The QLC began with great poignancy, encompassing themes of impeding journeys, anticipation and, of course, leadership. Anticipation is an ambiguous feeling; it can contain undertones of a variety of emotions, from trepidation to excitement and, today, the participants of the QLC experienced the full range as Secretary General, Arsalaan Muhammad, reminded us of the gargantuan task ahead of us as the next generation of world leaders; journalism professor, Andrew Mills, imparted the advice and knowledge he has gained from his own exposure to confronting and embracing his fears and; Head of THIMUN Qatar, Lisa Martin, shared her past experiences of the QLC and its humble beginnings as the brain child of Mr.Cameron Janson.
Backed by his history of journalism, a field that requires spending as much time as possible outside ones comfort zone, Andrew Mills, shared an evocative, revolutionary tale of his two month canoe journey across the Arctic; a journey that propelled his life along a course that constantly motivated him to pursue what he fears most, from telling his father he had chosen a career in Journalism to quitting a prestigious position in one of Canada’s top newspapers in order to set up a new life as a Middle East correspondent.
He embarked on this journey at age 17, back in 1997, whilst we, the current participants of the QLC, were all either developing or recently developed fetuses, still on the journey towards body-hood. And now, at the age of setting off across the arctic of beginning life away from home with scarce knowledge of what our futures hold and many choices ahead, we are approaching a time of great trepidation in our futures; soon we will become, or in many cases have already become, the leaders we look up to and respect. As Arsalaan Muhammad, a shining example of leadership in himself said, “the QLC is important because it creates a unique space where participants can build skills that will develop them as the leaders of tomorrow- skills that will be essential to solving the ever-present challenges humanity currently faces, from the onslaught of Gaza to the continuation of the Syrian Civil War.”
These speeches strongly affected those privileged enough to hear them, from the teacher sitting next to me, whose little gasps of awe and relieved laughter peppered the presentation, to Shanthanu Rao, a participant, who as we filed out of the hall gushed, “Andrew Mills had inspired me! My future has always been that white collar authoritative figure he described but I’ve realized now that if you’re not exploring and discovering new things then you’re not pursuing your future so now I’m thinking I’m going to go ahead and do journalism, as I’ve always dreamed.”
So, for the coming three days and the years that lie ahead of you, in college and in adulthood, continue to head towards your fears and remember the wise words of Andrew Mills, “If you don’t find yourself outside your comfort zone, you’re doing something wrong”.
Written By: Anisha Pai