28 March 2017 - Each year, hundreds of thousands of young people participate in Model United Nations (MUN) simulations across the globe. Reaching students at all levels, MUNs offer a popular way to learn about the UN - and for the Organization to reach tomorrow's leaders. As part of its Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, UNODC is looking to tap into the power of MUNs to educate students on the concept of the rule of law and how this issue is discussed and dealt with at an international level.
Around this, an Expert Group Meeting was held this week in Vienna to help further develop a forthcoming UNODC Guide for organizers of MUNs. Bringing together a diverse group of people, the meeting included students who had previously taken part in MUNs and organizers from different parts of the world in order to take into account unique perspectives.
The objective of the MUN Guide is to present organizers of MUN conferences with information on UNODC's mandates, the Office's governing bodies (namely the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, conferences of UNODC treaties and the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice) and how they can be realistically simulated to enhance students' learning experience and foster the development of their own perspectives on these topics. This will give young people an insight into what it is like to negotiate at the international level, provide them with a vehicle to learn leadership, as well as help them to build empathy and obtain an understanding of major policy debates on these issues.
Covering issues around crime prevention, criminal justice, corruption, terrorism, organized crime, cybercrime, firearms, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the MUN Guide will ultimately assist students, teachers and professors wishing to use MUN as a way to learn and educate on these topics. This supports the overarching focus of E4J which, at the secondary level, looks to develop practical and interactive educational materials to help teach students identify, prevent and resolve moral, ethical or legal dilemmas, and at the university level, provides academics with materials to teach on UNODC-mandated topics.
The EGM follows UNODC's involvement in other Model UN conferences earlier in the year, where topics such as human trafficking, firearms, money-laundering and anti-corruption were covered. This included supporting the annual MUN held by The Hague International Model United Nations Qatar (THIMUN Qatar) in January and the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) International Model United Nations event in New York in February. At both, UNODC spoke with secondary and tertiary level students on these themes.