The National Model United Nations conference is the largest and one of the most prestigious collegiate political simulations in the world. Last year’s conference brought together more than 5000 students from over 300 colleges and universities around the world to New York City in order to practice international diplomacy across a wide variety of topics. Covering issues ranging from international security and the environment to gender rights and economic development, students are asked to research and advocate the policies of their selected country in an environment intended to mimic real international diplomacy as closely as possible. The result is one of the most unique and challenging academic programs a student may experience as they develop research, writing, public speaking and group cooperation skills.
Union College has attended the conference for the last three years and has established itself as an active and respected participant. While many schools attend as a club or more informal group, Union’s establishment of the Model UN as a class has allowed us to create a more dedicated and academically rigorous approach to the conference. We believe this approach creates more enthusiastic and better prepared delegates, a belief supported by our receipt of eight awards over our last three years of competition. Beginning with a competitive petition process for entry into the class, students are guided through an expanded research program coupled with a focus on their ability to publicly present their work in a concise manner. The result has been the establishment of an already strong tradition of excellence at the conference, and a unique and truly rewarding challenge to the students of Union College.
“The Model UN gives students the opportunity to see how politics works on a level far superior to what a classroom setting can provide – instead of reading about politics in a textbook, students can actually experience it for themselves” – Lea Tessitore (’11)
“Model UN challenges even the brightest and most confident students in a way that no exam or written assignment ever could. Most importantly it broadens your world view, exposing you to new cultures and concepts beyond the traditional confines of the classroom. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of major or past interest!” – Katherine Murphy (’10)
“I can say that the Model UN was the single most rewarding academic experience I had at Union. I can’t remember another course or project that pushed me to work as hard as I did for Model UN and provided so much in terms of a return on my investment of time and effort.” -Cam Berjoan (’10)
“Model UN was undoubtedly one of the most productive, engaging, and enjoyable things I did during my four years at Union College. In fact, the Model UN program was one of the main reasons why I decided to pursue a post-graduate degree in global politics, ultimately focusing on some of the issues we considered in class.” – Sean Mulkerne (’09)