QF-led virtual gathering of international youth voices focuses on climate action
The world’s youth should “inspire a movement” that drives global action on climate change, delegates have been told as a Qatar Foundation-led international youth conference marked its 10th anniversary in virtual form.
More than 600 young delegates from 7 countries have gathered online this week for the 10th annual THIMUN Qatar Conference, which sees high school students from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe ensure the voice of youth is heard on the most crucial conversations shaping global society.
Under the banner of THIMUN Qatar X – Climate Action, this year’s showcase of student agency saw young people aged from 14-18 participate in simulations of 17 United Nations (UN) forums - discussing and debating issues surrounding climate change, reaching resolutions that will now go before influential eyes, and advocating for causes they believe in.
The four-day conference is organized by the THIMUN Qatar Regional Office – which comes under Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education and was jointly established with the THIMUN (The Hague Model United Nations) Foundation – with the COVID-19 pandemic seeing its landmark 10th edition being held virtually, and each of its committees and commissions being linked to Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action.
Speaking at its opening ceremony, Sama Ayoub, THIMUN Qatar Co-Secretary General, told the conference’s international youth audience that climate events must stop being referred to as “natural disasters”, saying: “It is not natural when science already tells us global warming will induce more intense storms, and when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate.
We must know there will be a green light on the other side of the red light we are facing right now, and I believe that green light is going to be built upon the values we can enact right now.
“Our society cannot afford to procrastinate in tackling climate change. Our society needs to start acting before it is too late. To take action, we need leaders who can inspire a movement – and that is you, as young people. I would go as far as to say young people are the solution to global climate change.
“We must know there will be a green light on the other side of the red light we are facing right now, and I believe that green light is going to be built upon the values we can enact right now – values of fairness, kindness, resilience, respect, leadership, and courage.”
Ayoub’s fellow THIMUN Qatar X Co-Secretary General, Rohan Gupta, said: “I hear well-meaning and well-intentioned adults and diplomats say the youth are the future, but the reality is that the youth are today – we are societal actors, and our actions can effect change. We don’t have to wait until we are adults to make a different; we can start now.
Our generation of young people needs to take responsibility for the world we will soon inherit, and ensure generations to come have a safe world to live in
“The conversations you have this week do not stop here. You need to take what you learn from the conference outside the debate rooms, lift the knowledge you have gained at THIMUN Qatar and the words of your resolutions, and enforce them into action. Our generation of young people needs to take responsibility for the world we will soon inherit, and ensure generations to come have a safe world to live in.”
Simulations during the conference included the UN General Assembly, Security Council, World Health Assembly, Environment Commission, Human Rights Council, and Economic and Social Council. Meanwhile, THIMUN Qatar X also provided a special training conference for those with no previous experience of Model United Nations (MUN) events, and a Directors Training Institute to support more experienced MUN leaders develop the leadership skills of others.
THIMUN Qatar is an extraordinarily unique experience, not only as education for advocacy, but also because we connect you to real-life experiences and skillsets that nobody else can
“THIMUN Qatar is an extraordinarily unique experience, not only as education for advocacy, but also because we connect you to real-life experiences and skillsets that nobody else can,” Fatima El-Mahdi, Head of THIMUN Qatar, told delegates at the conference’s opening ceremony.
“We provide a platform for delegates to debate issues on the agenda and bring in actual change-makers to review those resolutions; and encourage delegates to learn and use the skills they gain at THIMUN Qatar to become advocates and champions causes – student voice.
“And we also connect you directly to youth volunteer opportunities that you can use to learn more about yourself, more about your community, and more about how we can work together to make a better world.”
THIMUN Qatar X sessions can be viewed on THIMUN Qatar’s YouTube channel. For more information about the conference and the initiative, visit www.qatar.thimun.org