Ready for the ride: #QLC14

Arsalaan Muhammad is the Secretary General of the third annual Qatar Leadership Conference (QLC). Arsalaan gives us a quick snapshot of what lies ahead.

This year's SG for the QLC, Arsalaan Muhammad
This year’s SG for the QLC, Arsalaan Muhammad




It’s that time of year again. As we advance towards the inauguration of another school year, we not only approach the whims of Shakespeare, or the philosophies of Pythagoras; we come to a crossroad where we have the fortune to take advantage of opportunities coming at a time in our lives where we can improve both our inter as well as intrapersonal skills. One such prospect is the third annual Qatar Leadership Conference. The Qatar Leadership Conference is largely a conference for those who want to refine their skills. These skills could come under an umbrella of items such as skill building (e.g. debating techniques, resolution writing, becoming a leader), organization, community and service, and even film and media! There will be over 100 workshops, which are designed to bring out the best in you! We have international as well as local presenters, both adult and students who will present a variety of workshops to help you not only become the best delegate possible, but to become a more complete person.

To shed some light on a few of our featured speakers, it would be best to start with discussing one of this years underlying themes for a few of our discussion panels: war and conflict. In our times, we are facing multi-layered predicaments. From the onslaught on Gaza, to the continuation of the Syrian civil war, we have seen society slowly fall to its knees. Keeping this in mind, we had the honor and privilege of inviting those who have withstood times of despair and agony, and who continue to tell their stories, with people such as Dr. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, a professor of international relations and diplomacy at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, Syed Ali Zahir Moulana, the chief broker for the 2004 peace deal between the Eastern Province Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government, as well Ben Keesey, the current Chief Executive Officer for the Invisible Children, Inc., known for the documentary KONY 2012 as well as their successes in raising over $70 million for its development programs in Central Africa. The aforementioned are a few of the many accomplished speakers who will be presenting at this years conference. We will have speakers who will discuss everything from debating techniques, to the process by which peace is made, to even discussing the current Palestine-Israel issue from those at the heart of the conflict!

As a 17-year-old senior at Qatar Academy, I will be serving as this conference’s Secretary General. My role in general is to provide participants the opportunity to get the best out of themselves, by ensuring that our conference runs as smoothly as possible. However I am not the alone on the job. I have a team that comprises of five very talented members, namely Tamim El Moatassem, Maha Al Kaabi, Temitope Akinade, Mohammed Fanzil Feroz and Nikita Coutinho, who will be serving as Deputy Secretary Generals, respectively. We have worked tirelessly, yet almost seamlessly to acquire dealings, from upgrading the capacity of this year’s conference, to bringing in only the finest speakers, our actions have been driven to ensure that participants go away with more than just the average experience. Our goal as executives is to serve you, the future leaders of tomorrow, with a platform of ideal workshops that you can thus build on to make you into the best that you can be.

This year’s conference is ensured to be an action packed escapade, and so I ask only one thing of you: expect high, and hopefully, by October 16th, you will be ready for the ride.

On the Path to THIMUN Q 2015

This post is brought to you by Osama Ghani, Secretary General for the 2015 THIMUN Qatar Conference

Osama Ghani-Path to THIMUN Qatar photo

Sixteen hundred participants sounds like a lot. But the work that goes into these 1600 participants is much more than a lot. Since April, the THIMUN Qatar Executive team has been working hard and has hit the ground running. Our biggest recent achievement was the selection of student officers for the conference. While munching over pizza, we came up with a strict rubric of criteria that served us well during the selection process. One week to sort through and debate eighty-eight applicants. A number of meetings were held, until finally we were able to choose our selected forty-two. After evaluating just 88 applications, we were tired. I seriously started to wonder how college admissions officers sifted through piles ten times larger.

After selection, we begin the training stage. At this moment, the Executive Team is gearing up for the Qatar Leadership Conference. Here, our selected chairs will be subject to a 3-hour training programme.

The next victory was the assignment of delegations to various schools. Taking into account the preferences of a number of local and international schools simultaneously is quite a daunting task. Luckily, I was spared the actual task of assignment but rather looked over the draft assignments to fix out kinks.

The press, I.T. and administration teams have been working hard as well. The press team met recently to appoint members to the different organs of the press. I.T. will practice their skills at the Qatar Leadership Conference, in preparation for the THIMUN Qatar conference. Administration team has started considering applications and is using the Qatar Leadership Conference as a training ground.

New to THIMUN Qatar this year is the Special Committee in Arabic. THIMUN Qatar represents the growing needs of future leaders in the region. Arabic is the most widely spoken language in this region. After a good turnout at the Arabic MUN conference at Qatar Academy, THIMUN Qatar decided to introduce the SPC Arabic. If you’re interested in participating in THIMUN Arabic, make sure you let your MUN Director know so that you fill out the relevant form.

