Founded in 1997, the IVC Model United Nations Team competes and wins awards in several conferences each year. The Model United Nations is a world-wide educational enterprise begun more than 60 years ago by American students interested in learning first-hand the processes of international diplomacy. In the United States, more than 60,000 students from sixth grade through graduate school take part in one or more Model United Nations conferences each year.
Role play is an essential element of the Model United Nations experience. The Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations system. Students assume the role of "ambassadors" to the United Nations and debate current issues on the UN's agenda at conferences lasting between one and five days. Through diplomacy and negotiation, Model UN students seek out solutions to complex global concerns such as the environment, economic development, refugees, human health and disease, conflict resolution, and human rights.
Student participants in the Model UN not only learn about specific countries and issues but also about the complexities of politics in a multilateral setting. Students learn the importance of the respect for the rule of law, civil discourse, the peaceful competition of ideas, and consensus- building through governing institutions. Ultimately, participants emerge from the Model UN experience more diplomatic, knowledgeable, conscientious, and concerned. Participants better understand social change through democratic institutions, better appreciate the perspectives of others, and are accountable for their own opinions. The Model UN teaches students the importance of tolerance and the pertinence of resolving differences through dialogue and compromise.