The Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, delivered the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of Georgetown University in Qatar’s (GU-Q) annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference at the Qatar National Convention Center on February 21, 2019.
The four day conference, which brought together over 350 high school students from schools in Qatar and around the world, was held under the theme “Diversity and Integration in a World of Conflict.”
Organized by students at GU-Q, the MUN allows young delegates to serve diplomatic roles in a simulated version of the real UN, providing them an opportunity to debate current global issues and gain insight into the world of international politics and decision-making.
“I was honored to give the keynote speech at this year’s Model United National conference at GU-Q. I hoped I encouraged those in attendance to recognize sport’s power to help find solutions to the global issues being discussed and to integrate sport into their thinking over the course of the conference and their debates. I wish them all a productive few days and hope to see them all back here in 2022,” said Al Thawadi, who is tasked with ensuring that infrastructure and development projects are delivered in readiness for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Prior to this appointment, he served in the role of Chief Executive Officer in Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup to the Middle East for the first time.
The young delegates tackled topics taken directly from the headlines including the persecution of Muslim minorities across the globe, female education in post conflict zones, economic instability in Venezuela, civil war in South Sudan, and nuclear proliferation.
Students from 31 schools in Qatar and 15 schools from around the world participated, representing Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, and other nations.
Dean of GU-Q, Dr. Ahmad Dallal, also spoke at the opening ceremony, where he urged the assembled students to embrace the shared responsibility of leadership as they prepare for the future. “We hope during your time here you learn not just about the process of global decision making, but also about negotiating from both a position of weakness and a position of strength, and learning where compromise can lead to shared gains. You represent the youth of the world, leading by example to weigh in on some of today’s most pressing issues.”
The program included a Culture Night held on the GU-Q campus on February 23 to celebrate the students’ cultures and traditions, followed by the closing ceremony on the following day.
The event, now in its 14th year, is the longest-running international MUN conference in Qatar, and represents the culmination of months of training and preparation by delegates and advisors. Prior to the conference, GU-Q organized multiple training sessions for local schools to prepare local students for the intense negotiation exercises of the MUN.