What Model United Nations Can Teach Us About the Real United Nations

MUNfunnySome of you may call it MUN. Others might call it Model UN. Thankfully, none of you call it Model United Nations.

If you did call it by its full name, adults would know what you were talking about, and then they would think you actually do care about more than the new flavor of Trident Layers that just came out. And we don’t want to ruin the “teens are dumb” stereotype, because if adults think we’re stupid, it’s a lot easier to get away with stupid things. Like crashing your car into your neighbor’s brick mailbox.

Adults chalk this crash up to having an “underdeveloped” brain, but we all know you’re just getting revenge for when that neighbor sprayed you with the hose on Halloween. Which was really unnecessary, seeing as you were only going to aerate his lawn with some plastic forks and test the strength of his roof with some raw eggs. Some people just don’t accept good deeds, I guess.

Anyway, back to the point (not that I have one. But if I did have one, this would be the time to come back to it.)

Model United Nations may just be a mock UN activity, but it can teach us some valuable things about the real world of foreign relations.

(If you don’t know what MUN is, it’s basically when a group of schools gets together and everyone pretends to represent real UN countries and delegates. You pass resolutions and dress up in business attire. In a way, it’s like playing dress-up when you were five, except this time you can put it on your college application. Although, just between you and me, I’m planning on putting: “Dressed up and imitated Thomas the Tank Engine; Grades 2-3” on my college application to give me a slight competitive edge over y’all).

The Transportation

Just like in your own (or, if you don’t have one, a neighboring school’s) MUN chapter, the real United Nations delegates travel to their conferences in yellow school buses manufactured before the invention of shock absorbers.

Since many delegates come from places as far away as South Africa, South America, and South Dakota, they often leave two to three years ahead of when the conference is scheduled. For countries with lots of railroads, like Russia, they often have to leave even earlier than that, since the driver has to stop and open the doors at each railroad crossing.

The Seating

When you finally get to your committee room, you try and sit next to your friends. This way, you can talk about important things like that new Trident Layers flavor* when you hit a slow part in the debates.

In the UN, delegates also try to sit next to their friends. Unfortunately, unlike MUN, the real United Nations committee chair enforces the “sit alphabetically” policy. To counteract that, of course, countries just started lying about the English translation of their official names. How else did you think we ended up with names like “Djibouti?” Clearly, that guy just wanted to sit near the attractive delegate from the Dominican Republic.

* If you don’t pay me in the next ten days for this product placement, Trident Company, I’m changing it to “5 gum” instead.

The Resolutions

Sure, many people take MUN seriously, but there are always a few jokesters who like to make spoof resolutions (not me, of course. As a humor writer, I only write serious resolutions). And wouldn’t you know it, the United Nations has the same problem.

Some countries, like the major western nations, actually want to resolve problems in the world. Others, however, like Luxembourg, have so much money that they actually don’t have enough physical room in their banks to keep it all (and it doesn’t help that Luxembourg is only about as large as your AP Biology textbook).

So, delegates from places like these do spend all of their time on joke resolutions. Recently, “Resolution 1399: Banning the Election of Any National Leader without a Phonetically Spelled Name” came within five votes of passing. Had it passed, 78% of all the countries would have had to hold emergency elections.

The Free Time

Even if you don’t like international relations, lots of people do MUN to get out of school, travel to a nearby college, have free time with friends, and attend the party on the final night.

And, believe it or not, about 30% of all UN delegates are there simply for the parties. You think Morretalgo has any major international influence? Heck no. Half you probably think that I just made that up, because you’ve never even heard of that country. (And the other half you are “dumb” teenagers, because I did just make that up.)

These delegates come for the crazy parties and New York City nightlife. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to corruption. One third world country (which will remain unnamed) had an entire internal government investigation after it was found that the UN ambassador bribed the selection committee because he really, really wanted to go see “Cats” on Broadway. And that’s absolutely pathetic. I mean, “Cats?” Really? Talk about poor taste.

Conclusion

Clearly, MUN programs across the nation do a much better job modeling the real United Nations than you thought, right down to the pillow fights over who gets the single motel bed and who gets the floor (quick note: this is what started the Cold War). So, if you like MUN, maybe you should consider becoming an international relations major. Besides, if that doesn’t work out, you can always become the official U.N. school bus driver instead.

If you’re more interested in some useful advice, you probably want to check out, “Everything You Need to Know to Pass Chemistry Class,” published this time last year. Part of the “Everything You Need to Know” series, it’s there to help you get that A+. Or C-. Whichever your friends will be more in awe of.

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