Qatar International School MUN conference 2019; Supporting Qatar MUN

Snippet of the committee of World Health Organization (WHO)

Qatar International School is proud to have hosted its first internal conference, running from the 28thof February to the 1stof March. With approximately 150 attendees and the majority of delegates being those who have only been recently exposed to the world of MUN, our goal was to create a learning environment in which delegates are motivated to speak fearlessly.

Deputy Secretary General, Diovandi Basheera Putra with one of our keynote speakers, Al Jazeera Human Rights Defender Mr. Hassan El Mogummer. 

In the rise of popular media and the face of an opinionated society, the skills learnt in MUN can definitely transform someone’s ability to rise after their mistakes and failure. This is why we have chosen a theme that embodies the persistence of humanity throughout history: Rising from Our Falls. It highlighted ongoing issues like gender violence, as well as notorious ones like the Iraq Disarmament and the South African Apartheid – both of which were heatedly discussed in the Historical Security Council. 

The Executive Team and some of our Student Officers. 

Model United Nations.. In French.

Sally Sassine and Rayan Aramouni’s mission is to pass down their knowledge and nurture MUNers in becoming great leaders of the future.

The purpose of the workshop was to become familiar with the French MUN. It allowed bilingual MUNers who speak both French and English to have an idea of how they can benefit from both conferences and discover the challenges they could face during both of them. Believing practice makes perfection, Sally and Rayan
have organized a debate. The motion of this debate was unrelated with MUN and focused on different types of education such as co-education but the delegates had to use the MUN methodology to give a good speech. The debate couldn’t be more active and interesting. All participants took part in the debate including Rayan and Sally’s director and the board member of the THIMUN Office and chairman of the MFNU, Alain Meidinger. People were jumping right into the workshop’s debate and energetic in creating arguments on a topic that had intrigued them while using the appropriate MUN methodology.

untitledRayan and Sally are truly honored to be the first people to be entrusted to introduce the French language in MUN and hope they made the same positive impact they have had in previous conferences with their workshop. They strongly believe QLC is be a great platform for young MUNers to exchange ideas and open a fruitful dialogue with professionals from around the globe. They thank QLC for helping them introduce a new language in the MUN world and hope to participate in QLC 2017 with new original ideas to help build the leaders of tomorrow.

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UN websites that delegates need to know about

Most MUN delegates are deep into country and issue research. If you are looking for a few new sources of information, try checking these out!

Human Development Reports  Compliments of the UN Development Program (UNDP)

HD_reportThere is nothing a delegate can debate that can’t find some kind of statistical mention in the UNDP’s annual Human Development Report. This is an amazing compilation  of statistics, everything from internet access per 10,000 people to literacy and infant mortality rates, to number of elected women in government, to the caloric intake of children. It goes on and on and on.  UNDP ranks countries on their development index, but if that is too complicated to figure out, then the charts and charts of raw statistical data make up for it. So if you want to sound smart in committee by , for example, stating the percentage of people in your country living on degraded land and how that compares to other countries in the world, the Human Development Report is where you need to look. Hands down, this is one of the best resources out there for country-specific research and statistical data to back up your positions.

2015 Report: Coming December 14

2014 Report

United Nations Foundation’s UN Wire  Feed your research needs with a steady stream of UN News

UN_WIreThe United Nations Foundation is a public charity that was founded in order to held distribute Ted Turner’s historic one billion dollar donation to the work of the UN. The Foundation supports a myriad of programs, many of which will be familiar to MUN delegates. Of great value is the UN Wire, a daily wire feed of UN news. Getting this delivered to your in box and scimming through the titles of articles is a good way to keep very up to date on the Foundation’s and the UN’s work.

Politically Speaking  Online Publication for the United Nations Department of Public Affairs

WheUNDPA_TUmblr_shotn you subscribe to this newsletter, you will receive periodic email publications with recent news happening in and around the UN Secretariat. You can sign up here! What’s even more awesome is that they have a Tumblr account, a really painless way to get lots of UN news delivered to you via social media.

