What is Model UN and How is it Affecting Notre Dame?

One of the fastest-growing clubs here on Notre Dame’s Campus is the ND Model UN team. For those who don’t know what Model UN is, it is a club in which students of all majors and backgrounds come to discuss and learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations. Our club on campus is one with two components, the competition team and the conference team, whose members tend to overlap each other. Our competition team travels to internationally recognized conferences all around the country to display our public speaking and policy building skills. The conference team works diligently for over a year to put on the annual NDMUN high school conference that hosts high schoolers from all around the nation to come and compete on behalf of their school.

Over the past 4 years, the ND Model UN club has grown to have over 70 active members, and last year was recognized by Best Delegate as a top Model UN team. Not only is the club competitively rising in its ranks, but it also fosters a rich community and grows with you as a delegate. 

I joined the club my freshman year not knowing anything about Model UN. My high school in New Orleans did not have a Model UN club, but I had always been interested in international relations and diplomacy. The minute I walked into my first meeting, I knew that this was the club I was supposed to be in. Not only did the returning members of the club guide me through the ins and outs of what going to a Model UN competition meant, but they taught me how Model UN is more than just a team. 

Model UN is conducting extensive research for weeks and producing binders and binders of information for reference. Model UN is a debate on the world’s most pertinent topics ranging from how to make the Treaty of Versailles more efficient to what we should do if climate change fully takes effect on our planet. It is learning how to better develop your arguments while also keeping a committee engaged. Model UN is reactive learning that revolves around teamwork. 

While that may seem like a lot of work, Model UN is also bonding with your teammates after long committee sessions or formally debating which place is the worst to eat at on-campus just for fun. Hanging out with my team on Monday nights at 8 pm in Duncan W246 is always the highlight of my week, and I would consider them some of my best friends. It is a place where, while I play hard, I also work hard and see the product of my hard work in action, which is most rewarding.

Overall, MUN inspires me. It inspires me to debate, to motivate, to speak up and to solve issues big and small. While this club may seem small, we make a big impact. As a team, we wholly support our members and help them to become the most well-rounded students they can be. We develop students who have the ability to be objective and speak on a range of topics. Most importantly, the ND Model UN team attracts to campus high school student leaders who know how much of an impact the opportunity to do Model UN has and how to outwardly make an impact both locally and globally, which benefits not only us but the University as a whole. 

If you are interested in learning more about ND Model UN, feel free to visit their website, ndmun.org.


Image 1, 2 by Emilia Castelao