The Decentred Delegate: Adapting Identity within a Model United Nations Learning Environment

Mark Dinnen, Dennis Harmon II

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter provides an analysis of three subjects that participated within a cross-cultural simulation-based learning (SBL) exercise, the Model United Nations (MUN). The aim is to discuss the implications of the decentred self, to the concept of identity and self as a beneficial transformative process that aids in academic and social growth. In the educational setting, both authentic and simulated, the concept of self can be broken, altered, and reconstructed through educational and life-changing encounters. We propose that learners who participate in MUN simulations and conferences are required to represent the interests of nations that are alien to them, thereby acting as a catalyst that alters their worldviews and perspectives of self, and thus, becoming the decentred delegate. This chapter explores these concepts through a Hegelian lens. Individuals, through society, create their identity and concept of self as they develop and grow. These notions come from both actual and imagined interactions. The co-construction of identity within a given society or group provides an avenue for growth in confidence, independence, and the development of a higher empathy and moral standing in the global community. This ethical development emerges through mutual recognition and understanding of others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntercultural Mirrors: Dynamic Reconstruction of Identity
EditorsMarie-Claire Patron, Julia Kraven
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-40130-3
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-40129-7, 978-90-04-39636-4
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2019


Cite this

Dinnen, M., & Harmon II, D. (2019). The Decentred Delegate: Adapting Identity within a Model United Nations Learning Environment. In M-C. Patron, & J. Kraven (Eds.), Intercultural Mirrors: Dynamic Reconstruction of Identity (pp. 233-257). Leiden: Brill.