Sunday, April 18th, 2021 – Sunday evening saw an excellent weekend of Model United Nations’ conferences and debating brought to a close at Brummana High School, Lebanon. The 5th BHSMUN, an annual school tradition, has grown to include 20 schools from six countries and across three continents. Under the slogan #FreshFacesBetterPlaces, 165 delegates presented and debated on key global topics and challenges, enabling them to draft policies and solutions to make the world a better place, a more equitable, peaceful, just, and sustainable world for future generations. Indeed, as the slogan suggests, having faith in the power of youth allows us all to have hope for the future and in building a better tomorrow.
BHSMUN 2021 was officially opened on Saturday morning at 9:00am, after many months of careful planning by the student executive team and trainers, as well as supporting staff including Mr. Fareed Halabi, BHS Student Leadership Director and Ms. Jina Abou Merhi, BHSMUN Student Leadership Director. Ms. Abou Merhi welcomed all participants, introducing Principal David Gray, who spoke of the significance of Model United Nations presentations and debating at this critical time in the world, and particularly in Lebanon as the country aims to stabilise and recover from the Covid pandemic as well as the current, crippling economic crisis.
In turn, Mr. Gray introduced the conference’s keynote speaker, prominent journalist Ms. Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Beirut Institute, who gave a truly rousing and inspirational speech. Ms. Dergham, amongst many other achievements in her illustrious career, has interviewed several world leaders over the years, including U.S. President George W. Bush, King Abdullah and the late King Hussein of Jordan, multiple other Presidents including Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Natalie Ashkar, BHS IB2 student and MUN Secretary General then declared the conference open, sharing how excited she was for all participants to engage in the activities to come.
This year’s edition saw five debating committees held successfully on Zoom, across a wide range of global topics, with several impromptu crises added to each meeting during the weekend to further challenge delegates. Committees included 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate, United Nations Environment Programme, and Arab League for Education, Culture and Science. The school’s Quaker values of individuality, service, equality, respect, peace and environmental stewardship were all very evident during the full two days of debating. Local and international delegates, whilst representing assigned countries or other roles, presented and debated on very meaningful, impactful and worthwhile topics such as climate change, water resources, and poverty, pulling together policies and proposals for governmental change. For it is in addressing many of these complex, interrelated, global problems, through the perspectives of different nations and/or senior officials, that real learning could take place amongst the delegates and that the next generation can hold the knowledge and skills to effectively lead on challenges locally, regionally, and internationally.
As Principal David Gray often says, “No obstacle is too large. The children are our hope for the future. They are tomorrow’s leaders. Today they need us. Tomorrow we shall need them.”
Miss Ashkar led the closing ceremony, announcing the winners of the various awards available, including the esteemed Secretary General awards given to the leading delegate in each committee. BHS would like to thank all delegates for participating in the full weekend of activities and wish them all the best in their exciting futures. Here’s to a more equitable, peaceful, just and sustainable world for all— #FreshFacesBetterPlaces!