Which Countries Love Model UN the Most? Analysis of the G20 Countries of Best Delegate Fans

by KFC on December 28, 2011

Countries by visits to BestDelegate.com according to Google Analytics

Ryan and I were joking about how we’d simulate a Model G20 committee at a hypothetical Best Delegate championship conference the other day when it reminded me of a project I started last year: what are the top 20 countries where Best Delegate fans come from? Which countries have the most active Model UN communities? And where should Best Delegate travel to next?

We dug into our Google Analytics to answer these questions. Google Analytics helps us track the number of visits we get by country. The number of visits from each country can tell us the size and/or activeness of the Model UN community. More visits either means more people in that country do Model UN, that there are dedicated fans who continually visit, or both. Either way (or both ways), it’s a good thing because countries are developing their future leaders and diplomats through Model UN.

Unfortunately, there are also drawbacks to only using the number of visits from each country. We haven’t actively marketed ourselves in most countries, so we don’t expect to have brand recognition there yet. Also, some countries are prestigious or popular destinations for hosting Model UN conferences but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with the size or activeness of the local Model UN community. For example, Argentina, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, and a variety of other countries didn’t make the top 20 even though they play or have played host to HNMUN Latin America, THIMUN Qatar, last year’s Global MUN, and the various Harvard WorldMUN conferences, respectively.

Nevertheless, it’s one of the best forms of measurement we have. For the 2011 calendar year, we had hundreds of thousands of visits from 182 countries and territories. Below are the top 20 countries in order of most visits to BestDelegate.com based on Google Analytics — we’ll call them the G20 Countries of Best Delegate Fans. All of them have thousands of visits.

We provided descriptions below of what we know from our observations being based in the United States and the minimum number of conferences available based on what’s listed on our Conferences page. American readers should also note that in most (but not all) of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, the THIMUN Foundation based in The Hague serves as the central organization and standardizes all affiliate high school conferences; a central organization does not exist in American Model UN.

The G20 Countries of Best Delegate Fans (2011)

1. United States

The USA accounted for 65.5% of all visits and it makes sense not only because we are based here. The United States is the birthplace of Model UN and still has by far the largest high school circuit with thousands of teams participating in over 150 conferences and the largest university circuit with hundreds of teams participating in over 38 conferences. It also has a growing middle school market. The top five states where our visitors came from are California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Massachusetts. This suggests that those five states have the most developed teams and conferences. California is noticeable for being home to 27 conferences, the highest of any state or country outside the USA.

There are too many distinguished programs to name but we’ll highlight a few universities that have a program (or programs) do it all — they host both a high school conference and a university conference and fielded a ranked travel team in the past calendar year: Boston University, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. Our rankings page features other top travel teams on the university and high school circuits.

Conferences held at the United Nations headquarters in New York include NMUN on the college circuit, NHSMUN and UNA-USA’s GCIMUN on the high school circuit, and Montessori MUN at the middle school level (the Dominican Republic also hosts a conference at the UN, NYDRMUN). Harvard, Yale, U.Penn, and UNA-USA have established conferences abroad. These include the geographically rotating Harvard WorldMUN and UNA-USA’s multi-city Global Classrooms conferences, both of which aim to help other countries develop Model UN in their university and high school communities, respectively.

2. Canada

Model UN in Canada is developed with several university and high school conferences. The high school circuit is somewhat integrated with the United States as some Canadian teams attend American conferences and some American teams attend Canadian conferences, but the integration is much more pronounced at the university level — the United States and Canada basically form a North American circuit. McGill University is the leading Model UN organization in Canada and is another program that does it all (hosts two conferences and fields a ranked travel team) and helps with UNA-USA’s GCIMUN in New York. Model UN is most popular in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. Vancouver plays host to this year’s Harvard WorldMUN conference.

3. Venezuela

Venezuela is home to multiple elite university Model UN teams that can compete with the best in the world at HNMUN. These teams include Universidad de Carabobo, Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Universidad Metropolitana, and Universidad de Simon Bolivar. Those teams’ showing on our International Rankings article went viral in Venezuela, especially after Diego Arria, the former Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted about it. From what we’ve learned from our interactions, winning an international English-language Model UN competition is a huge boost on the resume for many Venezuelan delegates and is also their chance to eventually bring change to their country.

4. India

The Model UN community in India has suddenly exploded and now there’s a scramble to establish more conferences domestically. Our conference database lists eight high school conferences and four university conferences, but we suspect the number is much higher now and will continue to increase in the near future. CHEMUN and DAIMUN are the two THIMUN-affiliated conferences. Indian high school teams have been very successful abroad; the Cathedral and John Connon School and the Amity International School are two of several teams that have won delegation awards at major North American conferences, and Indian high schools such as Dhirubhai Ambani International School and Mercedes Benz International School are also active at the THIMUN Singapore and THIMUN Qatar conferences. Indian university teams are also starting to win awards at conferences abroad. Harvard has established HMUN India in Mumbai and UNA-USA has established Global Classrooms in New Delhi.

