging more students across ISP schools in the world whose voices are helping to shape the future for the better.
Whether it was through our in-person ISP MUNs at the Lady Elizabeth School in Spain or St. Jude School in Costa Rica, or our virtual ISP MUN in Spring 2021 where more than 200 delegates debated about pressing topics and developed their diplomatic skills in a virtual setup and were able to ask pressing questions to UN staff, NGO leaders and top university researchers, each year students have actively contributed to the discussion and have been heard as a voice for tomorrow.
Importantly, students have been able to learn and develop themselves in the following ways:
Practise and develop skills in organisation, leadership, and responsibility.
Develop critical thinking skills about complex global issues.
Build skills in research, public speaking, debating, teamwork, negotiation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution within a multicultural framework.
Develop greater knowledge and understanding of language, geography, history, international relations & diplomacy, environmental issues, traditions, lifestyle, and culture.
Participate in a unique international and cultural learning experience that enables them to interact with other ISP students across the world.
Explore new ways of thinking and learn from each other as they work to achieve consensus across diverse points of view.
Ahead of this year’s ISP MUN in November – Young Diplomats helping shape the World – we hear directly from both students and staff about their experiences of an ISP MUN and what it means to take part in the programme.
MUN ADVISOR – Alison from Aspen Heights British School, Abu Dhabi
Was the ISP Virtual MUN 2021 your first MUN? Tell us about your experience?
It was my first time leading MUN although I did have some prior knowledge of the programme from it being run in previous schools I have worked in. It was tough going at times however the organisation, support and commitment from everybody involved culminated in a truly unique experience. The fact that ISP were able to make it happen virtually is just incredible.
What did you learn from this experience?
I learnt a lot and not just about how MUN works and what it represents. I learnt so much about worldwide organisations and the incredible work the UN is doing globally to make the world a better place.
What was the most memorable moment for you?
There are so many!
The sense of accomplishment the students experienced after they submitted their position papers stands out. Late nights and hours of research really paid off for them! Another that stands out was watching one of our student delegates asking questions so confidently and eloquently to one of the esteemed guest speakers on a global platform was a very proud moment for me.
From your experience, what are the main benefits for students taking part in the MUN?
Students develop confidence, I literally saw our Aspen delegates grow in confidence daily throughout the preparation and participation in the conference. Teamwork and negotiation are definitely needed and they are able to practice and develop both in a safe and supportive environment. I also think awareness of global issues and how everybody can make a difference plays a huge role in participating in MUN.
How challenging was the ISP Virtual MUN for your delegates?
It was a huge challenge for the students, it was a huge challenge for me too! They were frustrated, overwhelmed and doubted themselves at times but worked tirelessly to be as prepared as they could for the conference. They joined day one of the conference with trepidation but honestly, they blossomed and emerged at the end, tired but energised and with fresh found confidence and self-belief.
How did you support your delegates to take part in the committee sessions?
We held regular meetings over zoom which enabled them to ask questions, chat with each other about preparation, share ideas and worries or concerns. Being available on email and regularly checking their position papers and giving feedback was valuable for them too.
During the conference, with four delegates participating and representing different committees, I obviously couldn’t be with all four at the same time. I did however spend the full weekend dropping and in and out of all the committee sessions they were representing. They knew I was there and appreciated my presence even though it was purely to observe.
What are the main skills students develop taking part in an MUN?
Where do I start with this? There are just so many!
RESEARCH. Carrying out the research to be able to write strong position papers was something the students found troublesome to start with. With support and a little guidance at the start, they were able to go on to research independently and find relevant information they needed.
PUBLIC SPEAKING was a particularly daunting aspect of the conference for our students. We did lots of debate practice at school and all of them were able to contribute during committee sessions with confidence. I was extremely proud of them all.
Amongst many, many more, some other skills include:
negotiation (and a willingness to listen to the opinions of others)
How can a learning opportunity like the MUN help students for their future?
The world has become a global village and no age is too young to prepare for the future. As educators we have an obligation to prepare and empower our students for life after their studies. MUN can almost definitely help build the foundations they need to become global citizens. It teaches awareness of global issues, provides a platform on which they can be heard and empowerment to believe in themselves to make a difference.
MUN serves as an ideal stepping-stone into the global arena.
Do you think participating in the ISP Virtual MUN could help students in the classroom as well?
Absolutely! The skills required to prepare and participate in MUN are all transferable and useful in the classroom. Both academically and socially, delegates learn, improve and build the skill set required to experience success in the classroom. Our delegates demonstrated resilience in the face of challenge and proved that with persistence and determination, they can achieve great things. Empowered by the experience they will hopefully adopt this mindset within the classroom.
would you like to know more?