Nayef Al Obaidan- Head of Admin

Nayef Al Obaidan- Head of Admin
Oroni Hasan

 

Nayef Al Obaidan, the head of the admins, has more than just responsibilities. He shares some of his background as a hard-working admin, obstacles he’s faced, his positive experiences in QLC, and some of the things he’s gained from this conference. Without Obaidan’s efforts to guide a smooth conference, we wouldn’t be enjoying QLC very much!

Obaidan has been an admin for many MUN-related conferences, and is fully committed to his duties. He has faced the challenge of being involved in constant work and follow ups. Using his admirable organization skills and his natural leadership skills, Obaidan has also been able to guide the admin team, who are responsible for maintaining the order of the conference and assisting people around the building. He compliments the hard work of the admins and says that without their efforts and hard work, “no conference would be able to succeed so smoothly and precisely”.

Furthermore, Obaidan also shares what he appreciates most about QLC. He admires the fact that people of all ages from so many different cultures and regions are able to present in this conference and teach us about their perspectives and experiences. The collaboration and exchange of ideas can teach us valuable lessons, and is what makes this conference so beneficial.

While Obaidan does enjoy his time in QLC, he mentions some of the challenges he has to face. He utters about how being in charge of everything can be overwhelming. Preparing for the conference involves plenty of time management, organization, and planning. Being the Head of Admin is a lot of work, and we don’t blame him for feeling overwhelmed!

Obaidan also mentions some of the benefits he’s gained from this conference. He mentions that he used to be shy and reserved, and that by being perseverant, he’s been able to gain more communication and leadership skills. He’s become more confident and decisioned during complex and irregular situations. With lots of personal experience in these kind of conferences, he’s become proficient enough to become Head of Admin, which we praise him for.

 

The Effect of Media on the Youth

Effect of Media On the Youth
Oroni Hasan

 

Exposure to media is challenging to avoid in these present times. With the fast pacing development of technology and ongoing world politics, it’s no surprise to see a device held in everyone’s hands. The older generation of our society is generally less prone to being affected by media, for they’ve lived the majority of their life with primitive technology and are more accustomed to it than today’s advanced digital world. Meanwhile, our newer generation has been exposed to advanced technology and media for most of their life and are consequently more affected by it. Media is a big part of our lives, and without it we feel lost and oblivious to what’s happening in communities and around the globe. Yet, there are both advantages and disadvantages of the youth’s fixation with technology and exposure to media.

The first advantage of media on the youth is that it raises awareness of the situations on the earth. While books raise awareness of situations in more depth, digital media is more updated on events. The youth gets to discover situations that are happening around the globe instead of the events taking place inside their home. It teaches them all the political, economical, environmental, technological, and military occurrences and news around the globe. There’s no doubt that media has also been teaching us the most fundamental pieces of our knowledge and skills, such as collaborating and engaging in online organizations, or the little comment threads and tweets about news.

Secondly, media gives us an opportunity to expand our social and communication skills. If some people are socially awkward, media will give them social support and will allow them to adapt to the society better. Hence, it will boost their confidence and encourage them to communicate their ideas, which is a skill that is beneficial in all areas. Plus, media allows us the connect with long distance friends and contact emergencies quickly, which shows that media is a crucial feature in our lives.

Despite the advantages of media, many disadvantages come with it. Firstly, offensive and violent media, which include video games and movies with scary genres, has made the depiction of violence normal for many children. This sometimes perplexes them and makes it challenging for kids to distinguish between the real world and fantasy world; hence, it makes them more prone to being aggressive.

Furthermore, media tends be very commercial these days. Companies aim at children and teenagers because they are innocent and are easier to manipulate. When youngsters see a new product, they believe that they must buy it in order to be happy. Thus, it makes them think that consumerism is happiness

Another disadvantage of media is the physical and emotional pressure it implements on young people. Media networks create their own depiction of superficial beauty, which stresses young people out by convincing them that they must look like that model on the magazine cover, or else they’re not beautiful. This has led to youngsters, mainly teenage girls, into getting eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, and getting emotional breakdowns. Also, many children are so fixated with media that they don’t move around- which leads to the obvious case of obesity.

We can avoid the unpleasant effects of media by limiting ourselves to follow the type of media that will benefit us, such as educational or motivational sources. People need to identify what media is bad and good, and they need to control themselves so that they follow the type of media that is beneficial for them. In the end, avoiding media that will make us feel unworthy will serve us by putting less stress in our lives.

