How much do you know about the history of UN4MUN? The work of United Ambassadors? Or better yet, the history of Model United Nations? Here is the complete story.
In 2009, the United Nations Department of Global Communications discovered discrepancies between the real UN, and how it is simulated worldwide in Model UN conferences. The UN DGC organized three Global Model UN (GMUN) conferences in Geneva (2009), Kuala Lumpur (2010) and Incheon (2011). www.outreach.un.org.
Today, UN4MUN has come a long way, and the world’s most accurate simulation of the UN offered at the United Ambassadors Model UN Conference differs from what UN4MUN looked like in 2015. Also read: The Evolution of UN4MUN.
In May 2015, United Ambassadors was founded by Nabila Elassar, a Model UN Veteran who had accumulated 10 (now 16+) years of Model experience in programs around the world. The mission of the organization was to build future leaders and global citizens through Model UN. The goals were to achieve this mission through the promotion and acceleration of valuable initiatives in the international Model UN industry including UN4MUN, Multilingual MUN, and Youth engagement with UN Sustainable Development Goals through MUN.
This article shares the story of United Ambassadors. From the development of educational programs on accurate simulations of the UN and UN4MUN contributions to SDG youth engagement initiatives.
Independent study of UN4MUN:
In 2014, after studying this website, the founder of United Ambassadors, Nabila Elassar developed educational training programs and videos on UN4MUN. In early 2015, she traveled independently to deliver UN4MUN training sessions in 12 educational institutions across the Middle East and to students worldwide online. In November 2015, she attended her first United Nations workshop at the UN HQ on UN4MUN by the Department of Global Communications.
United Ambassadors Training at the American University in Sharjah, UAE: AUSMUN 2015.
The world’s first MUN SDGs Youth Summit:
August 2016 was a turning point for Model UN history: the world's first MUN Youth Assembly was held at the UN Headquarters, in which hundreds of young people gathered in New York City to discuss how youth in Model UN can help achieve the UN SDGs. This was an unprecedented initiative intended to make youth the key driving force behind engaging other youth with the UN SDGs in Model UN. The initiative allowed youth in the Model UN community to join in collective support of the UN. Delegates at this Assembly adopted a groundbreaking resolution with actionable ideas surrounding youth engagement with the SDGs. They also proposed ideas on how UN4MUN can be improved and their suggestions were later implemented by United Ambassadors. Read the full resolution here.
MUN 2016 Youth Assembly Closing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, UN HQ New York.
The speakers’ list included the 2016 President of the General Assembly, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, the UN DGC Director of Outreach Mr. Maher Nasser, and former UN Youth Envoy, Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi. Photo album here. The name of this conference was changed to the “MUN Youth Assembly”, and later #MUN_Action at UA-MUNC.
UN4MUN Leadership Transition: In late 2015, the leadership of the Model UN Programme at the UN UN Department of Global Communications transitioned. Mr. Brenden Varma joined the UN Department of Global Communications in 2016 as the Model UN Focal Point and became responsible for what is now called the "United Nations Model Programme."
United Ambassadors and the United Nations UN4MUN Programme: In late 2016, the United Nations DGC and United Ambassadors collaborated on the first UN4MUN Training workshop, which took place in London, UK in April 2017. The two co-trainers were Nabila Elassar, UA Academic Director, and Brenden Varma, UN Model UN Focal Point. The workshop was a very successful turning point in the world of accurate simulations of the UN. See photo album here.
UN4MUN Workshop by United Ambassadors and the United Nations London, UK, April 2017
Since then, United Ambassadors and the United Nations UN4MUN Programme collaborated on 4 joint workshops to teach MUN student leaders and conference advisers worldwide how to accurately simulate the United Nations. Later that same year, the Model UN Focal Point became Ms. Antje Watermann, who was also leading UN Academic Impact at the UN DGC. Together with Ms. Nabila Elassar, three more joint UN4MUN Workshops by United Ambassadors and the United Nations took place in 2017 and 2018.
UN4MUN Workshop by United Ambassadors and the United Nations, UN HQ NYC, 2018
In early 2017, United Ambassadors launched the world’s first MUN Hall of Fame, a copyrighted initiative which recognized educators worldwide doing important work to inspire coming generations of youth through Model UN Education.
MUN 2017 Youth Assembly Closing Ceremony, and MUN Hall of Fame Recognition, General Assembly Hall, UN HQ NYC, August 2017.
Another crucial cornerstone in Model United Nations history took place in In December 2017. United Ambassadors and its development of the UN4MUN platform was not just solidified but expanded to include the International Court of Justice. After much perseverance, Nabila was able to secure meetings with multiple officials of the ICJ who helped create the world's most accurate simulation of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. “Walking into the Peace Palace and the International Court of Justice in the Hague was surreal, unforgettable experience,” as she states.
Nabila Elassar, Founder of United Ambassadors at the Peace Palace, International Court of Justice, December 2017, and delivering the ICJ training session at the UN4MUN Workshop in Geneva 2018.
During the few months prior, she was developing the first edition of the world’s most accurate simulation of the ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum, with the HLPF Team at the UN HQ in New York.
Picture: Ms. Ling Wang, Mr. Matthias Klettermayer, ECOSOC HLPF Team, Ms. Antje Watermann, UN DGC & Nabila Elassar.
In addition, the #MUN_Action Committee was being developed upon consultation with the SDG Action Campaign.
Picture: Mr. Mitchell Toomey, Director of the SDG Action Campaign, Ms. Maria Fare, UNDP SDG Action, and Nabila Elassar.
The new committees were introduced during the third joint UN4MUN Workshop by United Ambassadors and the United Nations in Geneva in April 2018, right before the United Ambassadors MUN Conference in Geneva 2018 successfully held the most accurate simulation of the ECOSOC HLPF and the ICJ, making history in Model United Nations.
United Ambassadors MUN Conference in Geneva Closing Ceremony at the Palais Des Nations, 2018.
In August 2018, the United Ambassadors MUN Conference (UA-MUNC) in New York introduced the groundbreaking #MUN_Action committee as an adaptation of the MUN Youth Assembly, in addition to the most accurate simulation of the UN and all the new committees.
In #MUN_Action 2018, youth delegates discussed how youth worldwide could contribute to building peaceful, inclusive societies (SDG 16) by utilizing the power of technology. In addition, the world’s most accurate simulation of the ICJ and the ECOSOC HLPF at UA-MUNC NYC 2018 were the most comprehensive to date. This conference was rated as the top large conference in the UN4MUN industry on MyMUN. The joint UN4MUN Workshop by United Ambassadors and the United Nations that year was the largest and most successful to date, welcoming 180 delegates from 65 countries.
Finally, and the most significant, and recent development in UN4MUN, is being led by United Ambassadors in 2019. After graduating from Stanford University with an MA in Education in June 2019, Nabila, UA Academic Director is further developing the world's most accurate simulation of the UN. Committees under development include the UN Human Rights Council, the UNHCR Global Refugees Forum, the ECOSOC Commission on the Status of Women, and the ECOSOC Commission on Science and Technology for Development, in addition to the International Court of Justice, GA and Security Council. These committees are set to be launched at UA-MUNC Geneva and New York 2019 and 2020.
Want to join the most REAL Model UN Experience out there? You cannot miss the 2019 edition of UA-MUNC. Register here today. https://www.unitedambassadors.com/uamunc-geneva
We hope to see you there!
Nabila Elassar, Founder & Academic Director, United Ambassadors at the Stanford Graduate School of Education Graduation Ceremony, June 16th, 2019.