5. Pakistan

Pakistan has a growing high school circuit and college circuit. The leading institution seems to be the Lahore University of Management Sciences which has traveled abroad to major conferences, hosted its own conference, and even established a Eurasia conference with the University of Passau in Germany. Model UN participants from several universities also joined efforts to staff a new conference, MUN Pakistan, in the summer.

6. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a developed Model UN community with a solid number of high school and university conferences. This includes the largest university-level conference in Europe, LIMUN. LSE, Warwick, and Oxford also host notable university conferences. Several of the high school conferences such as RRSMUN, BSMUN, and Haileybury MUN are affiliated with THIMUN and many UK teams attend other THIMUN-affiliated conferences abroad as well. UNA-USA has Global Classrooms in London and WorldMUN was previously hosted in London and Edinburgh.

7. Indonesia

Readers from Indonesia tell us that Model UN has only been recently introduced into the country and that there’s heavy demand to learn more about it. Our conferences page lists 2 high school conferences for now, but that’s certain to change in the near future.

8. Germany

Germany is more notable for its developed college circuit which has at least 10 conferences. Germany previously hosted WorldMUN in Heidelberg; now college teams travel to conferences around the world and many of them are consistently recognized with awards. One of the college programs, the University of Passau, has even established an Eurasia conference with a partner in Pakistan. Germany also has a solid high school circuit with at least 3 conferences. The John F. Kennedy School in Berlin seems to be the leading program as it hosts the THIMUN-affiliated BERMUN and UNA-USA’s GC Berlin.

9. China

There are three tracks of development for the rapidly growing Chinese Model UN market and it is exemplified by three leading Beijing-based high school conferences: WEMUN (local elite who plan to attend college abroad), BEIMUN (international schools), and PKUMUN (local students who plan to stay in China). The for-profit WEMUN organization is spurring some of this growth by backing foreign joint ventures such as HMUN China and ILMUNC China. WorldMUN and UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms program all have or had previous conferences in Beijing. Our database lists 6 high school conferences and 1 college conference but we suspect there are many more. Chinese university and high school teams have traveled well to conferences outside of China. (Editor’s note: Google Analytics separates traffic numbers for mainland China from other Chinese special administrative regions).

10. Brazil

Brazil previously hosted WorldMUN in Belo Horizonte. We rarely see Brazilian high school or university teams abroad, but given that Brazil placed in the top 10, the data suggests that there is probably a big domestic Model UN community that we are just not familiar with yet. UNA-USA has Global Classrooms Sao Paulo, and Americas MUN is a notable university conference.

11. Mexico

While Model UN is available in multiple regions of Mexico, the center of activity seems to be in Mexico City which is home to conferences such as ASFMUN, MEXMUN, and UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms Mexico City. However, Model UN is available outside of the capital and notably so in the city of Monterrey. The city is home to the Tec de Monterrey and Prepa Tec organizations and the MUNterrey conference. WorldMUN was previously hosted in Puebla.

12. Singapore

Singapore is known as a hub for hosting Model UN conferences. This includes THIMUN Singapore at the high school level and last year’s Harvard WorldMUN at the university level. However, Singapore also has very strong high school teams that have adapted to both THIMUN-style conferences and American-style conferences. Established programs include the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Overseas Family School, the Hwa Chong Institution, and more.

13. Australia

Model UN seems to be active at the university level with several university conferences available such as AMUNC and travel teams such as the combined Australia Universities delegation to Harvard National HNMUN last year. We don’t know much about the high school circuit though.

14. France

Model UN is available at both the high school and university level in France. The THIMUN-affiliated ParisMUN is one of the notable high school conferences and the NMUN Europe conference in Lille is one of the notable university level conferences. Sciences Po Lille and Sciences Po (in Paris) are two universities that have field strong travel teams to conferences abroad.

15. Turkey

Model UN is developing rapidly in Turkey and the country already boasts a strong mix of university, high school, and even middle school conferences. It seems that the high school community is particularly strong. The THIMUN-affiliated RCIMUN, TIMUN, and MUNESCO are several of the high school conferences and university conferences include MUNIST and MUNTR. Istanbul previously played host to Harvard WorldMUN.

