Meet Fasih Rehman, President of Model UN at the University of Essex and learn more about the Model UN, how he became involved, and the secrets to Essex's success after the team came second in this year's Manchester Model UN. Known as MANMUN to Model UN enthusiasts, Manchester Model UN is one of the biggest conferences of its kind in the UK and attracts students from across the country.

What is the Model United Nations?

The Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN for short, is an intense debate and diplomacy-orientated academic simulation where participants become delegates of various countries so they can debate problems in international relations, law, politics or others. The representatives are divided into committees, which are representative of the same committees of the actual United Nations, for example, IAEA, UNSC, SOCHUM, ECOSOC, UN WOMEN, and others.

How did you become interested in the Model UN?

Finding an interest in Model UN came to me at a very young age. The idea of becoming a better debater and public speaker gave me the ambition to pursue becoming a professional Model UN debater. This, coupled with the fundamental purposes of the UN and the belief that the international legal system can be understood, broken down, and improved upon, is a beautiful aspect of Model UN debating, which attracted me personally.

I have been participating in Model UN debates for over seven years now; it is a valuable avenue for networking, public speaking, debate, elocution, learning time management, learning how to perform in fast-paced environments, learning formal writing, resolution writing, lateral thinking, logical solutions and much more.

What was it like representing the Essex, and what did you take from the experience?

Representing Essex was an extremely positive experience; it was very rewarding to go to Manchester Model UN as a society and representing a university you believe in.

Even though we were the underdogs, when compared to universities like Kings College London, Queen Mary, University of York, Leeds, Warwick, Sheffield, Exeter, Bristol, London School of Economics (LSE), and much more, we still stood our ground. We were not deterred or less confident compared to them. We were the most knowledgeable delegation, with three of our delegates winning the highest awards in their respective committee.

Overall we came second, with LSE first, with the event consisting of seven committees with approximately 20 participants in each committee.

How did the event work?

Model UN Group photograph

Manchester Model UN was a three-day event held at the University of Manchester and was organised by the Model UN society at Manchester, the Secretary-General of Mannum, and the University of Manchester's Government and Law departments.

The event starts with the opening ceremony, where we experience the organised speaker’s panel, dances, musical and magical performances, and much more.

The first day had two debating sessions, each lasting two hours, and then we had a social event with all other university delegates.

The second day started much earlier because the opening ceremony didn't take up much of the day; due to this, we had many more sessions to discuss our topics. We had a larger society with an open bar, with champagne and red wine for our delegation provided by MINIMUM.

The third day was resolution and lobbying day, where you you have to lobby and make sure your resolution to the problems passes. For this, you must become a leader on your answer, argue it and present it whilst other delegates debate against your key point or present their own.

The third day ends with the closing ceremony where the awards are distributed, and some more performances are made. Usually, speakers from the UN may give speeches here.

What's next for Essex Model UN? 

Essex's Model UN will be at LIMUN 2023, held by Kings College, London, LSE, and other Russell Group universities. As President, I'll be there with another Model UN enthusiast at Essex Dominico Riviera will go to LIMUN 2023, the largest in-person debating conference in Europe. The forum will have 900 participants that come from all over the planet.