 

 

 

UN Web TV  Short (and not so short) recordings of all sorts of UN happenings.

UN_TVWhen you listen to some of the meetings, you’ll swear you are sitting in an MUN committee. It’s fun to check out what a real GA committee looks and sounds like. With careful searching you might find a nugget of gold, your assigned country’s rep in some video recorded debate or statement. You can search by topic, or by most popular. Is it any surprise that Psy’s meeting with Ban Ki Moon is the site’s most popular video? Check out minute 6:50.

Have a great website to share?  Email Lisa at lmartin@qf.org.qa and we’ll be sure to share it.

 

 

 

Power Searching: What delegates need to know

It is astonishing, but not surprising, that most delegates do not use refined search techniques when doing country or committee research. Most MUN Directors do not teach them, and I should know. I was one of them.  But the productivity factor of typing in random search terms and hoping for a good hit that will yield what you are looking for is a very ineffective method of doing research of any kind.   Using a couple of simple tools, your search can be refined, yielding higher quality sites and more accurate and relevant information.

Let’s try a simple search on child marriage.  Go ahead and type into your search engine, “Child Marriage”. On any given day, Google will return in the area of 53,000,000 hits. That’s MILLIONS of hits, with most of them complete rubbish. Why oh why do you want to waste your time sifting through this? Obviously, if you were representing India, you could search ‘Child Marriage India’. That would be a bit better, but not really. It would still yield 23,000,000 hits…that’s MILLIONS of hits.

Ask yourself this. If I am at a Model UNITED NATIONS conference, would  searching first on UN websites not be a good idea? The kind folks at the UN churn out HUGE quantities of data, press releases, statistical compilations, resolutions, …….. Might  narrowing your search to look at UN websites be prudent step in the right direction.

Try this: type child marriage India site:un.org.  I’ve bolded the operative term (excuse the pun). Now look at your results. It’s 12,000! THOUSANDS compared to millions. And when you scroll down to see what has been delivered we see lots of substantive and likely very relevant material: press releases, resolutions, UN TV stories, information on the first International Day of the girl child. Importantly, each site is now a UN website, making this the perfect starting point for your research.

Site:un.org is a higher level domain, and it is a great way to search. If I want to find information on child marriage in Jordan, I can search child marriage site:jo.  Jo is the domain for all websites published in Jordan, and if I were representing Jordan in GA2, I would want to check out press coverage from Jordan. Makes perfect sense! And if I wanted to help my friend, representing the United Arab Emirates, I could suggest child marriage site:ae.  AE is the domain for the UAE! further refining of you search terms will further refine the returns.

When you focus your research on substance, instead of reading the same ol’ same ol’ as you sift through 53 MILLION hits, your end product is bound to be better, more relevant, and frankly, it makes you LOOK smarter. Knowledge is power, and in MUN, if you can share facts, statistics and other relevant information from highly relevant and authoritative sources, you will impress your fellow delegates and in turn, bolster your own confidence.

Want to check out a great source on domain names? Look no further than Wikipedia! There, I said it. USE it wisely, but on a page like this, you will get most of your country domain information here.

Reflections: “The woman I am today…”

In our new series, Reflections, working professionals will share their stories on the impact Model UN made on their lives, personally and professionally.  Our first story comes from Alex Lohman, a practicing attorney and former delegate.  Here she touches on the skills that she learned in MUN and that have been valuable in her work as a lawyer.

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As a lawyer, I am often asked to empathize and understand situations that I have never known. During law school, I chose to work in public defenders offices and clinics across the country, defending people who were often already judged by society before they even walked into a courtroom. In my life time I have acquired two speeding tickets and sweat bullets every time a police officer is within 1,000 feet of me. That’s to say, I’m generally not a rule breaker, nor am finding myself in those situations.

