For Parents / Guardians

To the parents and guardians of our delegates,

Thank you for your support of your son or daughter as they take on the role of the Russian delegate in the Security Council, portray the Sudanese delegate in the General Assembly, represent the views of Argentina on the Economic and Social Council, or any of the other options available to them at our conference. Your support and encouragement of a delegate's participation in Northwest Model United Nations - High School (NWMUN-HS) is appreciated and valued. This page aims to give you more information about the conference and about your role as a delegate's parent or guardian. We have distributed this link to the attending students so that they may share it with you. If you have any other questions, please email the head of our conference-specific staff, known as the Secretary-General, at sg.hs@nwmun.org.

What is Model United Nations?

Model United Nations is a simulation of the workings of the United Nations. If you are familiar with Mock Trial, in which a courtroom is simulated (with one student as a prosecutor, another as a defense attorney, another as a judge, and so on), it is very similar - except, of course, that instead of a courtroom, we're simulating the UN Security Council, or the General Assembly, or another decision-making forum. Simulations held over one or more days, known as conferences (of which NWMUN-HS is one) ask students to take on one of these delegate roles. Prior to the conference, delegates work by themselves or with their classmates to research their country, research the decision-making committee they will be assigned to and the topics it will be discussing, and work on developing some of the skills they'll be using at the conference. During the conference, delegates work with students from all attending schools to write policy documents, known as resolutions, give public speeches, negotiate in small and large groups, and use parliamentary procedure to advance the debate. For more information on Model United Nations, we suggest MUNInfo, a comprehensive guide to Model United Nations maintained by our parent nonprofit, the Northwest Association for Global Affairs.

Why is it beneficial for high school students to participate in Model United Nations?

Model United Nations helps develop skills, acquire knowledge, cultivate leadership, expand networks, and build resumes. Skills developed through participation include research, writing, editing, and public speaking. In an increasingly interconnected world, the knowledge students gain through participation about pressing world issues, international forums that discuss those issues, and relationships between countries and other international actors (including NGOs like Mercy Corps and the Gates Foundation, IGOs like the UN or European Union, and key agreements like the Kyoto Protocol), is useful for students' academic and professional futures. Being involved helps develop leadership, as students work with each other to develop shared action documents like resolutions, and take on leadership roles in their clubs as they work towards participation in our conference. Getting to know fellow students is useful too, as they may be future collaborators, people who introduce you to others, or even connections for future jobs. MUN participation itself is a credential that helps with college applications and resumes.

Perhaps most importantly, though, MUN is a lot of fun. The experience itself is enjoyable, and through it students meet a lot of people, many of whom become long-term friends.

How secure / safe is the conference meeting space during the day?

The city of Portland is very safe, and the conference is held on a semi-private meeting floor of a major hotel with its own security. We have multiple staff members present at all times to ensure all areas participants may be are staffed by our conference. "Semi-private", in this context, means that the foyer areas are open to the public, and the meeting rooms themselves are for the use of our event only. As a result, we are confident that the conference is being held in a secure location.

We do note that the ultimate responsibility for each group's participant safety during the day is the faculty adviser of the school's group, and we encourage parents and guardians to direct more specific questions related to safety and security to the faculty adviser from your son or daughter's school.

How secure / safe are the conference's hotel and hotel rooms for overnight stays?

Unless you're from the Portland area, your son or daughter will stay with their group and their faculty adviser at the Conference Hotel or another hotel nearby. All hotel logistics are handled by each school's team and their Faculty Adviser; for more information on where they will be staying, please contact the Faculty Adviser directly. The ultimate responsibility for student safety during overnight stays (outside of conference hours) is the responsibility of faculty advisers, and we are not responsible for students choosing to leave their hotel rooms or be out without their teachers as chaperones.

However, we can say this: Safety is paramount in choosing locations for our events. The Portland area is very safe, and the area surrounding the hotel has low crime rates. We trust that the hotel has put in place reasonable security measures, and we are confident that - although safety is the responsibility of the school and faculty chaperones - that your student will have a safe as well as educational and enjoyable experience while attending NWMUN-HS.

Who is responsible for this conference and how is it structured?

We understand the importance of knowing who is responsible for events your son or daughter is taking part in, and are happy to provide information related to our involvement. We will stress again that much of the responsibility for participation in our event is borne by the school and team that a participant is part of, so your first contact point should be your son or daughter's faculty adviser, who serves as that school's chaperone.

The conference, referred to here as NWMUN-HS, is one of a series of conferences under the NWMUN name. The others are all for collegiate participation, and are known as Northwest Model United Nations - Seattle (NWMUN-S) and Northwest Model United Nations - Portland (NWMUN-P). They are held in November and February, respectively. All three conferences are projects of the Northwest Association for Global Affairs, a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Washington and with pending registration federally under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Our nonprofit has staff members who work on an ongoing basis to provide logistical, financial and administrative support for our programs, but most of the work is done by volunteer staff members, who are hired for each year's conference on an annual basis. The head of the staff is known as the Secretary-General, and can be reached at sg.hs@nwmun.org. Staff members are trained extensively prior to the conference and are prepared to ensure a high-quality educational experience, as well as safety and security.

As a parent or guardian, what should I be doing prior to the conference?

The most important thing you can do prior to the conference as a parent or guardian is be supportive and help with the logistics of taking part in Model United Nations. MUN participants usually have to stay after school once or twice a week to take part in club meetings, for example, or might have an occasional evening or weekend practice simulation. Participants in more well-established teams will also usually participate in more than one conference per year, so they may have a weekend fully devoted to MUN in addition to coming to NWMUN-HS in May. As a parent or guardian, helping your student with research is okay - you can also help them practice giving a speech, or help find them resources on a topic they will be discussing or a country they will be representing, or anything else they need. The one thing we ask parents or guardians not to do is assist in the writing of speeches or position papers - you are welcome to assist in research, but the final output should be the student's work alone.

As a parent or guardian, what role can I play during the conference?

A parent or guardian's primary role during the conference is an observer. One of the best things about participating in Model United Nations is getting to grow and develop. Although it is a simulation, having the opportunity to research and develop your own thoughts, and then speak them in a convincing and persuasive way, is an empowering experience, and we want to place as few limitations on that empowerment as possible. That's why we ask parents and guardians, as well as advisers, to limit their direct involvement in the activity to watching, and our staff acts solely as facilitators of the debate. We do understand that sometimes students need something from their parents or guardians, and so we place no limits on your ability to provide those needs, whether they're moral support, required items (such as medicines), or anything else. We just ask that this all be done in the foyer area, outside the conference room where the event happens. If you'd like to stay and observe, you can - but please let your son or daughter's faculty adviser know so they can request an observer badge for you (a badge is required for entry to the conference room).