A tale of an admin turned Secretary-General of THIMUN Qatar 2016. Adeeba Ahmad talks about peacemaking and MUN community service in this interview.
Kymberley: Why did you join MUN?
Adeeba: Surprisingly enough, I did not join MUN as a delegate. I was an admin, in grade 8, my brother became secretary general for THIMUN Singapore and he convinced me to join MUN as well. Initially, like most delegates, I joined MUN because I thought it would look good on my resume, but most people will realize that you don’t need to do more than a few conferences. But, the first conference I went to as an admin, I saw the debate and it was amazing. The debate in Environmental Commission was exciting. The next year in Grade 9, I signed up to be a delegate. That really set off my MUN career, eventually, that’s how I became Secretary General for THIMUN Qatar.
Kymberley: How did you feel when you found out that you were selected as SG for THIMUN Qatar?
Adeeba: I think that because I’m been doing it so long and working my way up, I was anxious. It was nerve wrecking when I was going through the application process. When I first heard that I got the position, Ms. Martin gave me a phone call and she said “Adeeba, do you accept your position as SG?” I was in awe and said yes. But, after that,I was in shock for a few hours because I just couldn’t believe it.
Kymberley: How do you feel about the Qatar Leadership Conference (QLC)?
Adeeba: I’m an advocate for the QLC, I think it’s an amazing experience and there’s so many different speakers that come from different parts of the world. It’s not always about MUN, many of my friends who don’t do MUN and they attend the QLC because the workshops there are extremely thought provoking. There’s so many workshops on leadership and on peacemaking. I think that’s why it’s been so successful.
Kymberley: MUN has been criticized as a sport for the rich and elite because of expensive conference fees and superficial debate, meaning that MUNers in LEDCs do not have much access to the MUN world. What do you think about this?
Adeeba: MUN has mostly been for the privileged children because of its expensive fees and it shouldn’t be like that. Personally, I believe that MUN should be available in every school and available to every child, however the current situation doesn’t make it like that. There’s why we have programs like the Afghanistan Initiative. Also at THIMUN Qatar this year, we’re having delegates coming from Sri Lanka and from Palestine.
Sadly, it’s impossible to bring every underprivileged child to THIMUN Qatar. Personally, I do believe that as delegates, we do like to debate and use our research skills. But we don’t focus on the actual social aspect of THIMUN Qatar. When you’re surrounded by other people of different backgrounds and representing different ideas, the point of Model United Nations is to give an opportunity for nations to sit down and negotiate, to put aside our differences in order to make peace. This kind of open-mindedness that MUN encourages is the most important thing that any delegate can take away from any conference. That kind of environment should be available to every student in the world.
Kymberley: What does THIMUN Qatar do in their service initiatives?
Adeeba: THIMUN Qatar began a program with a sister school in Sri Lanka a few years ago. The school was hit by the 2004 Tsunami, since then, the sister school has been struggling to provide education. But THIMUN Qatar began a program called QA Action where students would fundraise to support our sister school in Sri Lanka. The students from that school are coming to THIMUN Qatar this year. There are other similar programs happening in Palestine and Afghanistan.
Kymberley: Over the course of your MUN career, you must have met a lot of inspirational guest speakers and MUNers. Who would you consider to be the most influential MUNer you have met?
Adeeba: That’s a difficult question. There are so many names. One person that I thought of was my deputy secretary general. He goes to Doha College and his name is Thurshan. An interesting thing about Thurshan is that his family had escaped from Sri Lanka as refugees. He gave a very touching speech at DCMUN, a powerful speech on that experience and his high school MUN career. Personally for me, I felt surprised, it really opened up my eyes.
Kymberley: What makes THIMUN Qatar stand out?
Adeeba: Besides the sheer scale, I think it’s the multiculturalism. Qatar’s almost in the center of the world, we’re in between the Western and Eastern hemisphere, especially where there’s recent conflicts in the Middle East going on. Most of my friends have ties to actual issues that are debated here. Every delegate comes out of the conference feeling they really opened up their eyes.
Kymberley: What advice do you have for MUNers?
Adeeba: At some point, you will struggle with research, with realism, with country representation. Don’t forget that MUN is about negotiation and solution finding. Don’t put aside a solution for the sake of your pride. Remember that you’re here to make peace.
Photo credit: THIMUN Press Team