Event Summary by Jessica Simonds BA (Hons) MA, Education Assistant
On October 6th a group of our Model United Nations students had the exciting opportunity to attend a round-table discussion on climate change with His Excellency Majid Al Sudwaidi, Consul General of the UAE to New York. The Consul-General boasts an impressive background on the issue having served as lead Climate Change Negotiator at COP21 in Paris and Natural Resources Manager at the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs among other roles.
The session was opened by two of the Hartford School’s MUN Club students Shanae Porter and Shena Burch. The students did a fantastic job introducing themselves and their club; they welcomed the Consul-General to their city and introduced this year’s CTWAC MUN President Allen Haugh. Allen introduced the background of the Consul-General and officially welcomed him to start the discussion.
The Consul-General started the discussion by discussing stereotypes and the issues surrounding them. This allowed the students to re-evaluate their perceptions of the world and of each other. This was a valuable start to the session as it allowed everyone to remain open minded to new ideas and concepts. The Consul-General then moved on to explaining the structure of governance of the UAE and how the preservation of natural resources is integral to their ideology. The students and staff were particularly interested to learn that the UAE cabinet consists of a Minister for Happiness as well as a Minister for Youth both who envision climate change as integral issue within their role.
The students were then given the opportunity to ask their questions to the Consul-General and there was plenty of interest in learning more about a number of key issues. In particular they wanted to know more about methods of sustainable energy production, the political processes in dealing with climate change from co-operation between states to possible difficulties states could face in turning to alternative methods such as expense and efficiency. The session ended with a thank you to all that attended from Allen Haugh and a thank you from the Consul-General for the students’ attendance and their questions.
Shena who opened the session said “she felt very nervous to start, but felt good afterwards” by taking a leading role by welcoming the Consul-General. Her fellow club member Win Paw enjoyed the content of the discussion, in particular “learning about sustainable methods in another country”. Another student Moussa Sebadduka fed back about the event afterwards and felt he “enjoyed the whole meeting” and appreciated that “most people wouldn’t get the chance to engage with an important politician”. He also felt that such opportunities “allow young people to get into politics and shape the world”.