The value of Model United Nations - simulating the United Nations - must certainly be determined in great part by the value of the United Nations itself. The United Nations’ value as an international organization is evaluated by many people toward a number of different ends. Academics attempt to apply political science models to its workings to define it and its impact on member states. Politicians confer differing value upon it depending on the day and issue being discussed. Despite these differing evaluations, the true worth of the United Nations can be determined by simply analyzing the continuing existence of the United Nations as an important world body.

Who Benefits?

Model UN offers opportunities for anyone who wants to learn about the processes of international diplomacy. Each country represented at a conference needs a diverse delegation to be successful. To succeed the delegation will need to have followers as well as leaders, researchers to determine a national policy, writers to convey the country’s position and speakers to present and support that position with the body. 

The teamwork needed to prepare a good delegation is an excellent experience for students who work mostly on papers and tests in college but are expected to function as team members in a work force. This is one aspect of Model UN that is valuable to business school students. The communication and negotiation aspects of Model UN should also be considered by some non-traditional majors as justification for attending a Model UN.

Model UN is not a program just for International Affairs or Political Science students. The broad nature of the skills learned cut across nearly all majors and it is valuable for any major if the student has an interest in the functions of international negotiation and policy-making. Former Secretary-Gener Daj Hammarskjold stated: “everything will be all right when people stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing     they made themselves.” A first step in the process of understanding that will lead to a clearer understanding of the UN is education.


Experimental Learning

In this experiential learning approach, students can, through the Model UN program, be involved in the vital decisions made in the international affairs arena by diplomats and world-leaders daily. This first-hand involvement leads to a deeper understanding of world issues and the context these issues are negotiated and resolved within.

Cooperative Learning

The research concludes that the Model UN environment, as a cooperative learning center, is a valuable

education tool. Cooperative learning promotes higher achievement, greater motivation, more posit

ive interpersonal relations among students, more positive attitudes toward the subject area and teacher, greater self-esteem and psychological health, more accurate perspectives, 

and greater social skills.

In simulating the actual workings of the UN, the Model UN provides an essential feature of the cooperative learning environment. In preparing to go to a Model UN, each student becomes an “expert” in one aspect of an issue or policy for their delegation. At the conference, all the “experts” from different delegations gather in a subcommittee to discuss their issue. The “experts” then return to their delegation in a plenary session and teach the others what they have learned. This feature is part of the cooperative learning environment where students working together to accomplish shared goals are given two responsibilities: to learn the assigned materials and make sure that all other members of the group do likewise.

Multicultural Education

Through the examination and representation of a diverse number of countries throughout the year, students gain a unique understanding of different cultures around the world. Once immersing yourself as a delegate, you have insight into the motivations behind other country’s allowing you to develop a sense of the world community that is based on experiential learning and experience.

Future - Focused Skills

Through this hands-on approach the more than 100,000 students who participate in Model UN throughout each year gain a global perspective on world problems, leadership, speaking, writing and teamwork skills they can apply to their future lives. The nature of this active involvement in learning allows students to witness the consequences of their decisions and actions.

Beyond the verbal and writing skills students gain, Model UN can contribute to the mental development of students. They can expand both cognitive ability and subject matter tolerance. In practical terms, the self-confidence of students in having participated in a large group and awareness of political issues will certainly increase.