We are often asked for a Model UN vs. Model G20 comparison since both are popular options for students who are interested in international relations and global events. Knovva Academy developed this comparison between MUN and MG20 to help you explore opportunities for academic extracurricular activities that prepare you for college and inspire you to make a difference in the world.

Knovva Academy Held the First MG20 Summit in 2016

After originating the MG20 Summit concept in 2015, Knovva Academy held the first MG20 Summit in 2016. The MG20 Summits and mG20 in Action club remain new to many students and teachers. In contrast, the MUN events and clubs trace their origins back to 1921, and are more widely known.

Both programs involve simulated proceedings during which students take on the roles of world leaders. The programs help students with public speaking, research, multilateral negotiation, international diplomacy, and team strategy. However, there are key differences that relate to the missions and purposes of the United Nations and the G20.

The UN and G20 Have Different Purposes in Global Affairs

The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II to maintain international peace and security. With 193 member countries, it is an international organization chartered to promote democracy, uphold international law, and protect human rights. Significantly, the governments of UN member nations retain their own sovereignty and are not subject to UN resolutions, which have the force of non-binding recommendations.

The G20 (or Group of 20) was founded in 1999 as a forum to make agreements on ways to promote financial stability and economic cooperation among the world’s leading economies. Rather than an organization, it is an established working group composed of 19 countries and the European Union. They meet during regularly scheduled summits to discuss and set policies that promote economic growth. Significantly, G20 communiqués express the set of priorities agreed upon by world leaders.

Model UN and Model G20 Have Distinct Philosophies

The MUN philosophy is to pass resolutions with a unified voice that represents all 193 member nations. To do this, MUN delegates must compete to develop a winning position, relying on committee voting processes that produce majority resolutions and often require minority nations to compromise their own interests.

In contrast, the MG20 philosophy is to prioritize workable agreements over worldwide resolutions. MG20 creates efficiency by eliminating any administrative processes that could delay an agreement that benefits all parties. As a result, MG20 students have a lot of freedom to formulate strategies and innovate solutions, whether they are collaborating on a bilateral or a multilateral agreement within the 20 largest economies.

“MG20 students collaborate because they believe they can only solve the world’s biggest problems by working together with peers who share their passion to change the world. Everyone’s voice matters at MG20. A competitive atmosphere would be counterproductive to their work.”

– William McGinty, Deputy Chair of the MG20 Committee and Academic Head of Experiential Learning at Knovva Academy 

Both MUN and MG20 Students Are Well-Prepared for College

A consistent track record of participation in an academic extracurricular activity like MUN or MG20 distinguishes a student’s college application and demonstrates the student’s particular interest in global affairs, government, and international relations. Many colleges are recognizing that students who have engaged in MG20 possess the critical thinking, research, writing, and communication skills necessary to succeed in higher education.

“While the goal was to enrich our students’ lives, we quickly realized that extracurricular participation was making our students much more attractive to the top colleges. The first 3 CCSC (Community Charter School of Cambridge) students to ever sign up to attend an MG20 summit were tenth graders. Returning to annual summits each of the following years, they were our first ever admits to Brown, Harvard and MIT universities.”

– Ali Nomani, High School Principal (2015-19), Community Charter School of Cambridge

MG20 Develops Students’ Global Competence

Students in MG20 are grouped with peers from around the world, gaining firsthand experience with other cultures. By working shoulder-to-shoulder with diverse counterparts to make deals, students learn how to function in a cross-cultural setting and develop global competency, a 21st century skill. MG20’s emphasis on international collaboration often helps students to develop friendships that bridge the differences between cultures.

“I really love that I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world. I’ve met so many people from so many different countries with so many different perspectives and backgrounds and it really makes discussions very enlightening.”

– Jasmine Gill, Nardin Academy, United States 

MG20 Students Have Discussions, Not Debates

Conversations during MG20 sessions are meant to be practical, not rhetorical. This is one reason MG20 facilitates the development of personal relationships between students. By first developing trust, MG20 students listen to understand, and speak to be understood. In this way, students are able to make discussions productive.

“The most important thing I’ve learned is how to modify ideas through discussion and through research in order to make it more detailed and more applicable to real life. I think this is very essential because, if we really want to make changes, if we really want to make a difference in the world as young people, we need to know how to make our plan more practical and easier for other people to follow.”

– Yixin Ke, Xiamen Foreign Language School, China     

How to Participate in MG20

Knovva Academy convenes annual MG20 Summits and offers the mG20 in Action club throughout the year. Students, parents, and teachers who are interested in participating in MG20 are encouraged to contact us.

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