In an inspiring demonstration of the next generation’s commitment to global peace and cooperation, 100 college students studying international affairs at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) organized an international Model United Nations (MUN) conference on their Education City campus for over 450 high school students representing 51 schools across 13 countries.
Held under the theme “Global Security: Learning from the Past,” this year’s event saw students simulating roles as UN diplomats to debate and negotiate solutions to some of the world’s most pressing security challenges, explained Benjamin Kurian, the Secretary-General of this year’s MUN and a senior International History major.
“Delegates were challenged to engage in fruitful debates, work alongside others to find solutions to the various problems that are raised, and address the important issues that we face today,” he said, adding that delegates also confronted conflicts from the pages of history. “We wanted delegates to look at current issues from a historical lens because there is so much to be learned from the past that can be applied to current scenarios.”
Welcoming the delegates to the conference, the dean of GU-Q, Dr. Safwan Masri, said: “We are honored to have such a diverse group of students who share a commitment to making a positive impact in their communities and beyond. I wish you courage in your deliberations and look forward to hearing about the great work you will accomplish here.”
Keynote speaker Saleh Al-Mana, the Director of International Cooperation and Trade Agreements Department at the Ministry for Commerce and Industry in Qatar and a 2013 GU-Q graduate, said: “As students you will be tested in the upcoming days, and I implore you to have an open mind when debating and deliberating amongst fellow delegates,” adding that students should be “creative when facing obstacles and spare no effort in applying and expanding your problem-solving skills.”
The conference also included a cultural night to foster valuable cultural exchange and to promote cultural understanding and appreciation, said Jibin Koshy, Educational Enrichment Manager at GU-Q. “Our MUN is one of our oldest experiential learning programs that aims to promote leadership skills, critical thinking, communication skills and global citizenship,” he said, adding: “We are proud to offer a platform here in Qatar that fosters a culture of cooperation and understanding, and to inspire the next generation of leaders to work towards a more peaceful and just world.
Each year GU-Q students also organize a smaller MUN conference for local high school students in Qatar, allowing them to gain insight into the world of international politics and policy-making in preparation for the international conference.