Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an extracurricular activity in which students typically roleplay delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. This activity takes place at MUN conferences, which is usually organized by a high school or college MUN club. At the end of most conferences, outstanding delegates in each committee are recognized and given an award certificate; the Best Delegate in each committee, however, receives a gavel. Thousands of middle school, high school, and college students across the country and around the world participate in Model United Nations, which involves substantial researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, as well as critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
Part of what makes Model UN great, though, is that it is rapidly re-inventing itself. Today, many MUN conferences hold simulations that are not UN committees. In addition to simulations of the Security Council and General Assembly, many conferences are running simulations of the US National Security Council, where delegates represent President Bush and Condoleezza Rice. Many conferences feature a Joint Cabinet Crisis, where two or more committees of delegates are linked together, and the actions taken in one committee affect the other. For example, my conference, the Security Council Simulation at Yale (SCSY), held a simulation of the Korean War, where delegates roleplayed the ministers of the American, Soviet, and Chinese cabinets in 1950. Princeton’s college conference has taken this idea to an entirely new level; every committee at their conference is part of the same Joint Cabinet Crisis.