On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, third year student Katie Alice Doughty talks about one of Reading’s most successful initiatives!
Model United Nations, or more affectionately MUN, is quite possibly the most fun and rewarding society you could ever join at university. It teaches you so much about the world and its people, provides tonnes of opportunities to develop your researching, public speaking and interpretation skills to make you über employable, and – most importantly – allows you to travel to all corners of the world with your best friends. What’s not to love?
For the past two years at Reading I have been part of the wonderful global movement that is Model United Nations. I’ve met literally hundreds of people at the eight conference I’ve been to in four countries, and have a place to stay at some of the world’s most beautiful cities. It’s hands down one of the most thrilling and enjoyable things you could possibly get involved in, and I’d love to tell you why.
You’re probably wondering what exactly MUN is, just as I did when I started university. Model United Nations involves debates about the most pressing international issues within the setting of the real United Nations committees. Topics range from the ‘right to religious belief’ in the Human Rights Council to the ‘developments in Ukraine and their global implications’ in the Security Council. It’s been going almost since the established of the UN 70 years ago, in the wake of the Second World War, and has ever since strived for international peace and understanding.
In all cases, the historical context to a topic or issue is critical to your understanding of it, and this can easily be reflected in your approach to the debate and how you tackle being a diplomat representing your country’s foreign policy. If you have an interest in politics, languages, modern history or the role of war in achieving peace, then this is the society for you.
While we may not be Ban-Ki Moon just yet, it’s always worth a try. Who knows, one day we really will be the ones to make the important decisions. It could be you. Regular debate sessions are held throughout the academic year in all sorts of unlikely places, in the UK and worldwide, and out of the debate room the social side of MUN is a huge emphasis, with formal dinners and club nights in abundance.
It just so happens that the society at Reading is one of the very fortunate universities able to hold an annual conference, for about 150 students, at the end of November each year. We’d love you to get involved. More information is available on our website: www.rumun.org. We have huge team of dedicated enthusiasts from all sorts of subject areas and with all kinds of different interests trying to put the world to right a little at a time, and we’d love your name to appear. It doesn’t stop there, either – our society travels all over the place, making friends as we go. Recently we’ve been to Germany, Czech Republic, France, Russia and New York (all massively subsidised), as well as going to cities all around the UK. Of course, we try to (and also succeed in) winning lots of awards in the process!