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Model United Nations in the United States

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Model United Nations in the United States

Model United Nations in the United States is a popular extracurricular activity for middle school, high school, and college students.[1] The United States was where Model United Nations originated and was popularized,[2] and is also where many of the world's most respected conferences are held.[3] The U.S. has several regional centers of Model UN, each with its own distinct style.[4]

Traditionally, Model UN has been associated with affluent schools and communities, but in recent years, the activity has expanded to reach more students.[5]

Model UN by region

Model United Nations is popular across the United States, with MUN clubs and conferences being found in every region.[6] However, because of the fact that Model UN is decentralized and has grown autonomously, there are significant differences in how MUN is done between regions.[7]

East Coast (Northeast)

Centered on the New York and Washington metropolitan areas, both of which play host to a multitude of prestigious, largely university-hosted conferences, the Northeast has established a reputation for approaching Model United Nations with an idealistic philosophy, while still emphasizing the academic competition aspect of Model UN and giving awards for delegates. Conferences also evaluate delegates holistically when deciding on the distribution of awards. Crisis committees are especially popular in the Northeast, and lead to this region's conferences having more of a focus on creativity.[8]

West Coast (California)

The West Coast, especially Southern California, is known for its professional, class-based Model United Nations programs. Naturally stressing the academic side of Model UN, conferences greatly value well-written position papers, not just factoring them into awards decisions, but also giving dedicated awards for them. Parent booster clubs. the popularity of Model United Nations, as well as for the high quality of delegates.[9]


In spite of the fact that the Midwest has fewer conferences than the more established East and West Coast circuits,[10] it still has a very developed and distinct Model UN culture. Though some major conferences are located in Michigan,[11] most are located in Illinois,[12] specifically Chicago, where Model UN revolves around the university bearing the city's name.

Model United Nations of the University of Chicago (MUNUC) is the largest high school conference in the Midwest, with several thousand delegates in attendance.[13] It is the conference that most Midwestern high school MUN teams historically attend. In recent years, more Midwestern teams have also traveled to conferences on the East Coast, raising their profile nationally, with the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools having become particularly well-known.[14][15]

The Chicago Model United Nations (ChoMUN), also organized by the University of Chicago, is the major college-level Model UN conference in the region, being ranked the fourth best college conference in North America.[16] In addition, in 2014 UChicago's team was ranked the best college Model UN team in North America, the first team to twice achieve this feat.[17]

Conferences in the Midwest have a characteristic focus on realism, making delegates less likely to compromise on their positions.[18] The Midwest's crisis committees are well-regarded as a result, with ChoMUN especially renowned for this.[19] As MUN is mostly seen as an educational exercise, awards and competition tend to be de-emphasized.[20]


Middle school Model UN is fairly popular in the South.[21] The vibrant South region of Model UN in the U.S. can be easily divided into three sub-regions, San Antonio, Texas, Southwest Florida,[22] and Virginia. All excel at Model UN and have distinct styles.

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, students are bilingual and speeches in committee are therefore allowed to be made in either English or Spanish. It should be noted however that Spanish is used slightly more often.

The speaking style of Puerto Rican Model UN delegates tends to be more animated than that of other delegates. Students often speak louder and faster, and when delivering speeches, they may pace in front of their committee instead of standing still.

After a speech, if a delegate wishes to ask a question of the speaker they must ask “Delegates, will you accept my question?” before being able to address the speaker. This is a practice isolated to Puerto Rico, and delegates may be penalized by their chairs if they fail to adhere to it.

Chairs in Puerto Rico adopt a more activist approach, directing the flow of debate and banging their gavels often. This is in comparison to the facilitator style of chairing more common in the rest of the United States which allows delegates to direct more of the flow of debate.

Parents in Puerto Rico are highly supportive of Model UN and some are even alumni. It is not uncommon for parents to volunteer to help at conferences, and many are present at closing ceremonies.[23][24][25]

See also


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External links

  • Best Delegate
  • UNA-USA Model UN resources
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