Law students often seek out activities such as mooting or debating, as both of these bring out in students qualities they will need in their future careers. You can develop skills such as clear, fluent and on-spot thinking and presentation of ideas, public speaking, team building, confident demeanour and leadership skills, to name a few.
What many people either don’t know about, or underestimate, are the Model United Nations (MUNs). MUNs are simulations of the proceedings of the real United Nations committees, which are concerned with diverse global problems, ranging from military and security issues, human rights, economics and finance, to committees concerned with bioethics or outer space usage. Students have the opportunity to either act as delegates, representing the position of countries assigned to them, or as chairs/presidents of the committees, leading the debate.
There are so many great aspects of joining the MUN community. First and foremost, you get to learn and research global issues in a fun and exciting way. But you also get to network with people, who share similar interests and share your experience.
Most have amazing socials where you can do so, which are usually either a dinner with a theme, or visiting local bars and clubs, but the point is to give you the opportunity to socialise with other attendants.
Also, you can travel around to see new places! Most Model UN are international, and many arrange for discounts at hotels, or even flight discounts, as WORLDMUN has arranged this year, so it would be more affordable for everyone. However, I will always emphasise what a great learning experience it is. MUNs gave me the confidence to pursue a law career and can be a very valuable experience when you are applying to university, internships or a job. They usually portray you as a strong, communicative and committed person.
In most university level MUNs, you will have beginner and advanced committees. However, you can choose any, depends on your level of confidence. Usually beginner level committees are less strict with the rules and the quorum, the chairs tend to be friendlier and the committees can be a lot of fun, which always depends upon the delegates. Advanced committee, such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can be a bit stressful, if it’s your first time, but if you do your research and study the rules, it can be even more fun.
As a president of UNSC in a Model UN, I’ve seen a first time delegate get awarded the ‘best delegate’, so it really is about the effort you put in. What is fun about UNSC and crisis committees are the countless possibilities. In UNSC it can happen, that they will throw you a crisis and you, on behalf of the country you are representing, have to respond. You can launch an attack, assassinate a political figure, anything that comes to mind, while trying to resolve the conflict. These committees are usually advanced, as they are very fast-paced and don’t really allow time to explain everything in detail, but I have never met an unwilling chair in that matter and there are societies which prepare even beginner or intermediate committees such as these (for instance, check LSEMUN).
There are also different things you could do at MUNs. More experienced MUNers often apply as chairs of the committees. Chairs, also known as presidents or directors (or even vice-chairs, vice-presidents, etc.), lead the debate. The dais is usually composed of two or three chairs that are there to prepare materials for delegates, lead the debate and implement the rules of the given conference. However, they do not otherwise influence or invade the debate in any way, merely lead it. Also, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a place. Many conferences seek different chairing styles, so you might be a brilliant chair, but not fit the organizers current vision for their conference. Just keep trying. There are many other positions too, mostly organizing positions. It is the most amazing experience in the world to organize your own conference, a lot of responsibility, but a lot of fun, so if you have the opportunity to create a conference of your own, I would highly recommend it.
All in all, Model UN is an amazing experience to learn something, meet new people and travel around. There simply is not a way you could regret going to a MUN, so what I can wholeheartedly recommend you is join your MUN society right away and start MUNing!
Many thanks to Sona Faithova, LLB1 student at the City Law School. You can find out more about the activities of the City University MUN via their facebook page.