Model United Nations: not just for international studies students!

There’s more to using your scientific prowess than just research!

We have a chat to our very own science student and Model United Nations (MUN) enthusiast, Geena, about what it means to participate in a competition like MUN.  

  • Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Geena Zimbler, I study science and law at Monash. In science I major in physiology and minor in zoology and pharmacology.


  • What is Model United Nations (MUN) and what does it involve?

A MUN is essentially a competition of advocacy, public speaking, negotiation and teamwork. Each delegate enters a committee to discuss a certain topic on behalf of their assigned country. Through a series of regulated and unregulated speeches and collaboration times, the delegates seek to work together to come up with a draft resolution and eventually a working paper to create regulations and rules to resolve the topic at hand. Each delegate will push the agenda of their country but ultimately it is a collaborative effort and a lot of compromise is made.


  • You went to the Harvard World MUN conference in Italy earlier this year, could you tell us a little bit about your experience?

The experience was really once in a life time. I would break the whole MUN down into two parts. The first would be the academic part. This MUN was very different from anything I had done before because it was huge, comprised of a total of 18 delegates from Monash alone, and thousands from around the world. I entered the World Health Organization committee with my partner and in our committee alone were about 260 other delegates debating about epidemic crises and waterborne diseases. This made the academic side extremely challenging because we were faced with many talented speakers and negotiators so we really had to fight for our place to give input in each of the debates and writing, which was very challenging and enjoyable. The second part is the networking and social part of the competition. This allowed us to mingle with like-minded individuals from all over the world, tour Rome, and even view a personal address from the pope which I never would have dreamed of experiencing during a competition.


  • What made you want to get involved with MUN?

I am very interested in public speaking and have always enjoyed negotiation so I was inclined towards MUNs to begin with. However, what really got my attention was the ability to debate and discuss topics very interesting to me in relevant committees, which allowed me to combine my research and advocacy skills from both science and law.


  • What is your favourite thing about MUN? What’s your least favourite?

My favourite thing about World MUN was the ability to compete overseas with people who I became very good friends with and see the beauty and possibilities out there. My least favourite was probably the organization, unfortunately in catering for so many people, there were often shortcomings in transport and accommodating competition spaces.


  • What would you say to fellow students about getting involved with MUN?

Definitely go for it! Start with a smaller MUN which are very much not intimidating at all, become a part of the community and find a topic that you are passionate about, because it is so important to find something you can really give your all, and unfortunately that’s rarely done purely in the university grounds. Monash has so much to offer with competitions and opportunities like these so definitely take it if you can.


That’s it folks! You heard her – if you’re interested in getting involved, there’s no need to let being anything other than an international studies student scare you away.

Image: supplied by Geena Zimbler.

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