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Political Science

Model UN and Diplomacy


The Model UN class offers students a unique opportunity to learn about international relations while role–playing as United Nations delegates. Model UN provides an academic learning experience through the simulation of the structures, processes, and issues of the member nations of the United Nations. The class is open to all students regardless of major and first year students are encouraged to participate.

The course encompasses, as broad and deep as possible given the time constraints, the study of the United Nations and related organizations, background research on a selected member nation, and topical research on two or three issues currently before the United Nations or the UN Security Council. Time is also allotted for learning the rules of procedure, the art of diplomacy, negotiating skills, and public speaking and Roberts’s rules.

Model UN is a rather unusual class, in part because it is a faculty- advised, student-directed educational activity. Under the faculty supervision of Dr. Tahir Shad, the International Studies Council directs the Model UN Program. This is a two-credit class, and runs for one–half of the semester; however, students can opt to participate in the program without earning credit. Students may only earn credit for the two separate programs that we run once, for a total of four credits. The class meets weekly and on the weekends for simulations. In the fall semester, students participate in the Model Diplomacy program and students who excel in the simulations will be selected to participate in the Yale Model Security Program in New Haven, Connecticut. In the spring semester, students engage in the Model UN program and compete to participate in the Harvard World Model UN. In recent years, WAC delegations have been to the Netherlands, Taiwan, and South Korea to participate in the World Model UN. Students can earn credit for the class if they complete the required academic component, even if they don’t attend the actual Model programs at Yale or abroad. 

Course Objectives

The Model UN course is designed to acquaint students with the operations of the United Nations through the study of political positions of member nations. Additionally, students should achieve a level of understanding in the use of simulation activities as a means for teaching and learning about the political perspectives of different nationalities on contemporary world issues. Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Articulate the foreign policy of the selected country
  2. Define the structures and general procedures of the United Nations
  3. Describe important historical issues affecting the UN and evaluate the organization’s effectiveness
  4. Analyze an issue currently before the United Nations from the selected member nation’s perspective
  5. Understand and competently use the rules of procedure, diplomatic protocol, and negotiating techniques common to UN delegates
  6. Explain the rationale, format, and instructional methods of the Model United Nations simulation.

For those students who are interested in participation in either Model Diplomacy (Fall 2015) or Model UN (Spring 2016) or both, please contact Dr. Tahir Shad (tshad2@washcoll.edu).