The annual THIMUN Qatar conference opened yesterday with over 1,300 participants.
A partnership programme between the Qatar Academy, the Qatar Foundation and The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) Foundation, the event brings together high school students from Qatar and the Middle East, helping them develop as leaders.
This year marks the 10th year that Qatar Shell has been sponsoring Model United Nations (MUN) programmes in Qatar.
This milestone was recognised at the opening ceremonies of the conference with a special presentation by Qatar Shell deputy chairman Rob Sherwin.
The event began with a musical and choral performance by hundreds of students.
Keynote speaker Ryan Hreljac focused on the conference theme of sustainable development.
Hreljac is a compelling model for the young delegates and the power of youth advocacy.
The 22-year-old’s Ryan Foundation has contributed to hundreds of water and sanitation projects in 16 developing countries, bringing access to clean water and sanitation to more than 685,000 people.
During the four-day conference, student delegates will be given the opportunity to attend sessions with international experts, debate global topics such as sustainability, human rights, security, finance, and the environment, and meet students from more than 70 different countries.
Wessam Kanes, this year’s secretary-general of the conference, stated in her opening remarks: “We are all here today simply because we share a common vision. Many of us would only dream of a world with equal rights to education, no poverty and no discrimination.
“But it is by our very presence here today that we acknowledge these dreams to be difficult yet achievable realities. It is the kind of world we want to live in and one that we can build together with constructive solutions, great determination and long lasting commitment.”
THIMUN Qatar is run on a student leadership model that encourages the participants to get involved in every aspect of the planning, organisation and implementation of the conference’s various programmes.
It is the third THIMUN conference to be established after The Hague and Singapore, and it continues to develop the burgeoning Model United Nations movement in the Middle East.
Dr Eric Sands, the director of Qatar Academy where THIMUN Qatar is based, is proud of the school’s role in the conference and its other initiatives.
He said: “We are fortunate to have the financial support of Qatar Shell as the conference provides a key framework for student engagement in thought-provoking processes of debate, consensus, and resolution.”
“This year, one of the most pressing topics that the delegates will address relates to sustainability. Indeed, world hunger and human poverty are threads in the fabric of sustainability, but the participants will also grapple with the potential for long-term maintenance of well-being (both from a human and planetary perspective), which is directly related to the ‘three pillars’ of sustainability: a reconciliation of environmental, social equity, and economic demands,” Sands added.
“The student resolutions will shed the unique insights into how the next generation of world leaders will address this timely topic.”
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