I say all of this to highlight one point: my ability to understand and to empathize is one part who I am and another part learned. Learning to understand the world around you from differing perspectives is not something life automatically teaches us. More often than not, we are taught at a young age to be competitive and self-interested so we can go to the best schools, have the best jobs, live in the best neighborhoods, etc. What is outside that we may know from news stories or academia. Beyond those means, it’s difficult to really understand what exists that isn’t already within our own universes.

I stumbled into Model United Nations in High School. Someone told me, “You like to talk a lot—you’re going to love this.” I followed their advice and joined as a freshman, only stopping my participation until I graduated college. At first, I thought it was an interesting challenge, representing another country, learning issues I had never heard of (capital punishment, human sex trafficking, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict). But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was learning to observe the world through a different lens and learning to empathize with cultures, people, issues, that were so very different from the world I knew in Southern California. My very first conference I remember to this day (that being 10 years ago, now): North Korea in the 6th Committee Legal discussing Capital Punishment in the International Community. Talk about an eye opener.

As a lawyer, I am required to be zealous, yet genuine. I have to be honest, yet defend my client at every turn. Sometimes these objective turn out to be competing interests, but that’s why lawyers are lawyers: they find ways to meet all these demands. That is exactly what Model United Nations teaches high school and college students to do. You can open a text book and discuss the competing interests of the United States in Middle Eastern politics or you can get into a simulation and navigate the complexities yourself, constantly under scrutiny from your peers. Without those experiences, I would not understand the research and preciseness of what it takes to be a lawyer. I would not understand that I can have a legal opinion, a personal opinion, and a political opinion, all very different from one another, and still engage with and represent people very different from those beliefs. I wouldn’t understand that in order to live in the world that I want to live in, I can’t stand aside. Whether at home or abroad, I have to advocate and improve what is around me.

I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a positive correlation between Model United Nations and professional success levels of students. I wrote for BestDelegate.com about the practical toolkit that Model UN provides for students of the law – tools that can be applied across many professions. Reading, researching, writing, public speaking, diplomacy; all seemingly generic terms that you really cannot teach someone on the fly. They have to be ingrained and reinforced in order to really have an impact on an individual. I reckon 8 years of Model UN helped me in many ways.

The most important thing I will say is this: to those who might think this program is frivolous or unnecessary: I implore you to see the benefits, not only statistically and pragmatically, but ideologically. Parents and leaders often throw out the phrase, “I would like to leave behind a better world for my children and their children,” into perpetuity. Half of that battle is not only creating an inhabitable and stable world, but teaching future generations to understand that world and the necessity of global cooperation.

If a child or young adult cannot look upon someone they do not know, but see someone they could try and understand, how do we expect them to look beyond the borders of their own lives and into the world of others? How do we expect them to realize that without lending a hand to help someone in need, you cannot expect that hand to reach out to you in return? How can we hope that our children will grow up and share the same sentiment of wanting a better tomorrow if they don’t understand how important the world is today? Without Model United Nations, I would have never learned these pivotal lessons.

In my profession, I am often asked to critique, analyze, and holistically understand “an issue.” But “an issue,” more often than not, is a person; a person in a difficult situation who needs my assistance and is relying on my ability to reason, to understand, and to empathize. I am fairly new to my profession, I will admit, but I’d like to think I’m on my way to becoming that lawyer that other people might need. I do know that I can look at other people and not pretend to know exactly their situation, but I can genuinely try to understand and share in their experience.

At the end of the day, I think I have a couple of gavels to thank for that.

The Results are in: Impactful, Life Changing, and Open to Improvement

The Global MUN survey, the largest of its kind, has recently wrapped up its first submission window, and there are very few surprises for MUN practitioners. The results do, however, allow MUN program developers to make a case that Model United Nations has long term impact on participants.  With just under 1500 past and present MUN delegates weighing in, their collective voice is extremely clear: MUN impacts career choice,  feelings of social identity, helps to develop hard academic skills, and ultimately, impacts career choice. Very few extra curricular programs can make this case.  The purpose of this article is to lay out the findings and issue a challenge to school administrations around the world: if you are not investing in MUN for your students, why not?

