The Iowa High School Model United Nations program was created to host conferences that model the operations of the United Nations to help educate students on the workings of the organization and to inspire students, our future leaders, to take an active role in the shaping of their world. The first Iowa High School Model United Nations conference occurred in the spring of 1966 and was held in the old Men's Gymnasium, now "West Gym" on the University of Northern Iowa campus. The first year, 350 high school students from across the state of Iowa were in attendance, forming 60 delegations from 35 high schools.

By 1970, over 1000 students were attending the IHSMUN spring conference each year including students from other states across the Midwest. Students came (as they still do) to discuss current issues of international politics, human rights, health, social, and environmental issues. While at UNI, student heard speeches and presentations by members of the international community, diplomats, politicians, and professors. In addition to participating in debate with their fellow students and role playing different member nations of the United Nations, students were also treated to a grand banquet and festival.  


Conferences have now moved to beautiful Maucker Union Ballroom and meeting rooms in the Maucker Union complex.  The format of the conferences have changed slightly over the years, but always include the following:

  • Active debate on issues of international importance chosen by the IHSMUN Secretariat
  • Collaborative committee work 
  • Committee Presentations to the General Assembly
  • Keynote presentations by experts on international policy and foreign affairs as well as 
    professors and other representatives from the University of Northern Iowa
  • Themed Festival with a delegate dance, food, and other entertainments
In addition to having lots of fun and creating lifelong friendships with other students from around the Midwest, students in IHSMUN have the opportunity to learn many valuable skills at conference. Conferences presented by the IHSMUN are excellent educational opportunities for high school students. The skills gained and experiences had at conference influence students for the rest of their lives. In preparation for conferences, students learn valuable research and writing skills in preparing a position paper that details another country's perspective and past actions taken on various international issues. In taking on the views and opinions of another country and accurately portraying that country in debate and committee work at conference, students are able to realize their own cultural biases. Students are able to learn to think critically while gaining a larger international perspective.  

While attending conference, students learn valuable debate and public speaking skills. Students form well informed viewpoints and defend their arguments and opinions in committees of their peers. They learn about the inner workings of the United Nations through using the political process and modified procedure of the United Nations to draft resolutions. Students have the opportunity to win awards for their outstanding work both in preparation in writing their position papers and also through their outstanding performance as delegates at conference. 
Subpages (1): Conferences