More Than Model UN

IDIA is more than just Model UN

What happens when the conference ends and everyone goes home?  For most, the Model UN experience is over.

But for IDIA participants, the opportunity to remain involved continues.  Our goal is not to create better Model UN delegates, and it’s not to get our students into college.  We support those efforts, but they’re not at the center of our focus.  Our Model UN and Model Congress conferences are a vehicle.

We educate our participants about important issues. We empower them by developing critical life skills. And we engage them in bringing about positive social change.

It’s easy to get lost in the subculture of Model UN.  Students in Africa have to walk 5 miles to school, so the UN should buy them all bicycles.  Problem solved. Global economic inequality can be solved with microloans.  Problem solved.  Bed nets can eradicate malaria.  Problem solved.

If you don’t know any better, those ideas seem to make sense, and if that’s all your director knows about, resolutions including those ideas are likely to save the day.  But what happens when you travel to West Africa and talk to teachers and students about their own experiences?  What happens when you travel to Mexico to and meet with recipients of microloans and hear those stories first-hand?  What happens when you see people unable to be active in their own communities because they’re in an a vicious cycle of malaria and disease?

You realize that these issues are far more complicated than they are made out to be.  You recognize that if the “easy solutions” of the past actually made a difference, then we wouldn’t still be talking about those issues.  You understand that solutions are about more than buzzwords and soundbytes.  Solutions require research, fresh ideas, and innovative solutions.

At IDIA, our staff members come a diverse, global community.  Their experiences are as varied as their majors.  Don’t learn about malaria from a political science major, learn about it from someone studying public health.  Learn about global disarmament from someone who works at the Conference on Disarmament.  Understand how young people can get involved in the world around them from Youth Delegates to the United Nations.