As the office transitions into Film Festival mode, the MUN storeroom is finally organized, and the QLC venue is fully booked, I thought it was time to add my own personal reflection on the conference that was THIMUN Qatar 2015. With hardly a moment’s downtime since Mike Lee, PGA of the conference, brought down that final gavel and the skateboarding divas made an appearance in Education City during Cultural Night, it has been hard to catch my breath and think too deeply about the amazing events that transpired the first week of February. I seem to keep coming back to words like ‘magical’ to describe this event. So I’m going to try and capture the magic, before it fades too far away.
First, a small disclaimer. One day, when my MUN days are behind me, I will write a book on the ‘behind the scenes’ drama that takes place at a big conference like THIMUN Qatar. Yes, they were there, causing stressful moments, fearful moments and downright anger. The pulling of the HRC issue on Baluchistan was the public drama, but there were behind the scenes dramas too. But these account for a tiny fraction of my THIMUN Qatar experience. Some day, I WILL write this book, and it will be a good one!
But today, a group of five THIMUN Qatar 2015 delegates started the first THIMUN club in Afghanistan. And the events that made THIMUN Qatar so special were epitomized by 22 Afghan delegates and their five teachers, getting their first orientation to MUN on a cold afternoon in Kabul, seemingly worlds away from the state-of-the-art Qatar National Convention Center. Anyone who seriously loves MUN will understand that in fact these are just two sides of the same coin. It’s about power and connection: feeling empowered and knowing there is strength in collaboration. The THIMUN philosophy epitomizes this. THIMUN Qatar’s delegates, student officers, ADMIN, Press, IT, and Executive team prove time and again that this isn’t some abstract theory. Read the THIMUN Qatar blog these past weeks, and you will understand.
Here are some of my magical moments at THIMUN Qatar 2015:
Qatar Foundation’s HR Department: SHOUT OUT to the guys that got everyone their visas…the last one secured as he was on his way to the airport the day before the conference. That’s a 100% success rate, folks!! If you got a visa through our office, it is time to give thanks where thanks are due! Thank you Mr Al Suwaidi and Mr Salem Al-Marri. Thank you for making dreams come true.
Opening Ceremonies: The color! The pageantry! Angelika Kuster’s artful hand, and Head of Admin Maisha Loveday’s attention to detail resulted in our largest Parade of Nations ever, and it was impressive! In case that wasn’t enough to get you in the mood, it was quickly followed by a moving keynote by Peter Dalglish, an incredible performance by the American School Band and Choir (who sang an utterly amazing rendition of Famine Song), and the Shell representative making his opening remarks and giving a shout out to his own daughter, an MUN delegate in the crowd.
Osama Ghani: Osama and I have taken quite the MUN journey together. That’s another blog post, but I was very proud to see my Secretary General making his very moving opening speech. But I never did get to meet his parents 🙁
The Secretariat: Boring. No Story. No drama. No stress. No mess. And for the record, I DO consider this a magical moment. I love you guys! Thanks for keeping the conference humming quietly along in spite of the broken copy machine, which leads me to….
Photocopying Angels: Abhay and Bonaficio, who stayed up half the night at Qatar Academy and got all the resolutions printed on time. While this certainly was not magical for our IT coordinator and QA photocopying technician, it WAS like magic to see those thousands of pages of resolutions sitting at the door of the office early Thursday morning. Magical and miraculous.
Arabic Committee: This was a THIMUN Qatar first, and one that was both a challenge to bring to fruition but one that ultimately showed the true potential of Arabic language MUN. Each and every delegate in that committee should be proud for making history. I certainly was very proud of them. A very special hat tip to TQ’s Arabic Consultant, Nabilla Elassar, who made this committee happen.
Director’s Training Institute: Seeing a room full of teachers acting as delegates acting as students is great. KFC from Best Delegate did a great job in helping teach MUN to teachers who were interested in getting a deeper understanding of the MUN program. They had an awesome debate on drone technology the following day. We’ll be holding this again next year. It was a great success.
TQ-Afghanistan ‘Press Conference’: A lot of tears were shed in room 102 as the delegation representing Djibouti shared their Kabul to Doha journey, supported by their friends and online collaborators who stood behind them, literally and metaphorically, every step of the way. For many this was the most emotional moment of THIMUN Qatar, making today’s MUN meeting in Kabul today even more special. This delegation touched people’s hearts and brought the conference together as a community. It was magic.
My mom: Yes, my mother attended her first MUN conference. She came all the way from California for the event. I understand she spoke to at least half of the THIMUN Qatar crowd. That’s what half the THIMUN Qatar crowd tells me. it was great to have her here 🙂
Closing Ceremonies: Too many wonderful moments here, but having the Afghan Delegation on the stage with their ambassador to Doha was as amazing as DSG Shahd’s closing speech. Both were amazing and very moving.
Cultural Night: I got on a skateboard. YES! I did, kindly helped by Skateistan’s Talia Kaufmann. My daughter got some skateboarding lessons from Mursal and Madina. (Thanks to Beruk for bringing the extra board!) The John Burrough’s students got ‘hennaed’ (not a real word) and some Palestinian delegates from the special OMUN delegation shared their culture in an impressive display of folkloric dancing. Tariq arranged for the falcon, and lots of good music and hot tea were enjoyed by all at the heart of Education City. It was a good, good night.
There’s another book I want to write, but that is the one I will carry in my heart and cherish for as long as I live..the private and not so private stories of transformation and empowerment that THIMUN Qatar has brought to individuals. If you have made it this far and are nodding in agreement, you will know I am speaking to you! Whether through Facebook or Blackboard Collaborate, via email or Whats App, via face to face interactions at the reflection pool or in the TQ office surrounded by enthusiastic students, this is what gives meaning to my THIMUN Qatar memories. It’s not just delegates who are grateful for being part of THIMUN Qatar 2015. I am very VERY grateful too.