How long have you been doing MUN? Are you able to identify exactly which platform you have been using? Not many people are.Model United Nations is an activity that spans the globe. In every region, there are some variations in the way this activity is carried out.
Here's a secret, few people know.
The initial organizers of every MUN conference, draft its procedure according to what they believe to be most accurate, and suitable, based on their experience and knowledge at the time. The procedures drafted by different conference founders around the world, differ greatly. Every conference from their point of view, believe their own procedure to be the best, the most fun, and the most accurate. Most conferences actually go through an annual process of internal review and reform. They re-assess every aspect of their procedure, and if needed, may continue to refine, fine tune or amend certain aspects about the conference procedure with time.
And that is why, as far as you are concerned, there is no right, or wrong way to do MUN. There are only different platforms, and different options to choose from for your next MUN.
Before choosing any MUN conference, you must adequately pre-prepare and carefully learn its own specific rules of procedure, terminology, negotiation style, voting procedure, etc.
How do you make out the different procedures? Well, the biggest and most well known platforms out there are:
Traditional (North American), THIMUN (European) and UN4MUN.
The first two, are based on Parliamentary Rules of Procedure.
UN4MUN however, the most recent and innovative platform, developed by the real UN, follows real GA or Security Council Rules of Procedure.
Every MUN conference out there follows or is at least, derived from, these three main platforms. Many conferences are actually hybrids. "European, North American inspired", or "North American, UN4MUN inspired" - like Geneva International MUN, which is a North American/UN4MUN Hybrid, or Moscow International MUN, which is a North American/ European Hybrid.
The more you gather experience in MUN, the clearer your vision will become on how different Model UN simulations are carried out around the world.
Here is a simple/ basic comparison guide I drafted to try to highlight where/how each conference progresses, step by step, under each platform.
The above, may (& probably does) differ between different conferences, even those that are generally categorized under the same platform. For instance, most North American style conferences spend the majority of conference time in debate phase (formal debate/ speakers list, and moderated caucus). However, some conferences that are categorized as North American, actually spend less than 25%-30% of conference time in debate phase, and move very quickly to un-moderated caucus/ resolution drafting, then spend a significant amount of time reviewing, debating and voting on amendments. This therefore brings them closer to THIMUN/ European style MUN, even-though they use North American MUN terms that include: "caucus", as opposed to "lobbying".
Don't worry if the above was either a bit new, or a bit confusing. Aside from our plan to continue publishing resources that clarify the difference between MUN Procedures used worldwide, what matters now, is that you know, that MUN is a very big world. Even if conferences follow different steps or procedures, the general construct of MUN remains the same. And most importantly, the core values, and underlying purpose of all MUN conferences, are what truly unite MUNs worldwide.
At United Ambassadors, we believe all MUN platforms should be experienced and appreciated, as each has something valuable to teach. We do however, have dedicated sections for Arabic MUN, Multilingual MUN, and UN4MUN, due to our belief in the value and importance of the aforementioned MUN initiatives.
However, we do encourage you to put as many check boxes as possible on your MUN map, and explore the world of MUN, one conference, one journey and one challenge at a time. We hope you continue to be inspired by every new MUN experience.