Model United Nations uses fun quirks to prepare

By June Peers

Photo courtesy of GHC MUN. The team won Outstanding Delegation at a UCLA Conference in November 2021.

The Model United Nations (MUN) has some of the most individualistic members of any group on campus.  From their imaginative spirits to the passion they have towards their research topics, the team is full of many vibrant voices who approach public speaking in their own unique ways.

Many of those who joined MUN were first introverts, trying to gain better public-speaking skills.  It can be nerve-racking to perform in front of a large audience, in a committee where they compete, and even with their fellow teammates.  Oftentimes, what members do in order to assuage their nervousness is to present their modulated caucus (speech) with an actor quality.  Rather than performing as themselves, they may get into character by using Southern or British accents.

“Oftentimes, I incorporate accents into my speeches to build character and suspense.  It is very important sometimes to have a little bit of a dramatic flair.  Three words of drama can do a thousand words of exposition,” senior Henry Zitsow said.

This vocal tactic captivates the audience with accents from other countries or regional American dialects.

To emphasize their argument, the members may talk to their audience in a dramatic tone.  When expressing their emotions towards their given topic, they will strategically exaggerate their movements and speak with a certain cadence that will strengthen the performance of their speech.

“MUN teaches its members to infuse emotion into their words.  Emotion is the key to changing the audience’s mind and holds the key to their heart,” junior Beaux Cable said.

Sometimes, they will act frustrated towards the opposing argument.  As a result, the audience will often mimic these intense emotions, forming their own opinion in agreement with the speaker.

The members of MUN can speak passionately about any topic they are given, even those that are unrelated to world events and may seem a little trivial.  If the prompt was “What fruit best fits your personality?” they would confidently answer that they would be a banana and give factual reasons as to why.  Although prompts such as those are not discussed among delegates in a committee, it prepares the members to form a case in any situation.  

“It is beneficial to ask these personality-based questions because it’s something both fun and silly, but also allows you to know somebody you’ve never met before on an intimate level,” senior Nemsie Gonzalez said.

These exciting exercises alleviate the stress of competing as the members learn that their arguments do not always have to be serious.  Additionally, in the process of these activities, the members gain an appreciation of the art of debate itself.

As a whole, the purpose of Model United Nations is not entirely to write position papers or be immersed in a United Nations environment.

“To me, the purpose of M.U.N. is to grow and learn about world issues while better understanding the world and different perspectives,” said senior Mahima Shyno.

The experience of simply being a part of a team, whether that be a sports team or an academic one, goes beyond just competing.  It is what you gain from each practice and how you apply it in the real world that is truly beneficial.