By Dylan J. Hubbard
President of BrizMUN Inc., Chief of Staff for BrizMUN 2015, and current fourth year International Business student at Griffith University on the employability benefits of Model U.N.
‘Think globally, act locally’ is the all too familiar catchcry of grassroots organisations and environmentalists the world over, and one that falls on many a deaf ear each day.
Setting aside half of this well-worn cliché (‘acting locally’) for now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits, indeed the inherent perks, of thinking globally. Particularly in regards to employability, ‘thinking globally’ is a skill worth having, and it is but one of the many skills Model United Nations participants have going for them in gaining employment that non-participants often do not.
Consider this your welcome to the world of Model United Nations, possibly the easiest weekend of becoming professionally employable that you’ve missed out on for years.
Model United Nations? What?
“University students attend and each represents a particular country, adopting the policies and beliefs of that country. They then join in committee sessions with students representing other countries and debate a topic of current international concern, with the purpose of negotiating a resolution.” – (Shameless credit to BrizMUN Inc. http://www.brizmun.org/about/)
Model United Nations (or ‘MUNs’) are, at a regional tertiary level, typically three to four days of intense debate, research, and negotiation, all done as a representative (or ‘delegate’) of a nation in a simulation of an international committee.
Topics range from the ethics of drone warfare, to the role of pharmaceutical companies in combating disease, to, well to almost anything worthy of international awareness and debate. In essence, MUNs embody what it takes to ‘think globally’ without the impractical limitations of academia.
Earlier this month I had the experience of acting as Chief of Staff for the Brisbane Model United Nations Conference 2015 (‘BrizMUN’), the premier tertiary Model United Nations conference in Queensland. This year’s conference brought together almost 300 participants from around Australia to debate issues facing the global community today and to develop core skills necessary for most forms of employment.
But why UN models?
Well done! You have made it through the dull explanatory portion on MUNs! To keep things modern and interesting, your reward is the following BuzzFeed-inspired list of the Top 5 Core Employability Skills you’ll gain at MUNs:
- Interpersonal Communication
After three or four days of oral debates and written resolution writing, the communication skills of delegates inevitably develop alongside the experiences gained in the course of negotiation. Whether it is negotiating a resolution clause, explaining the position of your nation, or empathising with the concerns of another nation, communication lies at the heart of MUN involvement.
- Critical Reasoning
When discussing the course of action to be taken to deal with international issues, the ‘easy solution’ is rarely the solution discussed, largely because it rarely exists. Checking off the problem solving skill for job applications becomes a lot easier after securing peace in the Middle East.
Speaking to a room full of strangers dressed in business attire that sound far more knowledgeable than you might not sound like fun (it gets better), however it certainly is a great way of providing delegates the opportunity to gain a whole new form of confidence in their own research and speaking abilities.
- Team Work
At the end of each MUN, each committee will have (usually) agreed upon one or more resolutions, having culminated from the collaborate working of dozens of delegates, creating a viable action plan.
- International Focus
Cultural understanding, international economic/political awareness, and grand scheme thinking comes hand-in-hand with MUNs, and in a time of rapid globalisation, these skills are an asset for any future employee.
To top this all off, although the prospect of becoming more employable should stand alone as reason enough to become a delegate, MUNs come attached with social events that put most university parties to shame, such as the Finale Ball of BrizMUN 2015 held at Cloudland’s Heritage Room. Professional development does tend to sound more enticing to university students when you throw the term ‘bar tab’ around.
Your World, Your Employability
After at least three years of your life being spent in tertiary education, working for a piece of paper almost indistinguishable from the thousands printed with the same qualification, the path to your dream job will almost certainly be difficult.
What will separate you from the crowd when it comes time to face your interviews? Will your intense understanding of APA referencing be enough to impress? If you are looking at your curriculum vitae and noticing a sizable gap between your experience and the dozens of jobs you’ll be applying for, perhaps it is time to stop acting locally and to start thinking globally.
Model United Nations provides participants with core skills that tertiary education alone cannot provide. Conferences such as the Brisbane Model United Nations Conference (known colloquially as ‘BrizMUN’) engage participants in practical skill building alongside hundreds of other internationally focused individuals.
Although the next BrizMUN might be a full year away (yeah you missed it, that’s a shame), there are many more conferences to choose from in 2015 for you to start building your curriculum vitae upon.
So move your Djibouti, and get Hungary for some Model United Nations. You should be Russian to register by now.
Want to know more about MUNs? Visit the BrizMUN website: http://www.brizmun.org/