More than 1,900 young people from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East are to gather in Doha this week to share ideas, experiences, and perspectives, at the eighth edition of Thimun Qatar conference.
The four-day event, taking place at Qatar National Convention Centre from January 21, will welcome students and presenters from 14 countries.
Through the annual conference, school students from Qatar and across the world play their part in a simulation of the United Nations, taking on the roles of diplomats representing a nation or NGO and putting their critical thinking and communication skills to the test to represent policies and tackle some of the world’s greatest issues.
The conference is organised by the Thimun Qatar Regional Office – a joint project between Qatar Academy Doha, part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, and the Thimun (The Hague Model United Nations) Foundation. It is organised entirely by school students, as they balance lessons, homework, and interests with putting together a snapshot of the world of diplomacy in action.
Khadija Elmagarmid – a Grade 12 student at Qatar Academy Doha, and Thimun Qatar’s deputy head of administration – explained the challenges involved in making it happen. “The most important is finding the ideal balance between schoolwork and conference duties,” she said.
“However, as part of being a student in an International Baccalaureate school like Qatar Academy Doha, we are taught important skills to ensure we can address these challenges.
“The Thimun Qatar conference promotes student leadership and youth contributions to society, and works toward ensuring the voice of youth is heard in the community. This is something I believe is essential for all students to develop and work on.”
Thimun Qatar participants research a country, assume a diplomatic role, investigate international issues, debate and consult on them, and develop solutions to problems facing the world. From research, policy analysis, and conflict resolution to public speaking, listening, and negotiation, the range of skills they have to deploy during the conference is extensive.
Sessions reflect the format of UN committees – including its General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Human Rights Commission – and this year’s agenda will also include a special committee on Good Health and Wellbeing, Thimun Qatar’s theme for 2020.
At Thimun Qatar, students who are looking to develop their media skills can also act as a press corps, including running social media channels and producing a daily newspaper. Among them is Hind al-Thani, a Qatar Academy Doha Grade 11 student and Thimun Qatar’s head of press, says: “Balancing my schoolwork, personal life, and my team started off being very difficult, but I adapted – I just had to divide my time rationally and stick to my priorities.”
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