Following an invitation from the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage in Qatar, students of Stenden University
Qatar, officially represented the Qatari higher education institutions at the 8 th Model United Nations Conference
held in Bahrain at the end of November 2012. The team of Stenden University was one of two teams selected
for participation. Mr. Kody Gerkin, lecturer of the foundation program offered at Stenden University Qatar
coached the team of four Qatari students.
Representing Japan in the United Nation’s International Atomic Agency is not part of a Stenden University
student’s normal weekend routine. Neither is giving a speech in front of one hundred other college students
about Qatar’s policy on human trafficking. However, that is exactly what two of Stenden University Qatar’s
sutndets, Hamayan Al Shereem and Mohammed Kafoode, did at the end of November at the Bahrain
University’s 8th annual Model United Nations Conference in Manama, Bahrain. The other two members of
Stenden University Qatar’s MUN team, Maryam Al Nasr and Ahmed Fareed, were busy as well. Maryam
represented Togo on the top-secret United Nations Security Council, and Ahmed was pulling double duty,
representing South Africa in the committee on environmental and social issues and representing Tunisia at the
Model United Nations General Assembly.
The four person team from Stenden University had been preparing for the conference several months,
participating in training sessions and researching their individual country assignments for the Model United
Nations (MUN) event. “The students were prepared when we arrived in Bahrain,” said Kody M. Gerkin,
the coordinator of Stenden University Qatar’s MUN team. “They worked hard preparing and felt they had a
competitive edge compared to many of the other teams who travelled to Bahrain for the conference,” he said.
During the two-day conference, Stenden University Qatar students gave impassioned speeches and worked
on their public speaking skills to convince delegates from other countries to agree with their country’s views.
Hamayan Al Shereem, who represented Japan in the IAEA, spent her time trying to convince the other members
of her committee that more needs to be done to safeguard atomic facilities against the kind of disaster which
occurred last year in Japan’s Fukushima power plant. Hamayan’s task was to represent the view of Japan and
make sure Japan’s voice was heard. Much of this debating takes place in “informal caucus sessions” where the
different delegates speak informally and debate which topics to include in their “resolutions”, which are similar
to laws passed by the United Nations..
Ahmed Fareed after working to pass one resolution in the Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC, decided
to move into the General Assembly, even though it meant representing a new country, Tunisia, which he hadn’t
researched beforehand. “The General Assembly is where all the action is, they seem to be more focused on
getting things done rather than just talking in circles”, Ahmed said. During breaks in the General Assembly
session he was frantically looking up articles on his smart phone so he could be more informed about Tunisia’s
stance on various issues.
Maryam Al Nasr, who represented Togo, was interviewed by the Bahraini newspaper, the Gulf Daily News, and
the entire Stenden University MUN team was excited to see her name in the paper the following day. According
to the article, the top thing Maryam will take away from the experience is “how to properly structure and
present and argument.”
Another delegate from Stenden, Mohammed Kafoode, felt very proud about the time he spent working and
preparing for the conference. “I did it!” he said, grinning widely after he delivered a speech he had been
revising right up until it was his turn to represent Qatar in front of the General Assembly. After the speech, it
was time to get back to his seat and start passing notes to potential allies. After speeches, “runners” take notes
from one delegate to another as countries try to make alliances before they go into an official caucus. “The
speeches will tell you who agrees with you,” Mohammed said, “but after, when you talk to people, you find out
which delegates will help you try to win, to get your ideas in the resolution,” he said.
The event, held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Manama, Bahrain on November 29th and 30th, 2012, was considered
a success by the Stenden University Qatar delegation. “All of the students hope to practice throughout the
year and come back next year even more prepared, “Kody Gerkin said at the conclusion of the event. Stenden
University Qatar officials were also pleased with this year’s participation. They noted that they were thankful
for the support of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage in Qatar and hope to make Stenden University
Qatar’s participation in the conference and annual occasion.
Follow us on our social media channels: