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UK Mission to the United Nations

New York

London 09:04, 18 Oct 2012
New York 04:04, 18 Oct 2012
Last updated at 18:17 (UK time) 1 Aug 2011

Introducing Model UN

Students visit the Mission.

Students from St Timothy's School visit the Mission

Welcome to the Model UN section of the United Kingdom Mission's website. In this section students, parents and teachers will find useful information about the Model UN programme, as well as links to a range of information about the United Nations and the work of the UK Mission - including some of the key issues we are dealing with today. If you would like further information about any of these issues, please feel free to contact us.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Model UN? 

Model UN is a simulation of a United Nations negotiation, in which school and university students assume the roles of international diplomats. Model UN provides a fantastic forum in which you can hone and develop a range of skills and techniques in diplomacy, public speaking and debating. It offers an opportunity to research and prepare papers on some of the most pressing international issues of the day, and to develop policies of your own, while considering how real countries are carrying out their international commitments - and possibly defending their views, even if you do not agree with them yourself. Model UN also provides an exciting opportunity to build confidence and network with others. Model UN programmes are available around the world.  

Can students have a briefing at the UK Mission? 

Yes. We try to accommodate all requests from school and university groups. Our briefings last for approximately an hour. Our hope is to offer student groups a firsthand insight into the work we carry out at the Mission and for our officers to answer your questions, to prepare you better for your own Model UN activities. Briefings are an interactive event, with students generally coming prepared with insightful and wide-ranging thoughts and ideas. When you leave our briefings, we hope that you will be in a strong position to represent the United Kingdom, or another Member State, in your UN simulation. If you are interested in having a briefing, please ask your teacher to email School Briefings

Who works at the UK Mission?

The UK Mission is led by the British Ambassador to the UN, HE Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who is known as the Permanent Representative, and by his deputy, HE Philip Parham, who is also an Ambassador. The Mission is staffed by around 80 officers from a number of British government departments (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, and Ministry of Defence), who together represent the views and interests of the UK at the United Nations. Our work contributes to many of the foreign policy objectives of the British government.  

How is the Mission structured? 

Officers are divided into sections, which deal with the myriad issues on the UN's diverse agenda. The sections are: political; sustainable development and human rights; military; management reform and finance; legal; and press and public affairs. The sections work closely together, particularly on cross-cutting issues, though in broad terms the political and military sections deal with peace and security matters, the sustainable development and human rights section addresses matters related to development, the environment and human rights, management reform and finance officers work on UN management and finance affairs, legal section addresses international law, and the press team deals with media enquiries, including questions pertaining to statements made by the Ambassadors or statements by UK ministers.  

What is the typical day for a British diplomat? 

This question is often asked of us, and the truth is there is no typical day. Officers at the Mission spend their time engaged in a range of activities, which ebb and flow according to the UN calendar, events on the international scene, or the status of a particular negotiation. Different officers also spend different proportions of their time on the Mission's collective activities depending on their particular portfolios and responsibilities. In general terms, however, our diplomats spend their days contributing to policy discussions with British government departments in London, engaging in negotiations in the UN's range of organs, committees, working groups and other bodies, preparing briefing papers for meetings, lobbying other Member States and interested parties, and carrying out important outreach with students, non-governmental organisations and the media.  

How can I get a job with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office? 

If you have an interest in joining the Foreign Office, we would recommend that you visit the FCO recruitment website to see the different paths that are available to begin your career with the Foreign Office. You could also visit the main FCO website to get a better idea of what we do, and to find information about specialist appointments and vacancies. You will also find application forms.  

Can I do an internship at the UK Mission? 

Unfortunately we are unable to offer internships or work experience at the moment, owing to the fast moving nature of our work. Graduate university students can apply for internships at the UN. For more information, please visit the website of the UN Internship Programme.  

Can the UK Mission organise tours of the UN for our group? 

Unfortunately we are unable to organise tours of the UN, as new UN policy requires groups to provide credit card information in order to make a booking. For more information, please visit UN Tours.