Model United Nations and Model Congress can be about so much more than competition and padding one’s resume for college. Since IDIA began more than twenty years ago, we have kept a steady focus on the life skills that our conferences provide our students. IDIA conference staff undergoes an inn-depth training process designed to assess the needs of participating students, and offer them tools and techniques they can use at future conferences — but more importantly, they are trained to help develop in their delegates the tools necessary to become active members in their own communities.
The Committee Experience
What happens in the committee room can make or break a student’s experience at a conference. When students prepare for a professionally managed conference and arrive to an uncoordinated, haphazard event, not only have they lost their money, they have lost out on a potentially transformative experience. At IDIA conferences, our conference management teams and staff are dedicated to ensuring that every delegate at our conferences has the experience they seek. Experienced participants are likely looking for the opportunity to hone their persuasive speaking skills, or to better develop their ability to respond to changing circumstances. Newer delegates are often looking for the chance to become more comfortable speaking in public, developing their research and writing skills, and step outside their comfort zone.
Lots of conferences and organizations offer those experiences. But these programs have so much more potential.
At IDIA, we recognize that a Model United Nations conference, whether it’s a one-day program or a 4-day event, has the opportunity to meaningfully impact the lives of every participant. Students talk about issues that are not on the front page and are challenged to develop creative solutions. Our committees don’t create subcommittees, and they don’t shift the responsibility. Whether they’re talking about an issue like The Responsibility to Protect, or the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, our delegates are challenged to step beyond their comfort zones and develop creative solutions. They take what they’ve learned at our conferences and not only bring their experiences back to their classmates, but become active in the own communities. We know we’ve done our jobs right when we learn after the conference that our delegates have begun volunteering at an organization they learned about at our programs, they have started a new club in their school, or they have taken meaningful action to positively impact the world around them.