As February becomes ever closer, the Executive team turns to other pending issues. Speakers for opening ceremonies and committee sessions, the social night, student officer hoodies and organization of the opening and closing ceremonies just begin to skim the surface of a rather long and daunting to do list. However, I’m quite sure that this talented group of people will pull through.

See you at THIMUN Qatar on the 3rd-6th February, 2015!

Hundreds of Delegates, 3 Days, 1 Conference

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It’s the final day of THIMUN Qatar 2014 and while most of us are exhausted, delegates just can’t help but admit how exciting it has been.

Age Is Just a Number
One thing that was difficult not to notice throughout the conference is the wide range of ages. During the event, delegates as young as 13 years old were confidently interacting with delegates as old as 19. Don’t judge me, but if I was still 13 and an 18 or 19 year old walked up and spoke to me, I would be extremely nervous; you’d know from my shaky voice and twitching hands.

Dania Dibaje, a delegate from the Disarmament Commission, stated, “compared to the older delegates, it’s very admirable to see how passionate the 13 year olds are about MUN.” That just goes to show that THIMUN Qatar becomes bigger and better every year.

Lesson Learned
It’s inevitable that the delegates will learn something -whether it’s about world issues or how to speak in public. For instance, Teyseer Al-Jailee from HRC2 learned more about “the community and social policies that are difficult for the government to fix”, whereas Yahya Kayyali from HRC1 “gained a little bit more self esteem.” And, finally, Dania is “inspired by the international delegates who are well-trained” and hopes “to be like them one day.” It’s pretty rare to find students who have the ability to influence other students, THIMUN Qatar provides that opportunity.

That Sass
Moreover, some delegates, like Disarmament Commission’s Ahmed Al-Hajari, wish that THIMUN Qatar could be “more than 3 days long to debate resolutions.” However, it seems to me that most delegates usually just look forward to passing distracting notes to one another during debates (I know because I’ve done it).

Speaking of hilarious incidents, Ahmed revealed that a delegate suggested “a way to end cyber attacks is to teach everybody else how to cyber attack.” Furthermore, Azza Abdullah unveiled that another delegate walked up to the podium and said, “this resolution is so amazing, I’m going to take a selfie with it!” and snapped a photo.

Overall, I think I can speak for everyone and say that THIMUN Qatar 2014 was an unforgettable experience.

By Faissal Darwish

Can You Dig It?

By Amin Ahmed

“Never doubt that one person can make a difference.” – Ingrid Newkirk

What is Ryan’s Well?

Ryan’s Well is an organization that has donated millions of dollars towards the global water crisis. Ryan’s Well targets nations with water scarcity as well as nations with unsanitary water by building wells. Providing water for those who can’t reach it empowers the people of these countries, encouraging them to provide for their communities, take action and promote change in the world.

Not just one well — try 750

Ryan’s Well has been working in 16 African countries will be spreading to other continents in the next few months. Ryan’s Well has built up to seven hundred fifty wells, bringing safe water and sanitation to thousands of people. This is done mostly through donations through the website as well as through schools in Canada.

Ryan’s Inspiring Story

Ryan Hreljac, founder of Ryan’s Well, grew up in a small town next to Ottowa, Canada called Kemptville. Ryan recently graduated from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1998, Ryan was sitting in his first grade classroom when his teacher was explaining many in Africa lived in poverty without access to clean water, having to walk hours to obtain a bucketful of water.

Sitting in that first grade classroom, Ryan realized he simply had to take ten steps to reach the closest water fountain. He was unaware that having easy access to water fountains was a privilege unavailable to others around the world. Inevitably, he decided to do something about it.

Ryan undertook extra chores around the house in order to gather the money needed to build a well. At the time he was overflowing with ambition, thinking that one well would solve the problem! He quickly found out this was not the case and began organizing fundraisers at his school, which then expanded to his community and eventually the world.

All this sparked from a six year old’s grade one project.

Make a Difference!

Ryan is an inspiration to anyone willing to make a change in this world. I urge everyone to donate generously to the Ryan’s Well website. Even one dollar could make a difference. Fund raisers are a great way of bringing individuals within a community together and changing the lives of many living in harsh conditions.

In the words of Ryan himself: “Be brave enough to have a naive attitude, to put yourself in the mind of a first grader. Take a small step to do something about it. You never know where it might take you.” The youth, our generation, is the the voice of the future so let’s start digging!

The Question That No One Has the Answer To: Syria

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After two and a half years, the question of Syria continues to linger unanswered by the international community.
January 2014 saw the first potential peace talks between the Syrian government and the National Coalition: one of the biggest steps forward during the entirety of the crisis, as both sides were speaking to each other directly for the first time.