On SDGs and Law

On SDGs and Law
by Rayan El Amine

 

Of the many respected members of the presentation, few are as versed and have as many man hours as the combination that was Gilberto Duarte and Kudzai Mukaratirwa. Often speaking on as complex and controversial a topic as “The Rule of Law”, especially as they link to the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of seventeen different goals reaching over 169 different topics regarding issues for the sustainable development of the world as a whole.

What was quite powerful was their ability to connect both pop culture and pivotal, world-altering decisions in a way that could both engage and keep the audience interested in a topic that could easily get muddled and lost. This began with a scene from the TV show, “13 Reasons Why”, and transitioned further into some existential ideas on law, the people, and how or why governments rule.

The Rule of Law placed itself as the opposite of this idea, a set of laws that exist in order to govern a people, regardless of their ideas, delegations or who they are. They began by establishing that laws need to be publicly available, prospective, understandable, consistent, possible to perform, stable, and enforced by the state. Where Duarte came in was through separating some of the myths that come with the Rule of Law. The first of which surrounded ideas of how Western principles dictate Rule of Law are. Her discussed Ashoka, an Indian emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, on how he changed to become more tolerant of his people. He continued dispelling myths by connecting numerous SDGs to The Rule of Law, specifically SDG4 and SDG 16.

A collaborative group project brought further insight into how the Rule of Law works in the real world. Not only this, but in a display of Mukaratirwa and Duarte’s ingenuity, they added some social commentary onto the relationship between men and women, and the ridiculousness of sexism as a whole. By separating the women and men in a room into separate committees, and forcing the men to argue for their right to education, they forced every individual in that room to understand how difficult it is to not only argue for their rights, but also how important and difficult the suffrage movement was to the advancement of society as a whole.

Beyond relating the Rule of Law to broad subjects as a whole, Duarte strived to make a case for how the Rule of Law should be implemented into our daily lives. He strived to the necessity of Education, and how such an unbreakable, fundamental law should not contradict the value of human lives, rather, it should seek to connect, implement, and further social life, versus the commonly held misconception that the laws as a whole seek to dictate social order and human life.

Duarte ended his speech by pushing students to take hold of the lives in front of them, to grab the presented ideas, to seek to understand what seems complex, and to know that the value of human lives will always, always push farther than the importance of social order. In that laws are created by humans, for the benefit of humans, rather than by humans, to control humans.

Opiate of the Masses

Opiate of the Masses
by Zoya Salahuddin

 

In an ocean of status updates, disappearing photos and news that spreads with the tap of a thumb, getting lost in a world between Instagram photos and your dull, routine existence is almost natural. It is not rare for people to distort their realities with the perfect, untroubled life they live on social media. Frankly, it seems to have become the way people cope with their struggles: by vicariously living perfect lives through their social media profiles, they find solace outside of the chaos and stress in the real world.

 

A simple analysis of the mass media nowadays proves that exposure to it also contributes to our blurred perspectives. When you read a book, or watch a TV show, it is not uncommon for you to think of it as an escape; a way to pass time. It goes without saying, most of today’s generation turn to television when stressed, in order to pull them away from physical existence. In the words of Edward R. Murrow, “TV is the opiate of the masses.” The consequences of such a lifestyle being encouraged are severe – many may begin to view the virtual reality outside of their own as actuality. Some immerse themselves in a world of delusion and lies, unable to control their understanding of existence versus what we see on the big screen.

 

Verily, the concept of social media is enthralling; a pivotal phenomenon in technological development. While it is only natural to want to portray only the exciting aspects of our routinely lives on social media, we must be aware of our reality. What happens when we stop distinguishing real life from fantasy?

Prove What you Speak

Prove What you Speak: Arnav Jain on Presentations and the Art of Persuasion
by Rayan El Amine

 

Part of what makes a conference like QLC go round is the ability for students to step up, and exclaim both their ideas and their understanding of MUN and the real world. Arnav Jain was both an exceptional example of this, and a terrific surprise to all those in attendance. As he spoke on the importance of a formal speech in MUN, on convincing a group of students to believe a certain idea and to speak with poise and passion for this idea, he not only held on to the standards that he spoke of, he went above and beyond.

 

One consistent theme throughout the piece had to do with confidence, and the importance of exuding confidence in spite of your worries. In a further display of humility, Arnav said, “It’s not easy being confident, nobody is ever really confident, I was beyond nervous when I started talking, but I lied to myself and made it in the end.”

 

Perhaps what was most striking about Arnav’s piece was his ability to engage his audience, it is often difficult to strike the balance between the formality of speaking at QLC and the ability to engage a large number of tired delegates. This, often is where adults at this conference seem to lose sight. Arnav, maybe due to his understanding of being a delegate at this conference, or maybe because he has a solid grasp of presentation skills, was able to conduct a powerful conversation on holding a crowd, persuading a crowd, and keeping them in the palm of their hand.