The Facts

Before launching into the actual results and drawing some obvious conclusions, here is a bit on the actual survey, which opened on October 16 and closed November 14.  The survey was shared extensively within the THIMUN network, via Best Delegate, MUN Planet, and through individual networks in the USA, Latin America and Asia. Just under 1500 took the survey (1487 to be exact) with 70% being current high school students, 17% in university, and 12% post university/working adults.  This last group was harder to reach, and its one that future surveys hope to target and expand on. Respondents were almost equally split between male and female (49% to 51%), with the largest groups coming from the Middle East (23%), Europe (17%), and North America (18%).  Seventy four percent of students were familiar with THIMUN procedures, with 32% familiar with North American style and 19% with UNA-USA. Just under 7% were aware and knowledgeable of UN4MUN procedures, something that we hope to explore in a future survey.

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The Results

The survey aimed to gauge participant perception, motivation and impact related to MUN, and to gather feedback on the current state of MUN and the direction current and past delegates would like to see MUN develop. Participants also had the opportunity to share their MUN story, something we will profile in a series of blog posts in upcoming months. We’ll also share more of the raw data in the upcoming month, but for now, the most compelling numbers are given here.

Individuals were asked to rate a series of statements related to their MUN participation. Individuals who somewhat or strongly agreed with the following statements are represented below.

MUN_Helped_me_to....General statements about MUN participation (agree somewhat / agree strongly)

  • Developed better analytical skills (39%, 50%)
  • Learned to argue effectively (35%, 58%)
  • Increased self-confidence (31%, 55%)
  • Challenged my own beliefs (35%, 43%)
  • Allowed me to work collaboratively with others (39%, 50%)
  • Became part of a community that meant something to me (27%, 55%)

 

 

 

Participation in MUN helped me to (agree somewhat/agree strongly)

  • Become a better researcher (41%/47%)
  • Improve public speaking (27%, 68%)
  • Understand the workings of the UN (26%, 68%)
  • Develop leadership skills (31%, 59%)
  • Learn about global issues (23%, 73%)
  • Helped me socially (31%, 56%)
  • Understand the importance of collaboration in problem solving (38%, 49%)

These two sections of the survey asked similar questions in different ways, but the striking feedback from participants is that they gained significantly both socially and academically from their participation in MUN.  Over 50% strongly agreed that MUN taught them to be better researchers, public speakers, more in tune with international affairs and taught them leadership skills.  I also believe that a significant finding is that MUN participants felt they understood the importance of collaboration and being part of a group.  MUN touched on the emotive aspects of learning, as well as the academic skills we associate with MUN participation. This powerful combination is why I think MUN is so impactful, as the next part of the survey showed.

 Jobs and Careers: Did MUN Participation Matter?

In the early stages of developing this survey, this question rose to the fore time and again. At the end of a student’s MUN career, did it impact job/career choice? This was the one question many people wanted to have an answer to. And the answer is yes!

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Post university students were asked the following.  Respondents, 162 of them, replied that they agreed or strongly agreed:

  • MUN directly influenced my career choice: (28%, 24%)
  • Opened doors for me professionally (27%, 30%)
  • Taught me skills that I use in my job (39%, 32%)
  • Improved my public speaking which has benefited me in my job (30%, 51%)

Lastly, a whopping 71% of these respondents said that MUN played a significant role in shaping their career and professional life. (Forty eight percent of university students stated also that MUN directly influenced their choice of major.)

Future of Model United Nations

The survey also asked current and past delegates how they would like to see MUN develop in the future. This question dovetailed into a larger question of perception of Model UN: to what degree is MUN elitist or too expensive?  The majority of participants (57%) felt that the cost of Model UN kept the program from growing and expanding, but only 28% of participants found MUN to be elitist.  Support for MUNs in foreign languages (70%), free online platforms like THIMUN Online (48%), and an expansion of Model UN programs into Middle School ( 60%) and a move to make MUN’s more like the real United Nations (61%) were all areas where respondents thought the program could expand..

