You’ve probably heard of the Model United Nations. But if you’re like me, you’re probably a little hazy on the details. Here’s a quick explainer, and a look at how Montessori fits into the picture.
The Model United Nations, it turns out, isn’t just one thing. In fact, it’s a generic term for a wide range of activities taken on by a wide range of organizations. Per WIkipedia:
Model United Nations (also Model UN or MUN) is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda.
The programs began in the 1920s as simulations of the League of Nations, transforming into MUNs in the 1950s. Originally college level activities, they have expanded to include elementary through post-doctoral participants, involving more than 90,000 students. Schools, colleges, and universities organize their own MUN clubs or classes, which can choose to participate one of more than 70 MUN Conferences in the U.S. and around the world. Conferences typically feature research, debates, public speaking, analysis, and much more. Many conferences give awards as part of the event.
The Montessori Model United Nations is different. Founded in 2006 by Oak Farm Montessori School Head Judith Cunningham and the UN Ambassador from Dominican Republic Francis Lorenzo, MMUN is one of a very few MUN Conferences open to elementary and middle school students. In contrast to most other Conferences, MMUN focuses on peace, cooperation, and compromise, rather than competition, and does not give awards.
MMUN has held 6 conferences in New York and has expanded to a Midwest Regional conference and a conference in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s participants included Oak Farm Montessori from Avilla, Indiana, Santa Barbara Montessori School from California, and Treasure Village Montessori, a charter school from the Florida Keys. Several schools made their local news: