One of Britain’s largest Model United Nations Conferences took place in Edinburgh this weekend.
Over 600 teenagers took part in the three-day conference at George Watson’s College. Now in its sixth year, it is the biggest school-based MUN in Scotland and attracts participants from as far afield as Egypt and Turkey.
Alexandra Wingate reports exclusively from the conference.
What is an MUN?
An MUN is a replica of the United Nations. As well as having a secretary general and a number of chairs, the conference consists of a variety of committees, a security council, a general assembly and an emergency debate.
Participants are assigned a member state which they then represent in various discussions. The challenge is for delegates to accurately portray the political policies and moral values of their assigned country, which usually differs in varying degrees to that of their own nation.
How does an MUN work?
As in the real United Nations, an MUN is primarily split into different committees which are attended by one delegate from each state. In George Watson’s case, these consist of economic, environment, health, human rights, media, and political, with as many as 48 countries represented in each committee.
After lobbying for support, delegates can put forward a formal resolution for discussion. The proposal is then debated with opportunities to add amendments before the final resolution is voted on by all members. This format is replicated throughout the conference, in both the smaller security council and the large general assembly attended by all delegates from all countries.
The debates are formal and procedures are carefully overseen by a number of chairs. Discussions are detailed and rigorous with a typical session lasting around one to two hours.