MODEL UNITED NATIONS

After years of isolation from international sanctions under Saddam Hussein, over a decade
of sectarian violence, and three years of trauma under ISIL-occupation, and financial crisis,
many students have had limited opportunities to engage with each other on global issues
from a critical lens. Civic engagement among youth, programs fostering critical thinking
skills, and multiethnic forums are sparse. A region of such geopolitical importance requires
future leaders who can understand and advocate for people of different backgrounds and
perspectives. Kurdistan and Iraq are currently in short supply of such leaders. Model United
Nations can direct discussions on sensitive political issues in the region to broader
challenges in the world, allowing students to not only represent alternative views, but also to
advocate those views in a public debate among peers. It is the ultimate practice in empathy
and will promote coalition building that transcends local political, ethnic and linguistic
divisions.
Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations which engages 500,000 students from all
over the world every year. Delegates debate issues that are currently being discussed by
real diplomats. This debate takes place at conferences which include delegates from
different groups or clubs. Each delegate is given a country to represent and will debate on
their behalf. “Students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of
the UN, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The students debate current issues…prepare draft
resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and
navigate the UN’s rules of procedure – all in the interest of resolving problems that affect the
world.” (United Nations Association USA). A research by the Oslo Coalition for the Freedom
of Religion and Belief has concluded the importance of Model UN as a creative teaching
approach to tolerance, respect and recognition.

WHAT IS MODEL UNITED NATIONS?

Curriculum for Iraq

With a special Model United Nations curriculum for Iraq, NMUNA addresses the obstacles that exists in Iraq to establishing Model United Nations. The curriculum offers an opportunity for institutions and partners to adopt Model UN in a way that fits into Iraq’s higher education and student extra-curricula activities. 

Conferences

The 2021 National Model United Nations conference is first in Iraq’s history. It is the first step towards the adoption of Model UN in the country. Organizing Model UN conferences is an internal part of NMUNA activities and NMUNA will strive to host annual national and international conferences in Iraq. Through it is global network, NMUNA also supports its current and previous participants to engage in other international conferences abroad. 

Erbil Model United Nations @ American Corner

In partnership with the U.S Consulate General Erbil and the University of Kurdistan Hawler (UKH), NMUNA organized a 3-month Model UN program. The program trained 20 highly talented youth leaders in Model UN. Participants of the program are now renowned professionals and change-makers, working in leadership positions with the government, startups and civil society and leaving a lasting impact. 

Kirkuk Model United Nations

Kirkuk’s multi-ethnic nature has often prompted highhanded tensions between the city’s component. Such tension can tear apart the city while the diversity should be encouraging its prosperity. Kirkuk Model United Nations focused on bringing together youth from Kirkuk’s diverse groups and engage them in discussions on global issues. Focusing on global issues instead of local issues proved helpful as participants first learned how to engage in debate and negotiation  on topics which they do not have an immediate connection or emotional attachment. Learning those skills then helped them apply it to the sensitive conflicting local issues.