Thanks and good luck

By Hassan Akoum, Former Qatar International School student, THIMUN Qatar Delegate and now a student at American University of Beirut.

Three years of happiness, joy, motivation, empowerment and awareness. These five descriptions adequately portray my three year experience with THIMUN Qatar. The organization has helped me in various aspects in life as before I even joined MUN, I was dumb founded to what was happening around me. Today, THIMUN has made me an international citizen who is truly engaged in every humanitarian and security issue.

Hassan addressing THIMUN Qatar participants in February 2016.
Hassan addressing THIMUN Qatar participants in February 2016.

Founded in 2011, THIMUN Qatar is known for prominently supporting the youth across the Middle East. Thanks to THIMUN Qatar, ideas have been formed, significant global issues such as the Syrian Crisis have been discussed and voices have been heard. Before my first conference in 2013, I barely had any confidence to go up to a podium and speak but with the support of my mentors and colleagues, it became possible. After my first conference in January 2013, I went on to be a main submitter on four consecutive occasions and they were all passed with overwhelming majorities. Before going to my first THIMUN Qatar conference in 2013, I was still undecided on what I want to be in the future and where. However, that all changed when I participated as it was through MUN in general and THIMUN Qatar in specific where I discovered my true passion: Global affairs and sociology. Today, I am a student at the American University of Beirut which is recognized as one of the region’s most participating and enthusiastic (student wise) in current Middle Eastern and Lebanese affairs. Besides my sixth form grades and parental motivation, THIMUN Qatar did play a notable role in me choosing AUB. I hope to develop my leadership skills even more and further expand my knowledge on different cultures and affairs.

Hassan and members of the THIMUN Qatar Afghanistan Initiative
Hassan and members of the THIMUN Qatar Afghanistan Initiative

The people behind my enjoyment are countless as I’ve met hundreds of people from different countries and cultures, however; there are always particular people who made it an exceptional experience. Firstly, Mrs. Sinclair of Qatar International School – my MUN coordinator- provided the club and I with unconditional love and support. She handled everything in the most professional manner and always guided us in the right path. QIS was always known for its commitment to MUN and its constant success at major conferences and without Mrs. Sinclair, that wouldn’t have been possible. I wish her the best of luck in her future in all aspects.

Another person I’d love to thank is Mrs. Lisa Martin- head of THIMUN Qatar-. Mrs. Martin gave me the opportunity to participate in a life changing project: The THIMUN Qatar Afghanistan Initiative. It was back in Qatar Leadership Conference where Mrs. Martin introduced herself to the Qatar MUN society and it was through that conference where Mrs. Martin offered the hundreds attending the conference to participate in the Afghanistan project and without hesitation, I signed up. Thankfully I was chosen to be part of it and frankly, it was an amazing experience.

Throughout the years, media has portrayed Afghanistan as a country of war informally dominated by terrorist groups and underdevelopment. However, it never revealed the face of its youth who have massive potential in education and expression. By November 2014, my team and I began working with five Afghan students along with UN Habitat representative in Afghanistan: The Canadian humanitarian Peter Dalglish through the program Blackboard Collaborative. At first, they were hesitant and lost when it came to formal debating but within two months, they learned how to do so and came to participate in THIMUN Qatar as the first ever Afghan student delegation from Kabul. Their participation was breathtaking. They showed over a 1500 students what the media didn’t. Today, a formal MUN club has been established in Kabul, Afghanistan and it is officially recognized as an NGO. I can’t be more proud to what my team and I have contributed to starting in Afghanistan.

Last but not least is Ola Al Tai, THIMUN Qatar 2016’s Deputy Secretary General and a friend who means a lot to me. Taking full charge of the MUN club at QIS in 2014 as the Secretary General, Ola has always supported us to do our best in conferences. As a friend (and also part of the Afghanistan Initiative team), Ola never failed to put a smile on my face in the last academic year even during my hardships. Our friendship came out of competition and team work at the same time as I served as the vice secretary general of the MUN club in QIS. Her passion to Model United Nations is extraordinary and her loving character brings a smile to everyone. I’m confident that THIMUN Qatar will be something else with her as DSG.

There are a lot of things that made me enjoy my MUN experience in general in Qatar but this article would sum it up. I wish everyone who I’ve worked with over the past three years the best of luck in their academic future. If I were to give a general advice on joining MUN, I could write a full book but to sum it up by looking at current events in the Middle East; I would say that MUN helps you in solving issues in a more professional, mature and intellectual manner rather than violence and taking such issues as a personal matter that could ruin society relationships. More importantly, I would also say that MUN helps get rid of stereotypes and promotes friendship and acceptance.