16. Netherlands

The Netherlands is a major player in the Model UN world and we’re surprised we aren’t getting that many views from participants in this country. University-level participants are familiar with the United Netherlands team which is basically a national team of all-stars that can compete with the best delegates in the world at prestigious conferences such as HNMUN. Other university teams such as Leiden perform well, too. High school participants should be very familiar with THIMUN — the largest conference in the world — which is hosted at The Hague. The Netherlands has many university conferences and the most THIMUN-affiliated conferences of any country with six. The Netherlands is also one of a few countries that has hosted Harvard WorldMUN twice; the conference took place in Amsterdam and The Hague.

17. Italy

Italian teams travel in huge numbers on the global Model UN circuit. Some of these teams are aided by the development of the Associazione Diplomatici which has coordinated travel for large Italian college, high school, and middle school delegations to attend high profile conferences such as UNA-USA’s GCIMUN and the NMUN conference in New York. Other high school and university teams travel independently. Domestically, there are high school and university conferences in Italy including the THIMUN-affiliated Genoa MUN, UNA-USA’s GC Catania, and several conferences in Rome. The Associazione Diplomatici will be hosting its first conference abroad, CWMUN, in New York this spring. This might be the first time an organization from outside the United States will host a conference in the country.

18. Spain

There’s a balanced mix of high school and university conferences but the community seems to be driven at the college level by programs such Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Salamanca. UNA-USA Global Classrooms notably set up two conferences — one in Madrid and one in Cantabria.

19. Colombia

Model UN is growing in Colombia and the growth seems to be headed by the universities which have attended conferences outside the country in the past. There’s a small local market; our database lists one high school conference.

20. Belgium

Teams that regularly attend WorldMUN have probably heard of last year’s Best Large Delegation winner, MUN Society Belgium, a national travel team similar to United Netherlands. There’s a small local market; our database lists one high school conference. Belgium previously hosted WorldMUN in Brussels.


Several other interesting notes in terms of countries:

  • The country with the most visits from the Middle East was: #23 United Arab Emirates
  • The country with the most visits from Africa was: #29 Ghana
  • Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, was #34 in terms of visits.
  • Among our G20, the country that visits the most pages per visit was: Singapore
  • Among our G20, the country that spends the most time per visit was: Indonesia
  • Besides Russia, the countries from the real G20 that did not appear in our top 20 countries with the most visits were: Japan, Rep. of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and South Africa. The first three of that list are in the top 50.

As for cities with the most visits, they are:

  • The top five major cities in the United States were: New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. These cities are five of the top six in the world (Caracas is the other one).
  • The top five smaller cities in the United States were: Cambridge, MA; Princeton Junction, NJ; Plainsboro, NJ; Hialeah, FL; and Edison, NJ. The only cities in the USA that surpass these cities in views are the top 5 listed above.
  • The top five major cities outside the United States were: Caracas, New Delhi, Montreal, Toronto, and Singapore.


So where should Best Delegate travel to next? 

We’re always curious to learn about how Model UN is done in different parts of the world. We hope to help spread or help improve the activity wherever we travel to and also connect that country’s Model UN community with the rest of the Best Delegate community. We look for conferences that really want us to be there or organizations that seek our help through training workshops or even starting a conference for their region.

Currently, we travel all over the United States and regularly visit Canada. Outside of North America, we have been to MUN conferences in China and Singapore and will add the Netherlands to that list by January 2012. So where should we go next?

Ideally, we’d love to visit the leading Model UN countries on every continent. We’d visit conferences in countries where we already have some Model UN connections such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, and wherever Harvard WorldMUN is being held. In terms of the G20, I think both Ryan and I would love to visit India and Turkey as the high school circuits in those two countries seem particularly determined to develop Model UN. I would also like to visit other growing Model UN communities in Asia such as Pakistan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan. And if Ryan had his way, he would love to visit Iran since he learned Farsi while he was studying at Yale. We are definitely looking for opportunities abroad though and will track the 2012 Google Analytics to see where our biggest fan bases are.

What else should we know about each country? And where should we visit next?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/CedeSilva Cedê Silva

    Brazil has a large MUN community, and the largest capitals all have yearly conferences. Check http://modeleiro.blogspot.com/ for a (now almost never udpated) for a Brazilian MUN blog.

  • Kathryn Au

    Q: Does Google Analytics factor in “visits” through RSS feeds?

    • Anonymous

      I believe Analytics captures readers who click on RSS links to visit the website but not those who read articles using a service like Google Reader

  • Alicia

    People in Peru are also incredibly passionate about MUN… Highschool MUN is very popular right now, and the Model United Nations team of the Universidad de Lima is pretty good! I recently attended the high school conference there (run by university students, much like Harvard MUN), and I could tell people were very excited to be there. We really love MUN!

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