Global Citizenship Education in Model United Nations: Does it Work in China?

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: Global Citizenship Education in Model United Nations: Does it Work in China?
Stream: International Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Yuemiao Ma, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom


Model United Nations (MUN) is a simulation activity widely organised throughout the world, ever since its debut in the USA following the founding of United Nations in 1945 until today with pervasive influence of globalisation. It is advertised to be a platform for students interested in international politics to forge closer links with the UN. Multiple literature has discussed that MUN can broaden international knowledge, enhance skills and develop attributes of students, which fall into the themes of Global Citizenship Education (GCE). However, Global Citizenship is a discourse which has no unified definition and requires discussion of the particular time and place. The dominant different approaches towards Global Citizenship include civic republican, neo-liberal, and critical, but these discourses are rooted in a Western background, including MUN activities, and it is questionable to what extent are these notions ‘global’ or representing the ‘United’ Nations. I would like to discover how these concepts are constructed (and maybe resisted) in a non-Western context. I thus choose China as the wider context in my research and conduct a Critical Discourse Analysis of MUN-related texts to investigate the delineation of Global Citizenship and the power relations behind different discourses by using Fairclough’s three-dimensional framework (text, situational context, and social practice). I will particularly focus on how a ‘westernised’ concept is structured in a ‘neo traditionalist’ country, though these labels can be challenged. This research will contribute to our understanding of the socially structured, contextual and discursive nature of Global Citizenship Education.

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