MUN is Changing & Going online
Model United Nations (MUN) is changing. The one constant in life is change and the same goes for diplomacy and MUN. The internet is taking a more central place in our everyday activities from school to work. Sometimes we have travel restrictions that limit in-person activities like conferences. MUN is evolving as a result of global change. Change from the dawn of Whatsapp and Instagram to global events that affect the way to do MUN and communicate with each other. Note passing to another delegate is not something we thought to do online. Strategizing with your block during lunch break now also consists of taking selfies and posting them on social media platforms. There is a lot to consider as this new reality impacts the world around us and many questions about the new world of Model United Nations we are living in now.
Is MUN going Online?
Since the 1990’s more and more things have moved online like shopping, banking, education… So why not MUN?
It’s not like an Online MUN conference has not been done in the past, it has. Still only in the past few years have our online communications systems been capable of facilitating all of part of a MUN conference online to fullest.
To have something like an Online MUN catch on there should be a mix of Want, Interest & Need (WIN)
Many MUNers didn’t really want to do MUN online. They felt their needs were met by in-person MUN conferences. An in-person meeting and experience was seen as a richer experience. Tp top it all off, as there is no shortage of MUN conferences available locally and internationally.
In the past, some people tried online MUN but there seemed to be little interest.
In the past, some people tried online MUN but there seemed to be little interest. The benefits of MUN and the need was met by in-person conferences. An in-person meeting and experience was seen as a richer experience. Also, as there were many conferences available, both locally and internationally, so the options to do more, or less, MUN was there.
Suddenly, reality shifted and no one was allowed to go anywhere. This means MUN, a rich in-person activity suddenly has no substitute. The need is not met and now their interest is real and growing, especially to those who are experienced and miss MUN in their daily routines. The connection with people offered by online MUN, and skill-building experience, are needs that are as real today as before but now need to go online to be met.
How can I participate in MUN while travel is restricted?
In this new reality Online MUN conferences are starting again, this time aimed at providing a quality MUN experience utilizing the software available and requiring the hardware needed.
To participate, all that is needed is an online MUN conference to register for, to be available for the duration of the conference and a stable internet connection. The potential challenges of these conferences are now technological and that they exist in different time zones. At the same time, the costs are much lower than a bus or flight to a conference and the opportunity to meet participants from all over the world is much greater. This is why now might be the best time for what MUN offers when it comes to connecting with peers from all over the world.
What new skills will I need to do MUN remotely?
The core skills needed for MUN, presentation, persuasion, negotiation and resolution writing remain the same. However, there is a new distribution of what and how the steps of MUN are performed.
In-person MUN has public speaking in front of a room full of people. Even if a listener doesn’t catch every word they can still the way your body moves or knows to listen when you raise the volume. Online you need to make sure to test your microphone, or the perfect speech will be lost on all listeners.
An in-person speech could have excellent body language but a shabby outfit would detract from the impression you would make. Online, the focus is your upper body and face. While you’re now able to wear flip flops your shirt, hair and facial gestures become much more important. Also, a bad background can detract from your speech even if you have good clothing, lighting, microphone and a killer speech.
Your words now harry more weight. You will need to develop a feel for potential time lapses in connectivity. A clear voice now needs to be accompanied by functional hardware. Before a conference starts, a hardware check is mandatory. A place in the home with no interruption and a good internet connection is now a much.
When it comes to hardware for MUN, it’s the CLIMB. Climb stands for Camera, Lighting, Internet, Microphone, Background. The quality of your image, the light on your face, the speech of your internet, clarity of sound and the image behind you can all enhance or detract from your online MUN experience.
We give a detailed breakdown of the elements in our breakdown of the CLIMB elements.
Guide to hardware set up for MUN
It’s this combination of improved skills and the right hardware and set up that will help you get your message across.
Benefits of MUN online
MUN for me has always been about understanding different world views, connecting people and working together towards a common goal. MUN online still holds many of those elements as well as bringing new opportunities.
MUN online connects people who can’t travel in ways they never could for in-person MUN. Committees of delegates and teams of chairs who would never have met in real life will have the opportunity to work together. Also, online MUN allows for a greater frequency of these teams to meet and create. The chances for connection and collaboration between students from all over the world has never been greater.
Will this be long term?
For the moment, we might see more muns online. The innovation and realization of opportunity is real. As long as staying at home is important, online opportunities to do MUN will continue to grow and expand. Networks will be created between students and conference organizers to reach the delegates who are interested, creating new opportunities.
The day after
The prediction is that MUN online will not end when social distancing does. The unique elements of global cooperation and new networks of friends will not disappear. Also, the opportunity to do MUN from home will remove the obstacles some have with doing MUN more often and at less cost. Many of the systems built today are changing how we live and of them, many will continue to be used in the future. MUN online will go in the same direction. The time and effort put into MUN online will make it a better, more comfortable and more natural platform to use resulting in a much better MUN online experience for participants when this time is over. How much is it used will remain to be see but it is clear that online MUN will be a much better and more developed experience at the end of the process.
As more MUN conferences go online, the hardware considerations and use of new online networks will start to be second nature. This new language will be learned. This is not the first time people needed to adapt to a new reality. Just as the printing press, radio, TV, computer and smartphone brought their revolutions and challenges, now is the time to utilize the incredible power of the internet to connect across countries and over oceans. MUN brings out some of the best qualities in people and how we grow from participating in MUN does not need to stop because of communication which is now more technology-based than ever before. It’s time to change, to grow and, together, to take MUN to the next level.