Over 150 students from 17 high schools in Qatar and around the world stepped into the roles of global leaders with the launch of QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar’s virtual Model United Nations (MUN) conference recently. Young delegates served as UN diplomats to solve global issues under the theme, “Imagining a Resilient Future: Equality, Safety, and Health.”
This year’s keynote speaker was strategic leadership consultant, international affairs analyst, writer, and speaker, Faith Abiodun, the executive director at Future Africa.
Addressing the virtual gathering on the opening day, he highlighted the critical role of youth in the effort to shape a more resilient future, saying, “I would like to congratulate you all for making the right decision to spend the next few days investing in this very important process. Model UN conferences are not a game. There could hardly be a better platform to prepare you for the difficulties of today and the unimaginable challenges of tomorrow. We need your courage, we need your ideas, and most importantly, we need your optimism.”
The entire conference is organised and run by GU-Q students on the MUN Student Board who work as Student Organisers, Event Chairs, Press and Staff members. “Through the dedication of 21 GU-Q student volunteers, we’ve developed a virtual MUN experience that recreates the formalities and procedures of the face-to-face conference to give students the soft skills they need to excel in the classroom and beyond,” said Jibin Koshy, educational enrichment manager at GU-Q and the university’s MUN coordinator.
Using the latest cloud-based digital communication technologies, participating students connected to their peers from around the world at the unique diplomacy simulation activity to hone their skills in critical thinking, public speaking, negotiation, and research, and learn how they can shape a better future in the aftermath of an unprecedented global health crisis.
Gathering in virtual rooms and working in committees representing different member states of the UN, students discussed a range of issues critical to the real UN agenda, including biosecurity and Covid-19, combating xenophobic violence against migrants, addressing security challenges in Northern Africa and the Sahel, water and food security in a post Covid-19 world, and abolishing modern-day slavery.
“Throughout this health crisis, young people have demonstrated inspiring leadership and resilience in adapting to online learning and engagement. And the virtual GU-Q MUN will help to ensure that participating students emerge from the pandemic globally connected and better prepared to take on their next challenge," said Zoya Farid, a GU-Q junior majoring in Culture and Politics and this year's MUN secretary general.