 

On a personal note, Arnav, or Rav as I call him for short, came out of his bubble and demonstrated an impeccable ability to show people both what he cared about, and why he cared about it. A good friend of mine for two years now, watching him open up like this was a blessing, and a gift for me to watch, and I believe truly demonstrates the skills that it takes to succeed in life, and at QLC.

Diplomacy in MUN – Beneficial or Detrimental?

Diplomacy is, quite bluntly, the art of dealing with people in a way where no one ends up getting hurt. At least, not hurt directly. Whether between delegates debating in a conference, or as diplomats negotiating international issues, diplomacy is vital. But to what extent can one be diplomatic while still being able to argue their point? At what point is diplomatic procedure a hindrance in Model United Nations?

 

Anyone who’s been an MUN chair or delegate knows the woes of parliamentary procedure; they have had to swap out their usual conversation cadences for more impersonal tones, as well as carve their arguments into meticulously itemized resolutions. Delegates, especially, might be familiar with the reprimand primed for anyone who loses their composure entirely: “Delegate, please maintain diplomatic decorum.” Still, these diplomatic procedures are essential to a solid traditional MUN debate; they help the chairs to maintain order and keep the debate going smoothly.

 

On the other hand, it could be argued that the lengths needed to go to in order to maintain diplomacy are not all that worth it. Diplomacy restricts those obligated to it to follow specific procedures and formats, which can force the oversimplification of arguments, and the inordinate formalities required of a diplomat can be exhausting to maintain. Furthermore, diplomacy, especially in MUN conferences, encourages that delegates should reach consensuses and seek to improve rather than reject. However, this somewhat dampens the vigor of debate, as delegates work sluggishly to improve resolution after resolution instead of ruling out good from bad. Although this does sometimes lead to more resolutions passing, it can lead to less ardent debate as delegates don’t have to really worry about outright rejection of resolutions.

 

So, in the end, is diplomacy in MUN conferences more beneficial than detrimental? Tedious or not, the answer must be the former, not the latter. Diplomacy is a vital element of Model United Nations, maintaining the order of the debates and keeping discourses civil. It encourages professionalism and formality in delegates and chairs alike, and is what allows conferences to be truly successful.

 

MUN Impact

MUN Impact

The Model United Nations community is an army of untapped foot soldiers, an enormous community of delegates who care deeply about the role of the UN in the world and the mandates it is tasked with carrying out. The MUN community is, however, a diverse one, with regional, procedural and institutional cultural identities that limits interaction between programs.

One thing many MUN programs do care about, no matter their operating procedures or conference structure, is IMPACT: promoting and working to make Model UN impactful for its participants. Impact can be personal, at the delegate level and leading to more informed, more skilled and more committed global citizens, or more outward focused, where MUN becomes a driver for community engagement and a commitment to promote and help the UN do its job. This external focus of IMPACT has many different looks, from a conference measuring food waste and getting participants to change their habits, to a group of MUN delegates who start an NGO in Afghanistan to teach Model UN, women’s empowerment and leadership. MUN programs have been impactful for a long time.  MUN Impact, as a community and movement, aims to focus attention on these practices, and to act as a call to arms for all MUN programs to use their communities to put IMPACT at the center of what they do.

To this end, a group of MUN delegates, directors, and thought leaders, through meetings at the Qatar Leadership Conference, have conceptualized this new community around IMPACT. With your help, we aim to create the following:

Community: Through our presence on social media, we will rally around #MUNimpact, to share stories of the impactfulness of our programs, and to move a conversation on how impact might help unite us in support of UN mandates and goals, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals. Anyone can jump in, initiate, share or join a conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Resource Hub: Through a website ( currently in the planning stages), an MUN Impact blog and website will give us a platform to share stories, and to act as a repository for resources to be shared with others. If your MUN club ran a great service project, you can share that idea so that others might adopt it? If you were inspired to start a Peace Center, tell us how that happened? If you made a commitment that your conference would reach out to under-served students to get them involved in MUN, how did you do it? A resource hub can be a home of MUN initiatives with the hope of sharing our best practices.

UN Gateway: Even though MUN delegates and organizers think or hope they are doing the work of the UN, they often aren’t. Even with good intentions, finding resources, or staying true to what the UN is doing can be challenging. Often UN resources are hard to find, or packaged in a way that make them inaccessible to the general public. The MUN community would also like the UN to know what IT is doing, and to engage in a dialogue so that this army of delegates can mobilize to support the United Nations, particularly in advancing progress around the SDGs. In the months ahead we hope find that entry point, the place where that dialogue and exchange can take place.