Future_of_MUN-data

I’ll be publishing some of the raw data in the next week or so and let people judge for themselves.  The survey will reopen in late January and run through the end of February 2015.  It is hoped that more post-graduate MUN responses can be gathered. In the meantime, the evidence speaks loudly that Model United Nations impacts lives, career choice, and influences engagement in global affairs, promotes confidence in public speaking and appreciation of the importance of collaborative work.

All of which sounds exactly what education should be doing for all of our students.

 

 

DCMUN: Being a first time delegate!

Yoogin Kim is a student at Qatar Academy and new to Model United Nations.  Here she talks about how that first day she started as a delegate and the anticipation leading up to it is, well, stressful!

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Even the Big Four had to start at the beginning…as a nervous delegate!

 

I participated to the MUN conference for the first time in my entire life. I was extremely nervous, but excited at the same time. At first, I decided to join just because of the credit I would receive. That was the one and only reason why I decided to do so even though I despised public speaking. Days and weeks passed by, and it was the actual time. My anxiety almost exploded in my head, but I held it in, to not panic. After taking several deep breaths, I got out of the bus then entered Doha College. Delegates from different committees went into their rooms then started getting the resolutions ready. I met new people, and we were obviously very awkward. As we discussed about the resolutions we wrote and shared our feelings of how nervous we all were for the next day, which was the actual conference day, we became closer and knew more about each other. Then the opening ceremony was held.

The next day, as soon as we arrived, we headed to our committee room, then we started to debate! People looked so scary, not to mention the three chairs that were looking at the delegates as if we were their prey. I had to remind myself several times to calm down. There were so many rules to follow and the worst was to not use personal pronouns. That was the hardest one to follow not only for me but for everyone. I ended up asking one question and not speaking up at the podium. Now I regret not talking at the podium. But still, it was a pleasant experience and would remain in my memory forever.

The FIRST MUN conference in my entire life! It was totally worth it. The people who I met, even the horrifying chairs and already-experienced delegates were friendly and funny. I also got closer to my friend I wasn’t that close before, and this conference gave me a chance not only to debate but to interact with people and just, have fun with others I’ve never even met before. The credit wasn’t the only thing I received but also other precious things I wouldn’t have been able to get without this conference.

Why an Olive Branch?

The Olive Branch, the MUN Newsletter of the Middle Eastern region, would not exist without its community. Its stories, columns, photographs, and inspiration are a culmination of contributions by people like you – students and teachers, whether involved in MUN or not. But most of all, the Olive Branch exists for its readers.

How many stories are occurring every day, every minute, RIGHT NOW, that are not being reported? How many stories are not being shared? What local stories occurring in our own schools and backyards are we ignorant of or missing out on because we simply don’t know where to find them, or simply because no one is writing these stories?

The Olive Branch is for people (like you!) who care about others, on a global and local scale. It’s time to be informed and inform others.

This month’s issue features a plethora of stories and reports covering events from the recent Qatar Leadership Conference to the still relevant and urgent question of Syria.

Take a sneak peak at articles brought to you by our very own THIMUN Qatar Press Team members and directors!
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“The Case Against Syrian Intervention”
by Faissal Darwish, THIMUN Qatar Reporter

Eravur: Building a Sustainable Community
by Afif Haitsam, THIMUN Qatar Reporter

The Road Less Traveled: Forgiveness in Leadership
by Sarra Hamid, THIMUN Qatar Deputy Head of Press

“The Press Club”
by Rebecca Cain, THIMUN Qatar Press Director

“The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Telling Stories”
by Lindsay Peak, THIMUN Qatar Press Director

Click here to download The Olive Branch (Oct/Nov)

To contribute stories, articles, photographs, or relevant artwork to the Olive Branch, email info@bestdelegate.com by the 30th of each month.

To sign up to receive monthly Olive Branch issues or access past issues, visit: http://bestdelegate.com/model-un-middle-east/