Kufr Qassem Comprehensive School hosted the first ever Model UN conference in the city’s history on Thursday, November 7, with 150 students from schools all over Israel competing. The conference theme was “Society”, and committees dealt with the challenges of racism, violence against women, minority languages, and the unrecognized Bedouin villages.
The students arrived in the morning to a red carpet flanked with flags of UN member states, balloons, and of course, refreshments. It was a doubly festive day, as the school was marking Mawlid--the birthday of Muhammad, as well as the MUN. For many of the Jewish students this was their first visit to an Arab school, and thus an especially memorable learning experience. In fact, for most students this was their very first MUN.
Reaching resolutions in the different committees proved quite challenging, with intense debates, and some very close votes. But by the end of the day each committee had produced well thought out draft resolutions that they could then vote upon.
At the end of a long day of learning, the delegates filed into the sports hall for the closing ceremony. After some spontaneous dancing, the delegates were called to order. Mr. Abed Frij, Qassem MUN director, welcomed the students and guests, and thanked those who had helped to make the day such a success, and in particular, the students. Then Waseem, one of the Kufr Qassem students, gave an inspiring speech about youth leadership, expressing his own pride at what he had witnessed.
Finally, it was time for the awards. In the UNGA committee, Roy Amsalem and Jawan Shalata (received Outstanding Delegate awards, and Moshe Rothstein and Tamir Shnaer won Best Delegates. In the UN Women committee, it was Jana Sayed Ahmed and Eyal Bala who won Outstanding Delegate, while Niv Blitz and Deyar Abu Rahal were the Best Delegates. In UNESCO, which dealt with endangered languages, Hani Altoree and Teba Massalha were Outstanding Delegates, while Lishy Hason and Tamir Hurwitz were recognized as Best Delegates. Finally, in the advanced Knesset committee, Amit Ram and Eisa Hammodi were Outstanding delegates, while Eliran Ben Yair and Shahd Hammodi were the Best Delegates.
All in all it was a successful day of conflict resolution, problem-solving, and intercultural learning for everyone involved. Rachell Rothstein, from Modi’in, explained that “It was very interesting to discuss the issue of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. It was also amazing to work with each other in the committee and better understand both sides of the issue and find a resolution which passed. Mr. Frij, the conference director, told Diplomacy “QassemMUN was the first big English event in Kfar Qassem. [An MUN conference like this] does not happen very often and we are proud that we managed to pull it off with the help of Steven. We look forward to always be a part of this wonderful team that works hard to bring people together Arabs and Jews. In addition, our students experienced what does it feel to attend a real conference with many Native speakers.”
The conference was part of the Debate for Peace activities.
The next MUN conference in Israel will be ATIDMUN on November 20-21.
See more, including the national MUN schedule, on DebateforPeace.org