Who Are We?

The Boston University International Affairs Association is an academic society focused on bringing a global perspective to the social sciences. We encourage and promote diplomacy, dialogue, and the understanding different cultures.  As one of the largest and most active student groups on campus, we provide our members with unparallelled opportunities to get involved on campus and internationally.  For information about our organization, please read the list of Frequently Asked Questions below!  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us, or drop by one of our weekly meetings and ask us in person.  

“If actions speak louder than words, then the Boston University International Affairs Association creates an eloquent, but deafening roar”

Frequently Asked Questions

1.)Do I have to be an International Relations major to join?

No! The International Affairs Association is open to all students interested in the international community, whether that interest is political, economic, social, or cultural.  In fact, International Relation (IR) major represent just over 50% of our association and some of the most creative and insightful members have come from all disciplines: Anthropology, Political Science, History, Pre-Med, Biology, Sociology, Business Administration, Hospitality, Public Relations, Journalism, Philosophy, Graphic Arts, and Advertising.
2.) What does the International Affairs Association do?

At its heart, the Association is a Model United Nations club, but recently has expanded to better encompass all its activities:

  • Our members attend seven intercollegiate Model UN conference (find out more here) around the United States and the world.
  • We organize a 1300 student high school level Model UN conference with over 160 staff members called BosMUN.
  • We organize a 200 student collegiate level Crisis Simulation with over 100 staff members called BarMUN.
  • We publish an International Relations Review twice a semester, open to all undergraduate academic arguments.
  • We host a series of events aimed at giving undergraduates an opportunity to explore possible careers in international affairs.
  • We host a series of events designed to spread awareness about different cultures.


3.) How can I join the IAA?

It’s very easy!  Show up to our first meeting (or any meeting during the year) and take on whatever activities you would like.  You can also fill out our New Member Form and get an email update about the Association with more details.  If you’re interested in joining Model UN, you can register for IBUCS, your introduction to the world of MUN.
4.) What is the commitment like?

Member of the IAA may take on as many activities within our organization as they would like.  Whether you would just like to come to our weekly meetings and take part in our discussion or travel with us on conferences or become a staff member of BosMUN or BarMUN, it’s all up to you!   There are no fees or other restraining commitments, so there is no obligation unless you’d like to join.
5.) What is Model United Nations?

The Model United Nations is a simulation of the United Nations system. Students assume the roles of ambassadors to the United Nations and debate the current issues on the UN’s agenda. Through diplomacy and negotiation, Model UN students seek ways that the world community can deal with complex global concerns such as the environment, economic development, refugees, AIDS, conflict resolution, disarmament and human rights. Young people of all backgrounds and walks of life take part in these educational exercises to experience first-hand decision-making processes and diplomatic work at the United Nations.
6.) Do I have to have prior Model UN experience to take part in Model UN activities? 

No! All students are welcome to join our Model UN activities.  Don’t worry if you’ve never done it in the past, we’ll teach you along the way.  The best way to enter the world of MUN is to register for IBUCS, a weekend conference simulation.
7.) Can I be in the IAA without doing Model UN?

Absolutely.  There are a plethora of activities that you can take part in without being involved with Model UN.  If you prefer taking on a more operational approach to our conference, a secretariat or directorate position might be the place for you.  If you enjoy writing or editing articles or journal entries about current events, the International Relations Review editorial staff might be your place.  Or if you simply enjoy different cultures, feel free to always come to our events, most of which are without cost.
8.) What events does the IAA host?

In the past we’ve hosted the Consul-Generals of Great Britain and France to discuss European Union politics, sponsored trips to the UN Headquarters in New York City, and organized career panels involving Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), government agencies such as the CIA, and Journalism.  If you which to find out more about the events we organize, please visit our Events Page.
9.) Are there weekly meetings? When/Where do you meet?

Yes, we have weekly meetings to discuss different issues facing the international community.  Occasionally our meetings focus on historic events, national cabinets and/or policies, crisis simulations, or are led by professors or other professionals.We meet every Wednesday from 7.30PM-8.30PM.  Check in with us to find what room we will be in, since it varies by semester.
10.) How do I get in contact with the IAA?

The easiest way to contact the IAA is through email: iaa@bu.edu
Mailing Address:
Boston University International Affairs Association
PO Box 15223
Boston, MA 02215

