Model UN: Breeding pointless leadership

The same concept of discussions at the cost of taking action as seen at the UN, seems to plague the MUNs.

Hira Siddiqui November 18, 2010

The plague of Model United Nations (or MUN, an abbreviation that makes the idea sound slightly more worthwhile) has gripped most institutions in the country.

For those few of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, MUN is an event where students represent different countries and stage a United Nations meeting. They supposedly ‘discuss’ world issues, propose solutions and argue with each other over the share of resources – little else is achieved in this process.

Some of its supporters may argue that this platform is an excellent way of making the younger generation take an interest in current affairs. But essentially, we are breeding the same type of pointless leadership that has been running the real UN so far.

The more important issues in the world, it seems, are left untouched. Take, for instance, Palestine and Kashmir, where people have been suffering the brutalities of unjust occupations for years. The UN, it appears, has its hands tied.

What is interesting to note is that the same concept of discussions, at the cost of taking action, trickles down to the foundation of these MUNs. The comfort of the delegates and the social events take a higher priority to attending sessions.

Delegates not only manage to visit different cities but the luckier ones also visit other countries. Amidst the travelling, policies regarding the issues take a back seat and what is left is a sort of ideology that grips the UN.

Before I am judged for my biased views (which I admit, because many a time have LUMUN delegates trashed our university campus), this is what the Harvard MUN 2011 will be all about: “HMUN 2011 will feature innovative committee simulations, cutting-edge technology, and, of course, great entertainment for the delegates outside of the committee”.

I couldn’t help but notice that nowhere on this website was it mentioned what these conferences have managed to achieve. Have any of these ‘mock’ diplomats ever made worthwhile suggestions that may have helped one of the many problems in our society. If yes, feel free to prove me wrong. If not, stop with the nonsense already.

Hira Siddiqui The writer is the in charge of the Karachi desk at The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Bilal | 13 years ago | Reply AGREED, deals at the heart of the issue. I suggest that universities start to take more initiative in debates rather than this. What people in these MUN pay for are actually the social dinners, and may be just maybe, (if those delegates are not trashing the campus) you will find them in some workshop or talk by those Honorable delegates that the uni invites. Its good that people like to take part in stuff and be active, but i know that no new thing comes out of it. Maybe a touch of creativity is all that is needed!!
Mohsin Hyder | 13 years ago | Reply Though extremely biased, the article raises an undebated drawback of an MUN. A few days back, I attended an information session on an MUN. After the session, I posed a question to the trainee if any of the solutions reached by an MUN have been accepted as debatable by the UN itself or has any solution been deemed as constructive for world peace. To my disappointment, he said that many of the solutions reached by UN itself are not implemented correctly, leave alone an MUN Frankly, MUNners are actually beating about the bush and trying to win a debate than actually make a point. For learners, the parliamentary style of debate is far better a learning experience than an MUN.
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