Youth Voice is the centre of the THIMUN philosophy which works to create educational programs by high school students, for high school students.
In an environment that has seen some serious growth in embedding Youth Voice. UN Secretary General António Guterres led a high level meeting on the 24th September 2018 to launch Youth 2030, building on the Security Council resolutions (2250) and (2419), which has agreed upon the role of youth in achieving Peace, Security and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Globally, youth aged 15-24 represent almost 20% of the population, and whilst they are still in school, youth have spearheaded revolutions, overturned governments. led protests and created entire music careers for singers such as Cardi B.
This series of publications will represent Youth Voice on Youth Issues and we are proud to introduce you to our head of Public Relations, Maryam Al Sada, and her deputy Taraf Jaro. Maryam and Taraf will feature monthly issues and articles that represent youth issues from around the world. Maryam is a high school senior at Vision International School, and is also serving as a conference coordinator at the Qatar Leadership Conference 17-19 October 2019. Taraf Jaro is a high school senior at the American School of Doha. We hope you enjoy this article introducing them to you all!
Tell us about your childhood- what was your first experience with leadership and what did you think about how you performed?
Maryam: When I was a young girl, my teachers told me I had a leadership personality. I didn’t believe them at first, but I started to see myself taking the lead in class, helping my classmates forward and asking the tough questions, acting on behalf of my peers in class.
Taraf: I took on my first leadership experience in the third grade for a club at my elementary school called Junior G.E.M.S. (girls excelling in math and science). It was founded by a teacher at my school who recognized the lack of female representation within STEM careers and wanted to empower young girls interested in science and math to embrace that passion and turn it into opportunity and success.
How did you first hear of MUN?
Maryam: Like most of us, I heard of MUN through my school
Taraf: When I was in middle school, a group of high school students spoke about MUN during an assembly to introduce the Middle School MUN club at ASD. They described it as ‘a chance to debate about global issues and come up with our own solutions on them’, which intrigued me and inspired me to attend the first meeting. As a grade 8 student, MUN was one of the only ways I felt I could be educated on current events around the world and project my voice to make an impact even at a young age. This still resonates with me today, and is one of the main reasons I’ve been invested in MUN for 5 years.
If you could speak to yourself aged 11, what advice would you give yourself?
Maryam: Stop being stubborn! I had perseverance in the wrong places, I didn’t like hearing no, and I wanted to prove them wrong. As I matured I realised that not all cases can be treated the same way.
Taraf: I would tell myself to keep up with my Arabic and to believe that you will one day be a doctor!
Where were you last happiest?
Maryam: Every day I find happiness, each day brings me happiness. We celebrated our seniors graduating from our school, which was so enjoyable and fun.
Taraf: I’m happiest when I’m with my family, surrounded by the people I love is what brings me the most joy out of anything.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Maryam: I draw inspiration from my greatest role models, my parents. They are so patient, helpful and kind, and they push me to do my best. I also draw inspiration from H.E. Ms Lolwa Al Khater, official spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. her education, her perseverance and her experiences as a Qatari woman really inspire me.
Taraf: My parents—they have the strongest work ethic and dedication that I very proud to look up to. When my brother and I were aged 2 and 3 respectively, they travelled to the United States to complete their postgraduate degrees. They show the highest level of determination in everything they do that has always pushed me to go the extra mile in everything I do and never settle for less. Watching my parents constantly put in effort for our family so that my brother and I can be successful is what drives me every day to excel and make them proud.
Which famous living person would you love to have dinner with and why?
Maryam: H.H. Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani- he is a real inspiration for the Qatari people.
Taraf: Mae Jemison— a physician, engineer, and the first African American woman to travel to space. Given her background and experience, I would love to know how she was able to overcome challenges such as societal stereotypes to get to the STEM-heavy career she leads
Who are you looking forward to interviewing and why?
Maryam: I would love to interview people in the medical field, since our next THIMUN Qatar conference is focused on SDG Good Health and Well Being.
Taraf: I’m excited to interview politicians working directly in fields relating to, for example, the Palestinian crisis. Getting a first hand account on current events and viewing them from new and unseen perspectives is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most from this experience.
How do you feel the press in Qatar represents student voice?
Maryam: I think that Qatar’s media represents the youth really well! We need more of a media platform to tackle the issues of the youth.
Taraf: Media across the world, until recent years, has been created by and oriented towards adults. However alongside new innovations in Qatar, I believe student and youth representation in the media and press has escalated greatly in recent years. Social media has played a big role in this growth by catalysing it to reach a greater audience, and I speak for all students when I say I greatly appreciate how media outlets such as AlJazeera and Qatar Foundation have been highlighting youth efforts and initiatives aimed towards creating change
What do you wish you could highlight to all of the THIMUN Qatar family?
Maryam: Many people view diplomacy as boring and formal, but I think of diplomacy as an art! You have to think of how your words impact the issue you are discussing.
Taraf: Throughout our time with THIMUN Qatar we’ve been blessed with all the resources and exposure necessary to establish global mindedness and create change. Therefore what determines the extent of our impact is how well we execute our initiatives and the amount of effort we put forth in doing so. As part of the THIMUN community, we all know the world’s most prominent issues and have come up with our own solutions to resolve them, but what steps are you taking towards an impact to eradicate these issues?
What’s the biggest misconception there is about being an Arab girl?
Maryam: That we shouldn’t be underestimated! We should pursue our passions, because if we work with our passions we will be offering a priceless service to our community.
Taraf: One common misconception about girls and women in the Arab world is that we have very little choice in our lives; that everything is decided for us by our parents and family as a result of certain beliefs and values and we get almost no say in their course of action. This may have been partially true for prior generations and unfortunately is still a reality for many girls around the world, but we have more independence now more than ever. There are female Arab doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, etc. all around the world, and we’re constantly building up our representation on our own despite the barriers.
Describe yourself in three words.
Maryam: Persistent. Passionate. A Leader
Taraf: Analytical, meticulous, and conceptual