Face 2 Face Impact:  We need to find ways to come together around IMPACT. Setting our different procedural rules and MUN cultures aside, we need to find places, events and programs where we can work together, to talk about MUN, but most importantly, to make IMPACT. In the months ahead, we will begin to figure out this important piece of the puzzle. It will be an exciting one!

Right now we are starting where all movements need to start-at the beginning. We invite you to join us and others who are already doing great things and using Model UN to make a real difference in people’s lives. Follow us on social media, use the hashtag #MUNimpact, and sign up here if you’d like to help us in growing this movement.

 

 

MUN Impact discussion takes root at #QLC17
MUN Thought Leaders Summit discuss MUN Impact
Thought Leaders Working Group, committed to making #MUNimpact a reality.

 

What Following Your Heart Can Do

What Following Your Heart Can Do:
Jordan Hattar on Turning Compassion Into Action

by Zoya Salahuddin

 

QLC day 2, when passion and spirit reach previously unattainable heights, Room 105 is already buzzing with enthusiasm. A throng people spill in from the doors, everyone excited to hear how they can work towards making a change, a feat only true leaders can accomplish. Jordan Hattar steps onto the podium, a smile immediately putting the crowd at ease, as he begins his presentation, titled ‘Voices of Syria’.

 

“Because when I ask Syrian people what they need the most, they say it’s someone to tell their story.”

 

He speaks of how his childhood was indirectly affected by Hurricane Katrina, news reports shocking him as he realised that disasters can hit fully developed, modern countries like America, causing suffering nationwide. This leads to him researching about crises affecting society on an international scale, and he is suddenly struck with a drive, the humane need to reach out and help those living less fortunate lives. Soon he is told he cannot physically help the people he learns about, for he is too young and inexperienced.

 

That does not stop him. When I learn about how Hattar repeatedly attempted to work at a Refugee Camp in Syria organised by the UN, becoming a journalist simply to be permitted to do so, I am amazed by his incontestable perseverance and determination. To be wholeheartedly dedicated to such a tiresome and risky task, as well as to remember names, personalities and interests of each member of a family of refugees, as Hattar did, is something so painstakingly human – every member of the audience is deeply touched by his words. He shows us photos of people he has encountered, bringing to light how even refugees have personalities, and display generosity and hospitality despite their dire conditions.  

 

“We are all part of the same shared humanity.”

 

After having worked with numerous influential people, such as Michelle Obama, Hattar maintains a mellow, kind-hearted nature; he speaks with the sincerity and fervour of someone who genuinely, earnestly cares. He tells the audience about a group of students in New York, who ran a fundraising project in order to buy caravans for refugees in Syria. Nonetheless, he points out that months of effort can buy only one caravan, and in the grand scheme of things, that is simply one drop in the ocean. A friend reminds him: “that one drop can be someone’s whole ocean.”

He concludes by informing audience members how they can help: by following their hearts. When such a simple mindset can lead to such great opportunities, painted out by Hattar’s own example, it is essential that we do what is authentic to us – especially in a world where there are many people to tell us ‘no’.

 

“Sometimes, there’s just one person, and that’s you.”

 

MUN Thought Leaders Summit Hosted by THIMUN Qatar

 

Carried forward by the positive momentum of #QLC17, two dozen MUN thought leaders, educators and representatives from the United Nations met at Qatar Foundation’s Headquarters to discuss best practices around the idea of Model UN as an impactful and engaging activity, and to formulate a plan that would allow for a new community to develop around that IMPACT. Lively discussions emerged as participants grappled with how to define impact as evidenced through MUN engagement. It was also an opportunity discuss related topics that often become part of larger discussions around MUN: is it elitist, can it be made inclusive, and is there a way to bring different types of MUN under one community and find areas of commonality instead of focusing on differences.

In addition to thought provoking discussion, participants were treated to a visit to HQ’s 8th floor viewing platform, providing some incredible views of Education City and some pretty awesome photo ops. Qatar Foundation’s impressive and inspiring Headquarters, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, was a fitting venue to bring together such a distinguished cohort of MUN leaders, pushing new boundaries and conceptualizing a new direction for MUN engagement and impact on a global scale.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back and Moving Forward: An Interview with Keynote Speaker Pim Thukral

Looking Back and Moving Forward: An Interview with Keynote Speaker Pim Thukral
Interviewer: Rayan El Amine

Pim Thukral, works as a financial leader at Northwestern University in Qatar, overseeing all operational controls, reporting of procedures, and financial features, ensuring that all systems are set that ensure and facilitate growth at NU-Q. Prior to her work at NU-Q, she was Vice President for Financial Accounting and Systems at Georgetown University, making sure that all the central accounting functions and audits of pieces from the student billing services to the university’s financial systems were in place and working. As the keynote speaker this year, she will be presenting her own personal stories, and how they helped shape her and advance her growth. In this conversation, she presented some background on her story, as well as what she enjoys in a conference like QLC.

