Model UN Refugee Challenge

Worldwide, 79.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence and persecution. We believe that young people have a central role to play in finding ways to help them thrive, not just survive. 

Model United Nations (MUN) conferences taking place in 2021 are invited to join the MUN Refugee Challenge and debate one or more of the following issues: 

  • Refugees and the impact of COVID-19
  • Protecting the rights of refugee women
  • Supporting the social inclusion of refugees
  • Empowering refugees through technology

The resolutions that emerge from these debates will be put before a jury composed of UNHCR members, young refugee leaders and independent experts. Awards will be announced in 2021. The best ideas will be shared with policymakers and be promoted on UNHCR’s social media channels, which are followed by millions of people.

Join the Challenge

Who won the 2020 edition of the Challenge?

More than 20,000 students in 75 countries took part in the 2020 MUN Refugee Challenge. And over 100,000 students learned about forced displacement through their peers and the UNHCR and refugee guest speakers who spoke at their MUN. 

We are currently reviewing the resolutions that have been submitted. The winners will be announced at the start of 2021.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can register for the MUN Refugee Challenge?

Any MUN organized in 2021 can take up the Challenge. The competition is open to MUNs taking place online and in-person at university, high-school and primary school level. MUN organizers are responsible for registering their group’s participation in the Challenge. Students taking part in MUNs as “delegates” cannot directly register themselves but can encourage their conference to take part in the Challenge. 

What are the conditions for joining the Challenge?

  1. Register your MUN’s participation
  2. Set up a committee to debate one or more of the Challenge’s topics.
  3. Ensure a minimum of 25 delegates are on your committee.
  4. Give one student the role of UNHCR delegate.
  5. Share the Challenge’s background material with delegates.
  6. Invite a UNHCR guest speaker. More info
  7. Tell others about the Challenge! More info
  8. Once your MUN conference is over, share your resolutions and tell us how things went.

What committee should I set up to debate the Challenge’s topics?

You can either set up a UNHCR committee or debate the Challenge’s topics under other relevant committees, such as the General Assembly, ECOSOC or the Security Council.

What are the deadlines for registration?

MUN organizers should register for the Challenge at least 6 weeks before the start of their MUN conference.

Can I register for the Challenge even though my MUN’s topics have already been identified? 

Yes. If your current topics align well with the Challenge’s themes, you can register for the Challenge. For example, if you are due to debate the response to COVID-19, you can register this debate under the Challenge’s first topic. However, you must ensure that part of your debate touches on the impact of COVID-19 on refugees, and only submit your most relevant resolutions to the Challenge for the jury’s consideration.

Can I invite a UNHCR guest speaker to introduce my MUN?

Yes. You are encouraged to invite a UNHCR guest speaker and we can help link you up to local UNHCR offices. However, we cannot guarantee the availability of our colleagues. Please contact [email protected] for more information, mentioning details about the time, date and platform that you would like the guest speaker to address, for easier facilitation.

Can I promote my MUN’s participation in the Challenge?

Absolutely! Indeed, you are strongly encouraged to do so. Here are a few ways of going about it: 

  • Talk about the Challenge on your website and social media platforms. Use the hashtag: #MUNRefugeeChallenge. Follow and tag UNHCR’s social media platforms: @Refugees on Instagram, Twitter; @UNHCR on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Download and share the Challenge’s promotional video and images on your platforms."
  • Create your own content about the Challenge before and during your MUN conference (e.g. videos, photos and text). The best social videos created about the MUN Refugee Challenge will also win awards.
  • Reach out to local media outlets. Tell them about your participation in the Challenge and ask if they are interested in running a story about it. 
  • Use the Challenge’s official logo in your communications. Please do not use UNHCR’s official logo. Here you can download the the Challenge’s logo.

For any further questions about the MUN Refugee Challenge, please contact [email protected].