Model United Nations: Develop your critical thinking and leadership skills
Palestinian students attend the Model United Nations (MUN) Conference Bridge Palestine. Source: Mohammed Abed/AFP

Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the UN and how the world’s foremost international organisation works. Many schools offer this as an extra-curricular, where students get to roleplay as delegates from different countries debating policies to solve real world problems. “Your experience in this conference will give you a full taste of the complexity of international relations, the intricacies of negotiations among diverse peoples and perspectives, the challenges of achieving consensus and the patience required to win progress,” said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon during the Third Global Model United Nations Conference in 2011. 

Ban himself participated in UN-style debate when he was a college student. “So you never know where this conference might lead. You could end up as Secretary-General of the United Nations, or maybe your country’s UN ambassador,” Ban said during the first Global Model United Nations. Other famous people who also took part in Model United Nations include former judge and president of the International Court of Justice (ICC) Stephen Schwebel, reigning King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and American author and global health advocate Chelsea Clinton. 

Here are more reasons to join Model United Nations:

Global awareness

Examples of policies debated by Model United Nations clubs around the world include how to eradicate poverty, tackle hunger, promote health and push for gender equality. 

Model United Nations

Hawaiian “protest surfer” Alison Teal recreates the famous Beatles Abbey Road album cover as she crosses Abbey Road during a visit to London to raise awareness on the need to combat climate change. Source: Olivier Morin/AFP


By joining, you can demonstrate leadership through winning awards, chairing committees, running conferences, and training your club. You get to seek advice from people you’ve met, such as seniors who have applied to or are currently attending competitive colleges too. Getting to reflect on your experience in essays and interviews will make you stand out more with admission officers too.


Attending Model United Nations is ideal for finding friends and building lasting bonds to cultivate for future use. During conferences hosted by them, you get to meet other delegates, senior delegates, organisers, judges and possible mentors. 

Building language skills

Researchers found that by creating an imaginary international community, we improve our self-awareness. This, in turn, improves our future study abroad ventures. 

Get confident

For Kevin Chan, being a part of Model United Nations gave him the chance to meet new people, interact with unfamiliar faces and work in teams. This boosted his confidence tremendously. “Strive, don’t stress for success and let it come to you,” is Chan’s advice.