During the same weekend that world leaders convened at the Doha Forum to address critical global issues, hundreds of high school students convened in the meeting rooms of QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) for the 17th annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference under the theme “Building Back Better: Stepping into a Brave New World’. The 290 students from local schools and 94 students joining virtually from schools around the world took on roles of U.N. ambassadors to dialogue, debate, and negotiate resolutions for real-world issues on the U.N. agenda.
The opening ceremony was held in the GU-Q auditorium with a livestream for the virtual participants, featuring a keynote address from Janhvi M. Kanoria, Director of the Innovation Development Directorate (IDD) at Education Above All (EAA) Foundation.
“We were honored that Ms. Kanoria agreed to join us for our annual conference. Her commitment to protecting the right to education for the most marginalized communities is inspiring a generation of future leaders to work towards a better world,” said International Affairs major Safoura Usmani (SFS’23), who served as MUN Secretary General and led the organization of the conference. This year 87 university students volunteered their time and effort in various leadership roles, making it one of the largest mobilizations of MUN volunteers at GU-Q.
This is the university’s first hybrid conference with virtual committees specifically designed for hybrid (onsite and online) participants, an innovative approach that went beyond setting up a camera in the in-person meeting rooms, said Jibin Koshy, Educational Enrichment Manager at GU-Q. “The MUN program is a valuable hands-on learning experience for students, and we didn’t want international students who may still face travel restrictions to miss out on the opportunity to practice diplomacy, improve their soft skills, and create lasting friendships and personal networks that they carry with them well beyond the conference.”
Some of the topics of this year’s conference are refugees and migrants, safeguarding healthcare and protecting journalists in conflict zones, gender-based violence, and women’s workplace equality. As a school of international relations, added Koshy, GU-Q offers a unique MUN experience that extends the expertise of the university’s globally ranked foreign affairs curriculum and the insights of top tier scholars, who provide academic preparation.
“GMUN is dedicated to covering the most pressing issues in international affairs and beyond,” said Koshy. “GU-Q students did an amazing job this year in designing a conference that reflects the shifting dynamics of the world right now, challenging the next generation of leaders and thinkers who will be able to address those challenges in the years ahead.”