BUIAA Dictionary of Terms

  • Ad Hoc: An unannounced crisis committee for the most experienced delegates. Applications are mandatory, and once all delegates have applied, positions are released. A faster paced crisis committee.
  • Background guide:These are written by chairs and co-chairs for delegates attending a conference. Background guides include biographical information, personal connections, portfolio powers and other assorted relevant information. Background guides include character lists so you have the ability to know who is also in the committee and are potential allies or enemies.
  • BarMUN: The college MUN conference BU hosts in the fall- made up of entirely crisis committees. There are two tracks- historical and contemporary. Both are fully integrated, meaning each committee finds out when another committee publishes something or takes action somewhere and is duly affected.
  • BeanMUN: A high school level Model United Nations conference expo. BU is one of the nine prestigious programs invited to run a mini conference in Beijing during the summer.
  • BosMUN: The high school MUN conference BU hosts in the spring, where thousands of delegates come from around the world. There are both standard MUN large committees and small crisis and specialized committees.
  • BUIAA: BU International Affairs Association. Also know as the “IAA”, we are everything from Model United Nations to the International Relations Review to good ol’ international affairs debates.
  • C3: Chief Crises Coordinators handle everything crisis related at BarMUN, from hiring to day of conference details. These two secretariat members lead CDs in coordination efforts. Most importantly, C3s make sure the substantive material of a conference is published in time for delegates to prepare properly for a conference. Truly coordinators, C3s connect BarMUN crisis staff and chairs with delegates.
  • CD: A crisis director- these are the people that create the world of delegates during a conference. Crisis directors make the events that derail the plans of committees and require them to think on their feet in a fast, responsible, action oriented manner.
  • Caucus: Usually unmoderated, caucuses allow delegates to discuss resolutions without the restraints of Parliamentary Procedure.
  • Chair: The chair maintains both the order and the flow during committee sessions. In larger assemblies, the chair usually follows parliamentary procedure, running the debate and ensuring the large group of delegates remains involved and organized. In smaller committees, parliamentary procedure can become more lax, and the chair (and co/vice chair) may act as a figurehead for the committee (i.e. a CEO, Secretary General, etc.). The chair, with the co-chair or vice chair, writes the background guide for delegates.
  • Chargé d’affaires: The Charge d’Affaires is the liaison between the Secretariat and the participants of the conference. The Charge is responsible for all issues regarding registration, head delegate concerns, committee assignments, and collection of all registration and conference fees.
  • CMUNNY: Columbia Model United Nations in New York. Held in the spring, this conference is only crisis committees.
  • Communiqués: Like a press release, but to a specific group of people, or an individual. These are public releases.
  • Crisis Committee: Smaller, fast paced committees where a delegate often represent an individual (rather than a country). These unpredictable committees are great for learning to think on your feet and improve debating skills.
  • Crisis Staffer: The liaison between the committee room and the CD. The crisis staffer assists the CD in the implementation of crisis plans (eventually helping create the plans themselves). The implementation can range from writing a BBC report,broadcasting from CNN, or ya know, being a pirate.
  • Decorum: Officially: behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety, in MUN, this phrase is used to bring delegates back into line.
  • DG: Director General- this is the SG’s right hand man or woman. The director general oversees the directorate, which is responsible for the logistical aspects of a conference.
  • Directive: Written by a MUN committee, these are the steps a committee wishes to take, or instruct others to take to solve the recent crisis.
  • DISEC: The Disarmament and International Security Committee focuses on global security. A real world UN body, DISEC is the size of a GA.
  • Double Del: A double delegation participates in a MUN conference as a two-man team. These dynamic duos are in General Assemblies.
  • ECOSOC: Economic and social committees are another mainstay of conferences. Many of these topics are pulled from actual United Nations debates, ranging from economic issues to developmental discussions.
  • GA: General assemblies are the heart of MUN conferences. The original forum for role-playing, all countries can be represented. GA’s usually employ parli pro to ensure that these typically 100+ delegate committees stay on task. Double dels are common in GAs.
  • HNMUN: Harvard National Model UN, just across the river in Cambridge. Again, all types of committees are represented at this conference.
  • IBUCS: IBUCS is a one-day conference that is run as an introduction to the world of Model UN. This year it will be on October 1. This is a great way to learn how MUN works or brush up on your delegation skills.
  • IRR: The International Relations Review. The only academic journal published at BU, written, edited and created entirely by undergraduate students (and we have a Library of Congress number). Submissions include academic papers from courses, photojournalism essays and much, much more.
  • McMUN: McGill’s Model UN conference, held in Montreal, Canada! All types of committees are represented at this conference. McMUN is in the spring.
  • MUN: Model United Nations- Model UN began as conferences that are held internationally for college students to act and role-play as countries in typical UN General Assemblies, Councils, etc. Now MUN extends to “Crisis Committees” that are, rather than UN bodies, international organizations or national governments or companies (or really anything). No matter the type of committee, MUN is a great way to gain public speaking experience, writing and debate skills, meet new people and get close to your teammates.
  • Notes: Note writing is a main stay of MUN, and allows delegates to create specific relationships with other delegates. This is a way to get information, work with someone individually to ensure secrecy and communicate with “the outside world”.
  • Parli Pro: Parliamentary procedure is the formal manner in which delegates conduct themselves. Usually used in the larger committees, parli pro helps maintain order and ensures every delegate gets the opportunity to speak.
  • Pedantic: being excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning. A word used excessively in MUN.
  • Portfolio Power: What you can do as an individual delegate in relation to your position. These vary from committee to committee and conference to conference.
  • Press Releases: Press releases are published by the committee as a whole and inform the world of your actions, opinions and much more.
  • SG: Secretary generals run the show at every high school and college conference. Much like the UN secretary general, SGs drive the direction of the conference, lead his/her secretariat team and ensure the execution a great conference.
  • Substantive: The meat and potatoes of every conference, meeting, or event. This is the material that will be acted on and theoretically discussed (committee topics as opposed to logistical information).
  • UNSC: United Nations Security Council. A mainstay in many conference, the UNSC is the powerhouse of the UN. It has, and continues to make many important, world-changing decisions. However, with great power comes great responsibility and this committee is bound to entail a good discussion.
  • UPMUNC: University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference is in the fall in Philadelphia.
  • USG: Undersecretary generals handle committees at BosMUN. Specialized, general and crisis, these three individuals coordinate everything from hiring to publishing substantive material for delegates to assuring great committee sessions the weekend of.
  • VICS: Held in Charlottesville, Virginia by the University of Virginia, the Virginia International Crisis Simulation is an all crisis conference in the spring.
  • WorldMUN: WorldMUN is an international conference run by Harvard and another host university. The location changes from year to year.