THIMUN Qatar’s panel in Milan highlighted the skills that students gain as Model United Nations members – and how they go beyond debating and public speaking
The need to give power to young people by educating them and motivating them to make a change has been emphasized by students from THIMUN Qatar as Qatar Foundation joined the Youth4Climate conference in Milan.
It doesn’t cross anyone’s mind that food wasted can actually be given away to someone in need. That mindset doesn’t exist
Based on the theme Nothing About Us Without Us, the students from the Qatar Foundation-led initiative advocated for the role of youth in leading climate action at the global conference, explaining how young people can be real changemakers, and that they should be given a seat at the table and be heard.
Addressing an audience question on food wastage, students explained how the Model United Nations’ (MUN) Global Act with Impact Award (GAIA) framework can offer real-world solutions. “When addressing a solution, our framework guides us to investigate, plan and prepare; reflect; and demonstrate,” Kayana Elmaadi said.
“When we investigate an issue such as food wastage in a country like Qatar, we see that most people live a privileged life. This means when someone runs out of food, they can always go and buy some more food,” Muhammad Alif Naufal said.
“It doesn’t cross anyone’s mind that food wasted can actually be given away to someone in need. That mindset doesn’t exist. And so, to address this issue, realistic solutions should be implemented – one based on budgets and how applicable the solution is.”
Why can’t restaurants collaborate with organizations who can collect clean and good leftover food to be distributed to different communities?
As fellow THIMUN Qatar member Nathan Wijayaratne said, finding solutions is not just about individuals, “Restaurants also waste large quantities of food,” he said. “Why can’t restaurants collaborate with organizations who can collect clean and good leftover food to be distributed to different communities?
“This is where the element of reflection – from the GAIA framework – really shines. And it’s not a Qatar-specific issue; in fact it is an issue that is seen in most developed countries.”
The THIMUN Qatar students – including students from Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Academy Doha – along with 400 young climate champions from the 193 member countries of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change came together in Milan from September 28-October 2 to participate in working groups with their peers from around the world and develop concrete proposals to be presented to ministers attending the Pre-COP and COP26 global sustainability summit. THIMUN Qatar is a program that operates under Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education.
These are thinkers looking to disrupt existing options to make them more effective and better
At the panel, students took turns to explain their community projects that align with different United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The purpose of showcasing these environment-focused projects was to make the audience aware of how THIMUN equips its members with skills that extend beyond debating and public speaking, and that MUN builds innovative thinkers.
“MUN empowers original thinkers. People don’t only come up with new ideas but work to enhance existing ones. These are thinkers looking to disrupt existing options to make them more effective and better,” Xiangtong Liu said.
According to Naufal, MUN is a platform to implement change. He says a large part of the team’s work is to create and execute local, and sometimes even global, projects that are completely student-led. “We come up with the projects, we find solutions to implement, because at the end of the day, we are the ones benefitting from this.”
Student projects such as RENGEN based on solar energy, tree planting initiatives, projects on renewable energy are not something that students can run all by themselves. This means they need to collaborate with external stakeholders and “therefore, MUN is really a place where students can learn advocacy skills, run their own projects and at the same time pick up communication and collaboration skills,” Naufal said.