17 September 2008


17 September 2008
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


Student Delegates to Attend Three-Day Forum in August 2009

The United Nations Department of Public Information will organize the first annual Global Model UN conference in Geneva, Switzerland, from 5 to 7 August 2009.  The event will target the best university-level students from Model UN programmes currently organized around the world.  The theme for the first conference will be “The Millennium Developments Goals -- Lifting the bottom billion out of poverty”.

The announcement today coincides with the start of a mobilization campaign to alert Model UN programme coordinators worldwide about the plans for the Global Model UN.  As part of this campaign, the Department of Public Information will work closely with the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and a range of other supporters, including the United Nations Foundation.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, is a strong advocate of Model UN student conferences as a forum for educating young people about the work of the Organization.  “Forty years ago, my participation in a Model UN conference in Kyoto, Japan, inspired me to work on global affairs and try to make a difference in the world.  It is our hope that the Global Model UN conference will build on lessons learnt and accomplishments of Model UN programmes worldwide to increase support for the United Nations efforts to make the world a better place,” he said.

The annual student conference aims to serve as a model of best practices for Model UN conferences.  It will involve youth in all aspects of the planning process and encourage the organization of new Model UN programmes where they do not exist.  Furthermore, it is expected that the Global Model UN will inspire the next generation of leaders to become involved in national and global issues.

The Global Model UN will introduce rules of procedure that closely represent how the United Nations functions and give students access to United Nations officials prior to and during conference deliberations.  The Department of Public Information will also provide training materials and online tools that will allow participants to collaborate using new communication technologies.  The conference will significantly expand and deepen the Department’s outreach to youth, a group which is a top priority for the Organization.

Approximately 1,000 university-level students between the ages of 18 and 24 will be invited to participate in the conference.  It is expected that the student delegates will be selected by their peers during national-level Model UN student conferences during the course of 2008 and 2009.

The Public Information Department will require all Model UN programmes to ensure that the selection of student delegates is transparent and inclusive, including gender balance and representation of various socio-economic backgrounds.  A quota system will be established for each region (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America) to ensure wide geographic representation at the conference.

Model UN student conferences are well established around the world.  An estimated half million or more students from primary school to university in more than 70 countries participate in Model UN conferences every year.  The Department is developing a database of Model UNs around the world, which will be posted on the conference website in the near future.  At present, the database includes more than 400 Model UN programmes.

Model UN student conferences are simulations of United Nations forums, such as the General Assembly and its Main Committees and the Security Council.  They also simulate member State bodies of a range of United Nations organizations, including the specialized agencies and the economic commissions.  During the conferences, the students take on the roles of foreign diplomats, debating international crises, negotiating difficult global issues and drafting and adopting resolutions.

To plan the 2009 high profile Global Model UN, the Public Information Department will collaborate closely with partners with a track record of organizing Model UNs, including universities, United Nations associations and United Nations information centres around the world.  It will seek support from partners to fund conference services and the communications plans for the Global Model UN conference.  Costs for travel and accommodation for the student participants will need to be supported at the national level by the private sector or through other fundraising efforts, particularly for delegates from developing countries.

More information can be found on a new webpage:

For additional information, please contact Yvonne Acosta, Chief, Education Outreach Cluster, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information, at; or Bill Yotive, Manager, Global Teaching and Learning Project, at

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.