What does the Upper Mohawk Valley United Nations Association do?

Global Goals - Leaders in the Upper Mohawk Valley

Great Decisions Speaker Series

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book or watching the DVD and then meeting in a discussion group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today.
Each year, eight topics are chosen by a panel of experts. For example, in 2016 we tackled critical issues from nuclear security to trade to the future of Europe.
The first "Great Decisions" group was launched in Portland, Oregon in 1954 by Foreign Policy Association's (FPA) Vice President Roger Mastrude. Based on the so-called "Avon" model of face-to-face, active and informal conversation, participants would read a fact sheet on each of the eight topics before meetings, where they aired their respective views and opinions.  FPA would tally up opinion ballots and report the results to the Department of State. The program gained media attention, was picked up by local schools, and soon gained national attention. 
The grassroots, face-to-face model adopted by Great Decisions more than 50 years ago continues today, with tens of thousands of participants taking part in discussions nationwide annually.


UN Day

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

Each year on or around October 24, the Upper Mohawk Valley chapter of the UNA-USA organizes a day of education and appreciation for the ideals, actions, and initiatives of the United Nations. Local colleges and universities traditionally host UN Day. Hamilton College, Colgate University, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Utica College have all opened their doors for students of our region to recognize the founding of the United Nations and broaden their understanding of current global affairs. The day is attended by hundreds of students from a number of high schools throughout our region. 


Model United Nations Program

What is Model United Nations?

Bridging the Education Gap and Creating Global Citizens

Model United Nations (MUN) is an authentic simulation of the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, or other multilateral body, which introduces students to the world of diplomacy, negotiation, and decision making. 

At Model UN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The students, better known as “delegates”, debate current issues on the organization’s vast agenda. They prepare draft resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the UN’s rules of procedure – all in the interest of resolving problems that affect the world.

Before playing out their ambassadorial roles in Model UN, students research the particular global problem to be addressed. The problems are drawn from today’s headlines. Model UN delegates learn how the international community acts on its concerns about peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and hunger, economic development, and globalization. See more at UNAUSA.org

The Upper Mohawk Valley Model United Nation Conference

Simulating Diplomatic Negotiations to Support Global Action

Since its inception in 1973, Upper Mohawk Valley Model United Nations (UMVMUN) conference has been held to simulate the spirited diplomacy practiced in the United Nations and to provide future generations of leaders a chance to develop their skills and talents through public speaking, writing, and negotiation in an environment conducive to the diplomatic practices found within statesmanship. The Upper Mohawk Valley chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNAUSA) has sponsored this conference for most of its existence. 


UMVMUN was first held at Utica College and continued to be held there through 1998. Since then, the conference has been held at the liberal arts schools of Hamilton College (1999-2006, 2009, and 2011) and Colgate University (2007-2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013). After the retirement of long-time advisers Ms. Sherry Wright and Mr. John Slater following the 2013 conference, a coalition of Model UN school-club advisers took over the program, including Mr. Greg Smith and Mr. Frank Robertello. These advisers have created a student-centered conference development experience that emphasizes the growth of leadership abilities among the student-Conference Leaders that prepare the conference each year. MUN delegates from the Mohawk Valley and beyond work diligently for the six+ months preceding the conference to protect and enhance the prestigious reputation that the UMVMUN conference has established and grown over the years. Since 2014, our Model UN conference has been hosted by SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

On conference day, UMVMUN typically attracts upwards of 250 delegates from across the Central New York and Upper Mohawk Valley regions to participate in our simulation of the United Nations. Students come prepared to participate in lively and rigorous debate within the simulations of several United Nations committees, historical crisis committees, and/or summits. 

Our student-led Conference Leaders work diligently from the beginning of June through December to ensure that all participants are organized and confident in their roles on conference day. Our conference leaders recognize, however, without the research, dedication, hard work, and commitment of the delegates who attend our conference, our efforts would be fruitless. Thank you to everyone who works to make UMVMUN a success each and every year!