If you need definitive evidence that we live in a globalized world, look no further. This past weekend, Hjaelmar Sinke, who will spend half of this semester in Qatar and the other half in South Africa as a part of the Stenden University “Grand Tour” program, represented the United States of American at a Model United Nations Conference in Qatar. Sinke is from the Netherlands.
A first time participant in Model United Nations (MUN), Sinke had prepared to represent Morocco in the Security Council. However, at the last minute, he was asked to represent the United States instead, which he agreed to do. Using skills he had honed mastering the problem-based learning methodology in his courses at Stenden University, he was able to negotiate artfully with both political friends and foes. Sinke contributed significantly to the drafting and passage of a MUN resolution which curtailed the nuclear ambitions of Iran and South Korea while simultaneously reducing American military presence in South Korea and reducing the presence of drones in Iranian and South Korean airspace. For his efforts, Sinke was awarded the top diplomatic award, the “Most Valuable Delegate” award at the conference.
Model United Nations conferences often offer students opportunities to sharpen their research, public speaking and diplomacy skills, in addition to gaining first-hand insights into the inner-workings of some of the United Nations (UN) most important bodies. In this case, over a dozen Qatari-based students represented various countries on the United Nations Security Council, or UNSC.
This conference, however, was a unique crisis committee situation wherein delegates received periodic news updates and leaked videos in real-time. These news stories and videos, which were created especially for the conference and loosely based on real political and social events, had to be taken into consideration during the unfolding crisis. Student’s worked diligently to draft a model UNSC resolution on Iran and South Korean nuclear ambitions.
Stenden University student Shahrzad Bagheri had a unique opportunity to represent her home country, Iran. Shahrzad’s job was tough; she had to convince the MUN Security Council that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were peaceful in nature and that Iran was open to UN weapons inspectors despite the “news reports” and “top-secret video leaks” to the contrary that students were given throughout the conference. Bagheri prepared a brief presentation explaining everything from tectonic plates and fault lines that run through Iran to where Iran would likely test nuclear weapons if they were going to, all in an effort to persuade the Security Council that Iran had not recently tested nuclear weapons. Bagheri was also awarded with a Verbal Commendation by the Committee Chairperson at the conclusion of the event for her valuable contribution to the conference.
Maryam Al Nasr, a graduating senior at Stenden University in Qatar in International Business Management Studies, who was known this past weekend as “The Delegate of Luxembourg”, was inspired to participate through her recent experience representing Stenden University in Qatar as Togo at the MUN Security Council at the Bahrain Universities Model United Nations Conference in Bahrain in November, 2012. Maryam, on behalf of Luxembourg, lobbied with Iran and China to come to an agreement with her European Union and other Western allies, such as the United States. In the end, she was successful.
Carrying home top honors at the conference was a fitting way for Sinke to conclude his time in Qatar. He’ll now be traveling to South Africa for ten weeks of study, and then home to the Netherlands to complete his degree in Tourism and Leisure Management. “It was really a great experience for me, especially as Dutch student who was just here in Qatar for ten weeks on the Grand Tour through Stenden University,” Sinke said. “To be a visiting student, and have this wonderful opportunity and to win the top award for Stenden is really an amazing feeling,” he said. Sinke plans to bring his passion for Model United Nations back to Stenden University’s main campus in the Netherlands. “Hopefully I will see some of my Qatari friends and fellow Model United Nations delegates at European Model United Nations conferences in the future,” he said.
- ILQ News
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