Are you fond of debate? Do you enjoy reading about current events? Do you look great in a suit? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you should join the Tufts Model UN team!
On a Thursday after classes several weeks ago, I traveled alongside twelve other Tufts teammates to Boston University’s Model UN conference, BarMUN. We participated in a weekend of debate, pretending to be world leaders in hours-long committee sessions. Students from all around the country convened to simulate committees ranging from the fall of the Songhai Empire to the Tesla board of directors.
You might be wondering: Why would a busy student want to dedicate a weekend to pretending to be a cabinet minister? While it might seem intimidating at first, MUN is actually a wonderful process of learning. Students are given roles to represent in committee and use rules of parliamentary procedure to simulate debate on a predetermined topic. From there, delegates work to alleviate crises that could range from economic shutdowns to terrorist attacks.
I was a delegate in “Cyb-Armageddon,” a committee that dealt with the 2007 Russian cyberattacks against Estonia and the subsequent fallout. Each delegate represented a different member of the Estonian parliament. In addition to defending against cyberattacks, we also dealt with increasing ethnic tensions between Russians and Estonians. I was the permanent Estonian representative to NATO, a position that ensured increased access to NATO officials and an interest in maintaining a close relationship with the West. My goal was to promote the security of Estonian borders against Russian aggression. One advantage of Model UN is that it will help you better understand the dynamics of real-world global negotiation. Learning about the civic affairs in 2007 Estonia better helped me understand the war in Ukraine today.
I’ve been doing Model UN since middle school, and it was a no-brainer to continue competing at Tufts. As a program, we pride ourselves on our creative approach to problem solving and the strength of our policy-writing skills. We meet weekly to practice public speaking and improv to make sure that we’re prepared for conferences. But we’re just as invested in building social cohesion as we are in competing. In addition to weekly meetings, Tufts MUN also hosts social events and group bondings to make sure that everyone on the team feels welcome. When we weren’t in committee at BarMUN, the Tufts delegation was getting lunches together, giving advice on how to approach situations in committee, or debriefing as a group.
If you’re even a little interested in debate, politics, or dressing in business attire, I wholly recommend that you join the Tufts Model UN team. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to go to conferences like BarMUN, learn about current events, and practice valuable research skills. I’ve gotten the chance to not only grow closer to my own teammates, but to also meet students from other schools who are similarly passionate about the process of international negotiation. See you in the committee room!