Montessori Model United Nations Conference
The Montessori Model UN Conference (MMUN) is a unique experience which combines the scholarship and global citizenry of the United Nations with the pedagogical insights of Dr Maria Montessori.
At the MMUN conferences, students aged 9- 15 years assume the role of either an ambassador or a Press Corps reporter. As the committees and their relevant topics are taken directly from the United Nations’ agenda, the students become deeply engaged in critical and contemporary world issues.
The conferences are designed to meet the needs of each student at his or her current stage of development. By working to solve real-world issues in a developmentally-appropriate setting, students become active members of the world they will inherit as adults.
The Montessori Model UN stands out from other model UNs as not only does it serve the youngest delegates in the model UN world, but the main objective of the program is to engage students in authentic learning situations that teach them about critical thinking, social justice and collaboration while participating in a life-changing experience.
Dr Montessori understood that children learn about moral development by working on real life tasks. When they feel validated while working toward a meaningful goal, they bring a great amount of energy, commitment and intelligence to the forefront. Thanks to their engagement, delegates take part in a true social movement of youth by rendering the world more peaceful and just.
Collaboration over Competition
As a collaborative educational program that fosters social responsibility and action, there are no awards or ribbons distributed at MMUN conferences. Delegates prepare and negotiate in an authentic manner assuming the role of ambassadors in the UN. Delegates must vote in position with their country at all times, understanding that only through negotiation can they accomplish the crucial task of solving world problems.
Negotiation as Ambassadors in the United Nations
Ambassadors to the United Nations have limited time to work and therefore much of the negotiation takes place informally and in small groups. Conferences are quite limited in time and therefore the delegates must use their time wisely as the Ambassadors they represent. However, at the United Nations, it is in the best interest of the committee if more countries agree to a draft resolution. Some topics are so interrelated and globally focused, all member states have a vested interest and it is through collaboration and compromise that ambassadors work to include as many member states as possible. Montessori Model United Nations models this process. At the UN Committees, 85% of General Assembly resolutions are adopted by consensus. For both the UN and MMUN, the ultimate goal leading up to this final phase is consensus, which is truly the signature of a diplomatic culture.
Education for Peace
Dr Maria Montessori supported the work of the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations as a forum where peace could be created. She recognised that hope for peace lay in the education of children. Montessori Model United Nations has partnered with the United Nations to create a program for Montessori students who, at the sensitive period for reason, justice and morality, can participate in a life-changing experience.
MIC’s Involvement in MMUN
In May 2019 our first MIC delegation attended MMUN in Rome, a fitting location given Dr Montessori opened her first Montessori school in the Italian capital in 1907. Seven Year 6 students and one Year 7 student attended and presented their position papers at the conference. Representing the countries of Ethiopia, Malaysia and Costa Rica, the topics considered by students were:
- rights of peoples to self-determination
- elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
- protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind
- convention on biological diversity.
The resolutions from the 2019 Montessori Model United Nations Rome conference are available for viewing on the MMUN website.
Check out this video made by one of our MIC parents at the Rome conference in May 2019:
In March 2020 our second MIC delegation will attend MMUN in New York where students will deliver their speeches in the famous United Nations Headquarters complex in Manhattan.