As an initiative of the United Nations Association in Canada, the Canadian International Model United Nations (CANIMUN) sets itself apart from other conferences on the Model UN circuit by its ambition to be the most realistic simulation of United Nations activities. The format and process of CANIMUN’s committees are designed to resemble the actual United Nations as closely as possible, offering an educational forum for young scholars to engage in current international issues and challenges, and to develop the skills, tools and knowledge required to become future leaders. Open to university, college and CEGEP students, CANIMUN offers delegates the opportunity to engage in multilateral negotiation, consensus-building, diplomacy and debate, all while having fun and networking in the Nation’s capital!
The emphasis on diplomacy and consensus-building, as well as the realism of the simulation, is made most apparent to CANIMUN delegates by our committee format. While those familiar with other Model UN conferences in Canada may be used to having guided discussion through moderated caucus, CANIMUN committees have no moderated caucus mechanism, mirroring the format of the committees and bodies of the United Nations. This presents a unique challenge for many delegates, as it places greater stress on one’s own diplomatic skills, ability to deliberate and effective policy-making. It does, however, provide delegates with increased control of their own discussions, and prioritises the cooperation of delegates in brainstorming and the formation of committee resolutions. While delegates may not have the months and years that professional diplomats have to resolve issues that arise in the process of international relations, we uphold the ambition to give each CANIMUN delegate a taste of the challenge that diplomats face every day at the United Nations.
In addition, all of CANIMUN’s committees, with the exception of the International Press Forum, are based upon actual United Nations committees and commissions, as well a General Assembly of our own. Delegates will come away from the experience with a better understanding of international issues, diplomacy and policy-making, as well as a more profound familiarity with the United Nations system and its myriad branches and associated organisations.
Delegates are advised to review the rules of procedure prior to the conference, as they may differ from other MUN conferences.
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In September 2000, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) provided support for the United Nations Association in Canada’s new Model United Nations Programme. In early 2002, the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) began to contemplate the possibility of holding an international Model UN Conference in Canada for Canadian and international university students. Given the impressive results of a feasibility study conducted in February 2002, UNA-Canada, in continuing partnership with DFAIT, announced on August 22nd, 2002, the launch of the first Canadian International Model United Nations (CANIMUN) Conference, held from 12-15 March 2003, in the city of Ottawa.
CANIMUN 2003 involved more than 800 participants and volunteer staff members from every province in Canada and more than 15 countries around the world and was a tremendous success. Originally intended as a one-time event, a petition requesting future CANIMUNs was circulated amongst participants of CANIMUN 2003 and was signed by over 800 participants and volunteers. This spoke volumes as to the inherent success and popularity of CANIMUN and subsequently, on 11 July 2003, UNA-Canada was pleased to announce that CANIMUN 2004 would take place from 10-13 March 2004. CANIMUN 2004 was once again a huge success, and the legacy continued through events in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In 2010, CANIMUN left the National Capital Region and headed west to Vancouver, British Columbia, taking place during the 2010 Paralympic Games. In 2012 CANIMUN travelled again, this time to Edmonton, Alberta.
Since 2013, CANIMUN has returned to Ottawa where continues on its journey to establish itself as Canada’s foremost educational forum on the United Nations for undergraduate, college and CEGEP students.