It’s that time of the year when half of your friends are constantly gone for committee meetings and training sessions, dressing in fancy clothing and missing classes. Another year of Georgetown Model United Nation has passed, continuing the annual Georgetown Qatar tradition that brings together the largest number of student volunteers compared to any other event. In this issue, I talked to Sameera, this year’s Secretary General, to see what she has to say, from what MUN means to her to who was the best dressed. Then, I followed the GMUN staffs to their four days of work to deliver you this GMUN 2019 photo story.
Sameera Al-Haj Abed – Secretary General
You said on Instagram that MUN is the only thing that you’ve committed to for four years. Can you explain why?
I’ve never found a program in Georgetown that really got my attention from the beginning… Back in high school, I would always see the older students leaving for MUN, and I was like “oh my god, I want to be like that. I want to run the show like that one day,” and that’s eventually what I ended up doing.
How long have you been in MUN?
I was in MUN four years in high school. I was actually one of the people who introduced MUN to my school, because our school was still developing at the time. I went to my teacher and I told her “there’s a program called THIMUN and there’s also GMUN”, and now there’s a proper MUN club there.
Did MUN bring you to Georgetown?
It was one of the things that made me realize I’m actually into international relations, specifically economics. Being a part of MUN made me realize that I love diplomacy, the whole professionalism of this job. I love the fact that just by debating or arguing or making a proposal or resolution, I’m making a difference myself. That’s why I was attracted to Georgetown.
How have you grown through MUN?
MUN was the start of me breaking out of my comfort zone in high school. I was very shy. I was very intimidated by crowds. I was comfortable with my friends, but once we were in a big room of people, I would’ve never been able to be outspoken. Going into MUN with my school made me break that first barrier. I started to break out of it more and more, and when I got to Georgetown I’ve became a completely different person.
When they first posted my photo on Georgetown MUN page for the Opening Ceremony, a lot of people from high school messaged me like “who would’ve known!”. Alhamdulillah everything turned out fine.
I used to have the worst anxiety. Now, when I’m speaking, half of my brain is reading the speech, and the other half is like “Keep it in check! Posture!”
How have you learned to be the boss? Especially when you’re telling your friends what to do?
That’s been kinda difficult, but I’m also an older sister at home, so I’ve established that relationship. With my friends, I’m still friendly and consider them like part of my family. My friends understand, and they’re my biggest supporters. Honestly, having them around make it easier for me to do things like speeches. Sometimes when I feel nervous or like I don’t know what I’m doing, they just give me a head nod like “You’re fine, keep going.”
For future Secretary Generals, if your friends can’t support you a hundred percent, you have to talk to them and establish different grounds for the conferences. To be honest, things don’t go right all the time and you can’t solve them if you’re everyone’s friend all the time. Georgetown is a small community, so we’re technically all friends and know how strict or fun each other are. Overall, you just have to make it work.
Final question! Beside you, who’s the best dressed in GMUN?
I’d have to give it to Normeanne. Honestly she’s been slaying! And Malak Elmoh, and our Chief of Staff Fiza.
From the guys, I’d go for Talal and Hareth, they’ve been dressing very well. And Adam Polacco!
Ngoc is a sophomore at Georgetown University Qatar, majoring in Culture and Politics. You will occasionally see her lifting in the Georgetown gym and more often just lying around like a cat.