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The first international student MUN debate?
Some forms of student meetings dedicated to discussion of international relations of the day known as "International Assembly" were introduced at the same university on 10 January 1923 (The Harvard Crimson, 1923), and it can be said the tradition of more or less structured and organized MUN (League of Nations) student discussions starts then. The topics discussed that evening, with the student representatives of 15 different nationalities were "The status of the island of Rhodes" and "The international traffic in opium." An hour of debating time was allocated per topic by the Secretariat (The Harvard Crimson, 1923).
In a letter from Frank B. Baird, Jr (the secretary) the following is said about the International Assembly:
"It was modeled after the League of Nations, various students being selected to represent the different countries. It held debates on current events. One debate was either on the Reparations Problem or the Occupation of Ruhr, with the French and German Delefates participating. The German delegate was a graduate student at the university and also an instructor in German. The public was invited to these debates. "
It was several years after the UN was founded that the first student simulations and conferences started to appear. The first Model UN conference in this sense was organized in 1949 at St. Lawrence University, with the addition of MUNs at Berkeley (1952) and Harvard (1953) [seeWikipedia].
In the academic publications, the MUNs are researched mostly as educational method and practice, and there can be found various references on the subject [see, for example,Obendorf and Randerson 2013].
Exploration of the concept, practices, and history of Model UN can be a subject of further initiatives and contributions from researchers and MUN community in an effort that first requires mapping out, and then reflecting on the "archaeology" and "archives" of MUN 'discourse', to paraphrase Foucault.
Are you familiar with the contexts and histories of Model UN in general, or any particular conference? You can join the discussion and contribute to this research effort: Exploring Histories of Model United Nations [Discussion thread]
*** quoted in a document from a written correspondence with Harvard University Archives [accessed 10 January 2014]
TO BE CONTINUED
"Zanetti Mural Created Under A Grant From The Guggenheim Foundation. This mural, depicting "Mankind's Struggle for Lasting Peace", was created by Jose Vela-Zanetti of the Dominican Republic under a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The mural begins at the left with the destruction of the family and ends at the right with its resurrection and a bright eyed child looking toward a generation of peace.Detail of the center panel, in which a giant, four-armed figure implants the emblem of the United Nations. 1/Aug/1985. UN Photo/Lois Conner" (via Flickr)