 

Could you tell us a little bit as to how you reached your place at Northwestern?

I spent most of my career at Georgetown University in Washington DC in various financial-related positions.  In 2008, I left Georgetown to work for Weill Cornell in Qatar as the Director of Finance and also as interim Director of Human Resources. I really enjoyed my time in Doha and had planned to stay for several years.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how one looked at it, in 2010, I was offered one of those opportunities I could not turn down back at Georgetown.  I left Doha in June 2010 to go back to Washington DC and spent six and a half years working on the implementation of the new financial and human capital management systems and improving the internal control processes at Georgetown University.  In July 2016, I was contacted about an opportunity to come back to Education City and Doha to work for another prestigious University, Northwestern, in the capacity of Chief Operations Officer.  It was an exciting assignment, not only because it would bring me back to Doha, but to expand my portfolio of responsibilities and offer new challenges.   

As an individual in a significant administrative position, what do you think is the value of a strong administration group?

I am a true believer in teamwork and strong and cohesive team.  No matter how good and intelligent a person is, s/he cannot know everything or do everything.  You need a team in which members trust one another and have one another’s back.   The success of the team depends on each member doing his/her part and working together for the good of the team and not for the individual’s personal goal.  The success and failure of one team member is the success and failure of the entire team.

I have been very fortunate that I have been a part of as well as led strong teams where team members have mutual respect, trust, and care about one another.  I can confidently say that all the success throughout my career can be attributable to strong and unified teams.

What are some of the differences working in the States versus in Qatar?

Since I work in an American institution which follows the same policies and procedures as the home campus in the United States, I do not notice many differences between working in Qatar and the U.S. However, there are some differences, one of which is the better work-life balance in Qatar.  I find that most people in Qatar do not work the long hours as those in the States.  They leave work at work and, unless required, they do not read or respond to emails until the next working day.

Another difference is the career progression.  Unlike in the States where one can easily find the next job which offers promotion or career advancement, the opportunity for such progression is limited and sometimes impossible.  Therefore, many people feel they are “stuck” doing what they have been doing, not challenged professionally, and getting bored.  

Since most of the people employed in Qatar are expatriates, the turnover rate is much higher than in the U.S., especially for those who are sponsored by their spouses.  When the employee’s spouse has to leave Qatar due to job reassignment, transfer, or termination, the employee also has to leave his/her job.  This could cause disruption to the operation of the organization or, at a minimum, an inconvenience of having to recruit and onboard a new employee.

How do you think your early experiences in New Orleans brought you to this moment?

Moving to and living in New Orleans certainly taught me many lessons, most of which have helped me throughout my life.  I came to New Orleans from Hong Kong to attend college.  It was the first time I left my parents and being so far away from home, family, friends, and familiar places. I was petrified to be living in a foreign country with no one to help me navigate through life as before. I learned to become independent, self-confident, and self-reliant; to be curious, think on my feet, be flexible, and not be afraid to ask questions.  All of those experiences have shaped me to become the person that I am today.

Where do you think is the value in a conference like QLC? Why does NU-Q support it?

I believe a conference like QLC is so valuable to students who are at one of the most important milestones in their lives when they are trying to decide what they may want to do for the rest of their lives or, at the very least, for the next several years.  It is also the time when they are getting ready to spread their wings and experience the real world outside the nurturing, forgiving, and predictable environment they have known for the first 16-18 years of their lives.  QLC offers variety of informational, inspirational, and helpful sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities to these youngsters with the goals of preparing and motivating them to become successful and productive members of the society and future leaders.

NU-Q recognizes the values QLC brings to the pre-college students and views the event as an opportunity to promote the importance of pursuing higher education and exploring the many career options available to these young adults who represent the future of the country and the region.

 

Why should an aspiring business person come to see your Keynote? What would be their take away?

My keynote will be about my personal experience, lessons learned, and advice that I wish someone had told me when I was at this age and stage of my life.  I will talk about what I believe have contributed to my success professionally and also in some areas of my personal life. My talk is relevant to any audience and the concepts applicable to anyone, not just a business person. I hope that my stories and advice would provide some of the audience with ideas, motivation, guidance, or, at the very least, some pitfalls to avoid.