As part of the university’s multiversity efforts, QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) hosted the first-ever Education City-wide Model United Nations (MUN) conference, where during two days students from partner institutions gathered at GU-Q to engage in dialogue, debate, and negotiate resolutions for “Safety of Journalists in Conflict Zones.”
GU-Q already hosts two annual MUN conferences on themes that cover real-world issues on the U.N. agenda for hundreds of local and international high school students. With an initial participation of 32 students from GU-Q and across Education City, the college-level pilot program expands and extends GU-Q’s international affairs expertise to students across Qatar Foundation.
Jibin Koshy, Educational Enrichment Manager at GU-Q and program organizer, has high hopes for the future of the new MUN format. “We began our high school MUN with 12 students in one classroom, and for the upcoming Fall MUN, we are expecting around 500 students,” recalled Koshy, “So we are really excited by the future possibilities of supporting the multiversity mission through this unique learning opportunity for college students from diverse academic backgrounds.”
Koshy added that the new program also offers graduates a more meaningful way to give back to their alma mater. Alumnus Mudassar Raza Shakir (SFS’21) volunteered as MUN Deputy Secretary-General while an International Economics student, and came back to reprise his role as a volunteer chair for the collegiate MUN. “This is a great opportunity for current university students in Qatar to expand their educational experience by engaging in global issues, a rare opportunity for many.”
Chinemerem Edmond Obi, a graduate student at Texas A&M University at Qatar, served as a delegate of India. “The conference was quite fascinating and well organized. It was my first time and I like the way they teach you and tell you what to do while also deliberating on the matters.”
For GU-Q students who have served as volunteers for high school-level MUNs, the chance to take on the challenge of an MUN was a welcome one. Gabriel Olsen, a GU-Q sophomore, said: “As a volunteer on the press team we were always going around taking pictures of other delegates but it is nice to be here and participate in the arguments yourself.”
The MUN teaches a host of critical thinking and public speaking skills and creates lifelong friendships. Natali Fanik, a GU-Q junior and the delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the mock proceedings, said the multiversity angle was an added bonus. “That this is the first Education City MUN is very cool because we also got to meet all the other university students.”
GU-Q students have now returned to their roles as MUN mentors and volunteers and are preparing to welcome hundreds of high school students in person and online at the upcoming Fall GMUN which will be held under the theme “Diversity and Integration in a World of Conflict.”