Geneva 2

Geneva 2 was inspired by the Geneva communique which called for bringing about “an end to the violence and human rights abuses.” It urged the “launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”
A huge problem is seen in the different demands each opposing sides have. The government has labelled the opposition as terrorists, legitimizing their actions against them. On the other hand, the opposition call for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.
The leader of the National Coalition has acknowledged the potential these peace talks may have, explaining to the BBC that “today they [the government] had to listen to us and to the voice of the Syrian people.” Never before have these channels been available.
Despite these contradictory beliefs both groups discussed ceasefires, prisoner exchanges, and allowing humanitarian aid to reach those in dire need and finally, the removal of the president.

A Step Forward

The Geneva conference has seen some steps towards settlements. The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Assad government announced that the government would be willing to aid women and children in need who wish to leave Homs if the rebels allowed those displaced to pass. UN mediator for the talks, Lakhdar Brahimi, has highlighted the lack of progress to the BBC, despite this decision made by the government. Nonetheless, he reassured, “there is still hope.”

THIMUN Qatar – GA3 & The Security Council

On Thursday, GA3 had a guest speaker who explained conditions in Jordan where there are over 600,000 Syrian refugees. Mr. Robert Maroni is the Jordan Country Director and Regional Program Advisor for the Mercy Corps: an organization which provides necessities for the refugees in Jordan. They have provided necessities from basics like water to promoting individual developments though computing classes.
The debate in the Security Council also recognized the issue of refugees. For instance, Rwanda puts forward a clause to create a “Syrian refugee fund” whereby member states would provide aid including “non-perishable goods, materials for shelter, [and] financial aid to humanitarian groups operating in Syria.” This clause was passed with 14 votes.
Despite this success, the question of intervention continues to linger at THIMUN Qatar as it has in Geneva.
The delegate of Azerbaijan is against a clause put forth by Pakistan which “demands all military action to be postponed”. The delegate of Azerbaijan has announced that the Assad “government has lost its legitimacy” and that “time for caution is over. It is three years overdue.” Any halts to military intervention “risks us lending legitimacy to a dictator” who is “regaining territory by the hour.”
China opposes Azerbaijan completely. “We want all mention of military intervention off the table. China maintains that the only viable solution is a diplomatic solution and not a military one.”

Will there ever be an answer to this ongoing question of Syria?

By Caroline Nunn
Photo By Upendo Kissai

Deciphering ‘Sustainable Development’

Deciphering sestainable development affifs article by Jeneane
What exactly is sustainable development? The word sustainable is easily defined but the word development is an umbrella of different connotations. What does sustainable development mean to your country? And more importantly, how has THIMUN Qatar aided your country’s progress towards sustainable development?

The Roots
The concept of sustainable development was first developed by The World Commission on Environment and Development, initiated by the General Assembly of the UN in 1982. Their report titled ‘Our Common Future’ published in 1987 defined sustainable development to be:

The ‘ability to make development sustainable — to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

The U.S. National Research Council published a study on sustainable development. Their report, Our Common Journey: A Transition toward Sustainability, focuses on the distinction between what is to be developed and what is to be sustained, and the relationship between the two. The report lists Nature, Life Support and Community as things that need to be sustained. People, the Economy and Society are the report’s suggestions to be developed.

What you have to say
To the delegate of Greece at the 2nd General Assembly, sustainable development means reducing unemployment rate because “it is the only thing holding Greece back from sustainable development.” These resolutions will hopefully give all countries the ability to start moving towards sustainable development.

By Afif Haitsam
Photo By Jeneane Jaber

Sum up your THIMUN Qatar experience in one word…or sentence.

“ Lame, I got a message saying “ Are you a parking ticket cause you got fine written all over you”” – Salma Yousif (ECOSOC)

“ Helpful and educative” Mickayla (ECOSOC)

“Fruitful” – Shazeb Bhatti (GA2)

“Filled with feistiness and sass” – Aden Tedla (ECOSOC)

“Chill” – Saad Al Mana (GA5)

“Good Food” – John (GA5)

“Spectacular” – Abbas (GA5)

“Amazing and worth the wait” – Adeel Ahmad (GA5)

“Mind Blowing” – Faiz (GA3)

“Productive and engaging” – Rifad Lafir (HRC2)

“Fun” – Basil Abdulmonem (HRC1)

“Challenging!” – Hessa Al Kubaisi (Press)

“It’s like home”- Raghad Al Sulaiti (Press)

By Amin Ahmed
Photo By Jeneane Jaber


Greetings Delegates. It is the last day and alas, we shall be parting soon. But fear not, here are tips on how to make your last day memorable:

1. Savor every moment. After adding new friends on whatever social media you crazy youngsters use, they will be nothing more than a blurb on your newsfeed. Better to enjoy their presence now.
2. Be professional! Leave a good impression because Confucius says, “Don’t be a jerk”…
3. Keep the notes decent. This is a conference, not a night club!
4. Attend the social! Finish the conference with a bang in the Torch Hotel. Spoil yourself!

