Nathan Balk King
Founder/Director Model United Nations: Indigenous
These times call for activism, and for the youth to stand up and be the leaders and change-makers for our generation.
Students all over the world learn about the United Nations and international systems of diplomacy and policy through the peer-based mentorship program, Model United Nations, or MUN.
I got involved in the Model United Nations program and served as a delegate at the national high school conference in March 2018. I attended a school in Massachusetts with a very active model United Nations club and It was an amazing experience traveling to New York City, meeting delegates from around the world, and putting our months of hard work and preparation into action.
Where were the Native students at Model United Nations?
One of the ways we can improve Indigenous human rights and ensure that nations pay attention to Indigenous issues is through the United Nations system.
While the conference was great, there was a point when I realized I hadn’t seen any other Native students. It felt unfair that Native youth weren’t participating and benefiting from this important experience.
In response to a lack of Native representation, I formed Model United Nations: Indigenous, a non-profit startup that aims to make the Model United Nations programs, more accessible for Native students with human rights advocacy specifically geared toward Native youth and Indigenous issues.
Why Model United Nations: Indigenous (MUNI)?
Model United Nations: Indigenous (MUNI) is a great opportunity for those interested in Indigenous human rights, politics & public policy, law, international relations, teamwork, public speaking, and the functioning of the United Nations and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
In March 2019, Model United Nations: Indigenous was accepted as a registered Non-Governmental Organization in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Civil Society database.
As a result, Model United Nations: Indigenous may apply for credentials at United Nations events, including the annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Model United Nations: Indigenous applied and was accepted for credentials to attend in March 2019. Three of our participants were able to attend.
All of our student delegates are also offered the opportunity to apply for a seat with the Model United Nations: Indigenous delegation to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City.
You can get involved in 2020
This year, Model United Nations: Indigenous is hosting a free, online summer program to advance learning in human rights and global public policy for Native high school students and rising college freshmen.
We have been fortunate to find a group of super-talented mentors to pair with our Native student delegates. The summer program will also feature expert speakers on human rights and Indigenous public policy.
Join us this summer and take that next step towards your expertise in Indigenous human rights advocacy! We provide letters of participation in MUNI for your college portfolio or resume.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Nathan Balk King
How you can join us, contact us and start your own club
Deadline: July 15, 2020
Start a Model United Nations at your school: Email MUN.Indigenous@gmail.com.
Nathan Balk King is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the founder of Model United Nations Indigenous. He was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and grew up spending time between his father's family in SD and his mother's family in Massachusetts. Nathan attended the Sturgis Charter Public High School on Cape Cod where he earned his International Baccalaureate diploma. He is currently a rising sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Commonwealth Honors College, where he is majoring in Physics.
Inspired by the significance of the United Nations to the Native community in the United States, Nathan created Model United Nations: Indigenous (MUNI) to empower indigenous communities by giving Native high school students the tools, impetus, and confidence to participate in public policy and human rights advocacy, from the community level to the global stage.