Model United Nations (MUN) and the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA)
The standards have grown for what leading universities now consider to be a “model student,” and if you are looking to match up with the competition and have a penchant for public speaking and debate then apply to join the Model United Nations or the National Speech and Debate Association. Amplify your skills in diplomacy, negotiation, critical thinking, compromise, public speaking, writing, and research and be nationally recognized by the UN in conferences conducted at the UN Headquarters.
The Model United Nations started in 1927 before the UN even existed. At that time, the program was known as the Model Assembly of the League of Nations, and keynote speakers such as Eleanor Roosevelt and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan amplified the presence of the program. It eventually grew to its current popularity with over 5,000 students attending conferences each year. Conferences are typically staffed by UN Secretariat members and faculty from top-universities like Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown.
This year the Model United Nations members are invited to attend the National United Nations conferences held in New York City from the end of March through early April, and throughout November in Washington DC, Japan, and the Czech Republic. During the national conferences, Model United Nations members gain the experience of approaching and negotiating difficult global topics with other UN members who each represent the views of their assigned country or organization.
Model United Nations OR National Speech and Debate Association
You’ll learn how to delegate important and critical issues currently facing the world, such as internet privacy, artificial intelligence, debt sustainability, combating human trafficking, or combating climate change. You’ll collaborate with diverse and socially conscious students who are also seeking to empower themselves with hands-on educational experience. Being a Model United Nations member will help you in your goals of changing the world, but will also allow you to understand the difficult nature of compromise even within a simulated environment.
Perhaps changing the world isn’t necessarily on your agenda, but partaking in a well-researched debate is what intrigues you about the Model United Nations? Then consider joining the National Speech and Debate Association where you can go head-to-head in debates and speeches across the country in pulse-racing competitions with other high school students.
During competitions, you will get to argue either for or against a robust debatable issue in front of a live audience. Categories range from world, policy, congressional, and public forum debate and the current topic for the national policy debate competition is criminal justice reform. Prior topic areas range from debates about whether the US should withdraw from the Afghanistan peace process, if the United States should end its economic sanctions against Venezuela, to subject such as if the United States should replace means-tested welfare programs with a universal basic income. If you are the type of person who would typically be debating these types of subjects with families or friends during a meal, then the National Speech and Debate Association might be the perfect community for you.
However, the National Speech and Debate Association isn’t just about debates, it’s also about giving speeches which will prepare you for college interviews, professional interviews, and any public speaking roles your future career might require. Members compete in competitions that draw on their speech and writing skills to develop commentaries, read dramatic monologues, craft original speeches, and present plays and short stories that are humorous or educational. You can view all competitions and events being held this year by the National Speech and Debate Association, and learn how to do things such as control time limits, or speak more elegantly, from past debate and speech competitors.
Past alumni of the National and Speech Debate Association include high school students like 17-year-old Wolf Cukier, who recently helped scientists discover a planet during an internship he secured with NASA shortly after winning at nationals. There’s also Joanna Bai, another finalist of the debate and speech competition who found the courage to speak up as an advocate for her friend with Down Syndrome by founding a non-profit called special musicians, a music program for kids with disabilities to express themselves through music.
Or Saskia Reford, whose debate team lost two members due to suicide, so she convinced other teams to use money that would normally be given for trophies to support mental health programs in high schools. Even television superstar Jared Padalecki from Smallville and Gilmore Girls was a 1998 Champion of the National Speech and Debate Association Duo Interpretation competition.
No matter where these competitions take you, they will be sure to deepen your interest and curiosity into understanding what position you take on some of the world’s most challenging topics. Plus, competitions like these will make you a better communicator of your future goals when college essay and interview season comes around.
Becoming a member of a nationally recognized and historic speech and debate program isn’t the only way to secure your spot at an Ivy League university like Stanford, Caltech, or UChicago. Secure an appointment to work with a former alumni interviewer for Princeton University, Eric Eng, who is uncontested at making sure your name is remembered by admission counselors.
Founder and CEO of IvyCollegeAdmit Eric Eng were featured in the US News & World Report for his take on “The Early Edge,” which helps students build on extracurricular experience through academic competitions and conferences like the Model United Nations, or the National Speech and Debate Association, and strengthen personal essays, application materials, etc. Secure your right to that acceptance letter with IvyCollegeAdmit and showcase your academic strengths in a way that college admissions committees will notice.