Posted on December 27, 2018

In a world facing the increasing polarization and entrenchment of views and standpoints, the importance of preserving and promoting constructive, open dialogue on a global scale is clear. Qatar recently provided the setting for such dialogue to happen, as the 18th edition of the Doha Forum brought together international experts, academics, politicians, and decision-makers to exchange ideas, build action-oriented networks, and guide policy-making processes.

Held under the theme of ‘Shaping Policy in an Interconnected World’, the event centered around four key areas – Security; Peace and Mediation; Economic Development; and Trends and Transitions – and, as the first Doha Forum to be held following the announcement of the illegal blockade on Qatar in 2017, included a special focus on the current diplomatic crisis in the region.

Central to the forum’s ethos is the desire to drive change, create action, and shape behavior – qualities which are reflected by Qatar Foundation (QF), one of the institutional partners for this year’s event, as well as the umbrella organization for participating entities such as Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Computing Research Institute and Georgetown University in Qatar, one of QF’s international partner universities. Indeed, QF is dedicated to equipping men and women with the tools to create solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. And through its many centers, programs, and initiatives, QF strives to provide opportunities to the local community to become active global citizens.

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A key component of this goal is engaging young people, and last month, ahead of the Doha Forum, QF member QatarDebates co-hosted the inaugural Doha Forum: Youth Edition. Designed to develop the debating skills of participants, the one-day event aimed to drive dialogue that focused on issues trending around the world, such as mass immigration and fake news. As part of its belief in the capacity of Qatar's youth to be change-makers and thought-leaders, QF – through its Pre-University Education mission area – is currently preparing for the upcoming eighth annual THIMUN Qatar conference, taking place from January 22-25, 2019.

The Doha-based Model United Nations (MUN) conference – the largest in the Middle East – will bring together nearly 1,800 students from over 67 schools around the world to role-play as diplomats and ambassadors through imitation sessions of United Nations’ councils, commissions, and conferences, discussing and debating international issues to create purpose-led solutions to worldwide problems. “At Qatar Foundation, we strive to create global citizens, who will become agents of meaningful change and, consequently, the leaders of tomorrow,” says Fatima El Mahdi, Head of THIMUN Qatar.

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“Today’s youth is the future of our world, and by providing opportunities for young people to discuss, negotiate, and debate, through initiatives such as THIMUN, we are helping to catalyze global change, and build a better world for generations to come,” says El Mahdi. This year, the theme of the conference is ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions,’ inspired by UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16). The participants will be debating a range of topics that fall under the SDG 16 – all of which have significant global relevance. Over the last few months, students have been conducting sessions and carrying out research in order to be able to represent their appointed countries.

Additionally, as part of the event, THIMUN Qatar will be partnering with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, which will see many UNODC officials serve as sessional speakers at the event. “Not only will the participants interact with peers from around the world, build new networks of knowledge and perspective, and learn about different countries, cultures, traditions, customs, and beliefs, they will also be given the unique opportunity to learn from the experts themselves: the UNODC representatives,” says El Mahdi.

“Ultimately, the aim of this conference is to serve as a knowledge-sharing platform to educate, empower, and encourage young people to realize their full potential.”

For more information about the upcoming THIMUN conference, please visit: