MMUN is an acronym for the Montessori Model United Nations Conference. The MMUN Conference is held every year and is international. Montessori students come from all over the world for the opportunity to simulate the role of an ambassador, representing an assigned member state (not their own!) on a topic currently in front of the United Nations.
A hallmark of the Upper Elementary (4th-6th grades) experience at The Glen, the MMUN Conference is the culmination of a year-long research project focusing on an assigned United Nations Member State(s). Each student researches and prepares to take on an ambassador’s role and represent their country to resolve problems between countries and cultures. Specific topics for research are taken directly from the United Nations Agenda, identified by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This research is completed with attendance at the MMUN Conference, traditionally in New York City at the United Nations. Students can debate their topics, as an ambassador would, with students from around the world representing other countries. Through this year-long experience, students become deeply engaged in critical and contemporary world issues while developing reading, research, critical thinking, writing, oral presentation skills, and much more.
A special thanks to Upper Elementary Students Mira and Andrew for supplying the information for this post!
Elected by their peers, a record 5 Glen Montessori Students spoke at the Closing Ceremonies of the Montessori Model United Nations Conference (MMUN) at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. This was a tremendous honor for these three 6th-graders, one 5th-grader, and one 4th-grader, to be selected from among 1,500 students from 12 countries and 80 schools. Each speech represented hours of research, writing, negotiations with fellow diplomats, and compromise.
This year our 22 Glen Upper Elementary students researched Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, El Salvador, Nepal, and Turkey. They presented opinion papers on empowering rural women, space as a driver for sustainable development, the impact of the Ukrainia-Soviet conflict on global food security, and adequate housing. Each student represented the interests of the country they were representing, sometimes having to vote in direct opposition to their own personal beliefs/values on behalf of their country.
Students also had a behind-the-scenes tour of the United Nations Headquarters, visited the Museum of Modern Art, the Math Museum, Chinatown, saw a Broadway Show, and more.
The Glen’s Upper Elementary students were able to attend the MMUN Conference in New York City! Students represented the interests of the United Nations Member States of Denmark, Greece, Norway, and Malta. They prepared and discussed a subset of topics from the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including youth mental health, access to education for women and girls, and xenophobia. Working with similar-ages of Montessori students from all over the world, the students navigate through committees to create a series of resolutions, which are presented to the entire conference (hundreds of students, plus educators, and parents in attendance!) on the closing day. This year, 5th grader Seoni was selected by her delegation to present these resolutions on Youth Mental Health – quite an honor for our school, and her partner Nikolai! Read more about her experience here.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The MMUN conference remained remote for a second year with a renewal of the same countries and issues covered in 2020. Due to this repetition, The Glen’s Upper Elementary students took on a new challenge related to equity and inclusion: leading The Glen in efforts to become designated as a No Place for Hate school with the Anti-Defamation League. Look for a summary of their activities here.
The Glen’s Upper Elementary students decided to attend the Chicago conference this year for a new experience. Unfortunately, due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, students could not attend in person but had the real-world experience of attending an international conference remotely. Students represented Iran, Iraq, China, and Cyprus and expressed their assigned country’s interest in overfishing, deforestation, and women’s rights.
Glen students researched Egypt, Greece, Palau, and Sudan and presented opinion papers on food scarcity, fair trade, elimination of racism, and xenophobia. The image at the top of the page is one of our 4th graders, presenting her committee’s resolution while representing on the stage of the United Nations General Assembly Hall during the MMUN closing ceremonies in New York City.