For Advisers

Please note that all information related to COVID-19 is at our specific page on Health and Safety.

To the faculty advisers of high school Model United Nations delegates,

Thank you for supporting your students as they enter into one of the most rewarding experiences they will have in their high school careers. Participation in Northwest Model United Nations - High School (NWMUN-HS) will help your students in direct ways, like helping them prepare for job interviews or college applications. It will help them acquire knowledge about the world and important issues facing the international community. It will help them develop skills like writing, research, and public speaking. Finally, participation in Model United Nations will help your students become leaders. This page aims to give you more information about the conference and about your role as an adviser. If you have any other questions, please email our Secretary-General, at

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.

Why should I bring my students to NWMUN-High School specifically?

Our parent organization, the Northwest Association for Global Affairs, has facilitated our flagship conference, Northwest Model United Nations - Seattle, since 2007, and another college conference, Northwest Model United Nations - Portland, since 2014. We are a very experienced organization, and our individual staff members often staff at other high school and college conferences to gain experience in different styles of Model United Nations as well. (We have a close working partnership with Washington State Model United Nations and Viking Model United Nations, with many overlapping staff members, for example.) Our grounding in collegiate Model United Nations allows us to approach this conference in a way that seeks to challenge high school delegates and make them ready for college-level Model United Nations, instead of modifying the activity or watering it down just because our participants are a little younger here than at our college conferences.

NWMUN-High School is a smaller conference, where delegates are all together in a single committee this year, and can develop their skills as they watch and work with the more experienced delegates in the room. We work to choose challenging topics with real-world discussions for our participants to learn from, including Greening With Jobs and Protecting and Ensuring the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, that represent specific facets of two of the most important issues in the world today: climate change and human rights.

Simply put, we want to run a conference that treats high school students like young adults capable to discuss the most pressing issues in the world today, and our organization is uniquely able to deliver on it given our experience in the region's college Model United Nations programs. We are going to bring the world to high school students so they can take it by storm when school ends.

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 you as an adviser to work with your school administration on any necessary steps to ensure student safety and security.

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

Unless you're from the Portland area, your delegation will need to find accommodations at the Conference Hotel or another nearby hotel.  All hotel logistics are the responsibility of the adviser and school administration. 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 students will have a safe as well as educational and enjoyable experience while attending NWMUN-HS.

What responsibilities do advisers hold, as compared to the conference, with relation to student safety and security?

All responsibility for student safety and security is the responsibility of faculty advisers. In our registration form, faculty advisers must affirm the following: "I am authorized by the school/district listed above to be in a position responsible for student safety, and agree that the school/district and I are solely responsible for student safety during their participation at NWMUN-HS." Please contact your school or district administration if you need more information on your responsibilities in this regard.

As an adviser, what should I be doing prior to the conference to prepare my students?

The most important thing you can do to prepare your students, prior to the conference, as an adviser is to be supportive of them as they prepare, and help guide that preparation. Model United Nations teams usually meet once or twice a week, usually after school, to help prepare for conferences. They may also have evening or weekend practice simulations. Your role includes (but is not limited to) facilitating the logistics for these meetings (scheduling, room reservations, etc.), ensuring teams are able to register for NWMUN-HS, and ensuring the countries are assigned out to individual students once received from the conference.

You can also help with research, and you can also help students 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 advisers 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. (Advisers often provide light pre-conference editing assistance to position papers specifically, which is permitted.)

As an adviser, what role can I play during the conference?

An adviser's primary role during the conference is an observer, taking (written or mental) notes on each student's performance and progress for later support and development. 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 advisers, as well as parents and guardians, 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 advisers, 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. We encourage observation of in-committee activity as well! We just ask that you sit in the reserved adviser seating at the back of the room and wear your adviser badge (a badge is required for entry to the conference room).