On that note, the Guru hopes everyone enjoyed their time during THIMUN Qatar. Remember to be one with the Press Team and follow us on twitter, instagram, and our website!

The Pacific in Specific

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A glimpse into the life of an advocate, jury and the judge.

One of six vital organs of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, established in 1945, is situated in The Hague (Netherlands) with the responsibility of settling and advising any occurring legal disputes between countries worldwide.

Day 1

8:01 The Presidents, Judges, Advocates and Registrar, all dressed in black professional robes, fill their allocated seats.

After greeting the entire court, the President, Anastasia Botsi, emphasized the professional conduct that must be maintained throughout the hearing by all members of the court. She repeatedly pleaded the occupants of the room to adhere to the rules and regulations of international law. To serve all their experience and knowledge for the sake of peace and unity of the countries involved. And to do so with nothing short of “Respect.”

Peru, represented by Shruti Sudarshan, begins the proceedings with an opening argument with referring to the Declaration of Santiago signed by the participants of the case in 1952. Time and time again she points towards their main concern which is to “ensure foreign fleets do not enter the country and to solve the problem of whaling in the Pacific”

While Peru demands “equitability” with relevance to the Maritime border, Chile demands that Peru’s argument be overlooked as the Advocate of Chile believes that “previous agreements have already been signed in the Treaty of the Pacific in the late 1900s,” stating that “fisherman will lose their jobs and our economy will suffer.”

Day 2

“I solemnly affirm that the evidence that I am about to give shall be the whole truth
as best I know it.”
-The Oath of Truth

10:15 It’s the second day of the conference. After reciting the oath, the witnesses of either sides were called to the floor and examined by the advocates.

Peru’s witnesses expressed emotions of “anxiety,” “terror” and “excitement.” Mostly intimidated by the cross-examination made by Chile’s enthusiastic advocate, Mohamed Sabry, who, according to the Deputy President, Haider Jamal, “kept putting words into the witness’s mouth.”

Whilst Chile’s witnesses were both confident in speech and aggressive in manner to the point where President Anastasia had to repeatedly demand order.

Day 3

9:20 Peru is ready to present its closing argument, standing by its previous statement insisting that the Court takes into consideration Peru’s stance. “How is the loss of 36,000 square km of Peruvian waters equitable results? How is limiting our fishermen’s ability to make a living, due to the provisional line set by the 1954 agreement, an equitable result ?”

Chile then defends its position by stating, “the offer has already been consented on without any objections by both states for the past six decades” and also declares that “beyond reasonable doubts, that the existence of a Maritime boundary is explicitly necessary.”

The Verdict

As this article is going to print, the verdict is still to be decided by the Presidents and Judges of the ICJ. Don’t forget to ask your fellow delegates for the outcome!

By Shahd El Shafei
Photo By Aya Nassif


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Human Trafficking

The United Nations estimates that 800,000 humans are trafficked worldwide involving 167 different countries. This ‘industry’ unfortunately appeals to many people and is increasing rapidly, earning an average of $32 billion a year. Until 2000, there has been no effort in stopping this modern form of slavery. According to Polaris Project, every year, human traffickers make billions of dollars by victimizing millions of people around the world. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.

Strengthening legal measures to prevent human trafficking can allow governments to prosecute more criminals and protect possible victims.

What, How, Why?
According to The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, there are three elements to human trafficking: What, how, and why.

The transportation of human beings, young or old, to other countries illegally, using boats, submarines, buses, etc.

In order for the traffickers to sell their ‘goods’, traffickers often use threats to scare victims. Traffickers can also use force or forms of abduction.

Human trafficking can be used for the purpose of forced labor, slavery, or similar practices.

The Three P’s
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime addresses human trafficking matters through its Global Program against Trafficking in Persons. Majorities of States have signed the protocol, but turning it into reality remains tricky. Very few criminals are convicted and most victims are possibly never identified or aided.

United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime helped advance legislation in many countries, but many human trafficking laws are limited in their application to the exploitation of women. This means that UNODC provides no assistance to people who do not ‘fit’ into this category, such as slaves or women who are subjected to domestic servitude. Without these specialized trafficking laws, victims are endangered to larger insecurities while traffickers face reduced risks and penalties.

Is this the end?
Will these children ever have an ordinary childhood? Will this mistreatment and slavery ever come to an end? Because of these events, have people lost faith in humanity?

By Hessa Al-Kubaisi
Drawing By Aya El-Husseini