More than 230 participating high school delegates from 29 schools in Qatar took part in the first in-person Model United Nations (MUN) at QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) since the start of the pandemic.
Over the course of three days, they took on the roles of U.N. ambassadors to solve global issues under the theme of “Diversity and Integration in a World of Conflict,” and tackled topics from the real U.N. agenda, including the persecution of Muslim minorities across the globe, female education in post conflict zones, economic instability in Venezuela, conflict in South Sudan, and nuclear proliferation.
Jibin Koshy, Educational Enrichment Manager at GU-Q, stressed the importance of GU-Q’s MUN program, noting that it helps develop a host of critical skills that students can apply at the conference, as well as in the classroom, and wherever their life journey takes them.
“That’s why we made sure to transition to an online format when meeting in person was not an option, in order to deliver a meaningful MUN experience for students in Qatar,” he said. “But we are really pleased we can once again offer a fully in-person diplomatic program, because face-to-face dialogue and debate is such an important part of U.N. diplomacy. Our MUN is an experience that builds confidence, encourages leadership, creates new friendships, and helps prepare students for university life.”
The program is entirely student-run, and this year, around 70 GU-Q students volunteered their time to work as organizers, board members, committee chairs, reporters, staff, and in other key roles needed for the academic simulation. Culture and Politics major Safoura Usmani, who served as the Secretary General, credits her participation in GU-Q’s MUN as a high school delegate for her interest in international affairs, and the decision to apply for admission.
“I remember how much it helped me break through my shell in high school, and I love the idea that I could possibly help maybe just one student who needs this boost of confidence, or to make them wonder if they want to pursue a career in politics,” she said. As an enrolled student, she continued her commitment to diplomacy training, taking on more senior MUN positions and responsibilities over the years.
GU-Q offers the Fall MUN to give local students an opportunity to gain public speaking and diplomacy training in preparation for GU-Q’s international MUN that takes place in the spring, when hundreds of students from high schools around the world travel to Doha to represent their schools and to learn more about Qatar. “We are even more excited for our main conference in March,” said Safoura, “and are working towards having an even better and more successful conference then.”