Prestigious Model UN event hosted in Shanghai
The Model United Nations of the University of Chicago, one of the most well-known model UN events in the world, was recently held in Shanghai for the first time.
The MUNUC China Conference 2019 attracted more than 500 students and their teachers from 44 high schools in 12 provinces and municipalities in China. The event was organized by the Shanghai Foreign Language School Affiliated to the Shanghai International Studies University, the University of Chicago’s committee on international relations and WELAND International, a company that organizes model UN activities.
The conference included six committees of various size based on the number of member countries. Students assumed the roles of diplomats from UN member states, or government officials of various international and national bodies, while crafting and debating policies to solve a variety of global political, social and economic issues.
About 100 students, as representatives of member countries, discussed sustainable energy technologies in mock UNESCO meetings, while some 50 shared ideas on disaster prevention and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific Region in the social, humanitarian and cultural committee. Other students discussed problems like drug-resistant disease and the use of antibiotics, outer space military issues, the rights of disabled people and other topics.
Before the opening of the event, organizers provided four free online courses to help students better understand the process of the event, as well as to improve their research, writing and speaking skills.
MUN events have become popular among Chinese students seeking to enlarge their international perspective, develop their skills in logic thinking and self expression.
Chen Siyuan, under-secretary general of the event, became interested in MUN in 2014 when he was a 12-year-old junior high school student. At that time, he accompanied his older peers as a "journalist" to attend the International Youth Model United Nations Summit in the US.
Since 2017, he has attended several MUN events and won awards.
“The issues focused on by the Model United Nations are wide. Most of them are hot issues facing countries today, such as peace and security, human rights, the environment, poverty and development, and monetary policy,” he said. “Participating in these activities make us focus on a broader world, while challenging us to step out of our comfort zone. Reading background information, writing a large number of documents, listening to speeches and clarifying points places high requirements on Model United Nations participants.”
“Participating in the Model United Nations Conference is also a highly interactive learning experience, where I can not only learn about and discuss international affairs, but also practice my ability to organize, plan and manage, solve conflicts, seek common ground while observing differences, and communicate with others, which benefits me a lot,” he added.