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Letters: Model United Nations originated in New York

Model United Nations originated in New York

It is a little-known fact that Model United Nations, now highly popular learning tools in high schools and colleges, originated in upstate New York nearly 70 years ago. The first ever Model U.N. was held at St. Lawrence University in Canton from Feb. 11 to 13, 1949, with delegates coming from nine regional colleges and universities.

It was inaugurated by my father, Dr. Harry Reiff, who in 1945 was a technical adviser in international law and organizations on the U.S. delegation to the San Francisco Conference (which wrote the U.N. Charter), and in 1945-46 was on the U.S. delegation to London (where the U.N. was set up and had its first meeting).

On return to St. Lawrence in 1946 after two years’ service in the State Department, he and colleagues in the university’s History and Government Department held the first “Model UN Security Council” in early 1949 – and the rest is history.

Daniel Reiff


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