Georgetown Qatar’s Spring Model United Nations (MUN) conference drew nearly 600 high school students representing 34 local and 26 international schools from 14 countries, for a weekend of hands-on engagement in international diplomacy.
Designed to simulate the UN system and proceedings in an academic context, the student-led MUN conference provided a platform for spirited debates and dynamic committee sessions centred around the timely theme 'Empowering underrepresented perspectives: giving a voice to the unheard'.
GU-Q alumnus Ahmed Helal, the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) director at Global Counsel, an international strategic advisory firm, delivered the keynote speech.
He set the tone of the conference, speaking about the importance of voices from the region in global debates, and in today’s multipolar age, drawing from his role advising on the Middle East’s participation in the global economy, and policy which addresses the impact of climate change on food security in arid lands.
“I believe that to find that voice, the region's future diplomats, teachers, scientists, and leaders need to first recognise that they are part of a long continuum of civilisational dialogue,” Helal said. “This region has never been on the sidelines of that dialogue – always at the forefront. It's on your shoulders to continue in that tradition today and into the future.”
At the heart of the MUN, with a special focus on Palestine, were robust debates and the exchange of ideas.
Student delegations representing different UN countries deliberated in committees chaired by GU-Q students.
Putting their research preparation and public speaking skills to the test, they tackled challenges at the forefront of the international agenda, from conflict situations around the world to climate change and sustainability.
“This conference is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for high school students; they get to practice diplomacy and negotiation at one of the top schools for international affairs in the world, in a format crafted for them by GU-Q students studying international relations,” said educational enrichment manager Jibin Koshy. “It’s an introduction to what they can learn at the GU-Q to prepare for careers in international diplomacy and many other fields.”
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