Late on the evening of 12th March 22 students from Kumon set out to make a little history. They were the first group of students from Japan to attend a student conference in the Middle East: THIMUN Qatar.
The trip offered the most wonderful academic, cultural and social opportunities. On the first day the students visited a mosque where they learnt about the history of Islam and how people practice their religion. They were able to ask many questions and were at the mosque at the time of the Call to Prayer. After that they visited the Souk Waqif, a huge local market with over 800 shops selling everything imaginable from carpets to clothes to camel saddles. They enjoyed bartering to buy a few small souvenirs.
The following day was taken up with a full day desert safari. The students arrived in the desert camp in a convoy of Toyota Landcruisers and rode through the desert on some very well-behaved camels. Next the air was taken out of the cars’ tyres and the expert drivers sped over the dunes in a sandy roller coaster ride. As the sun set the students were able to enjoy a barbecue dinner on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. It was there that they met another group of students from Lebanon attending the same conference and around the campfire immediate friendships were made.
For the next few days the students were involved in the serious matters of Model United Nations debate and discussion. They had spent some time researching various global issues since the programme began last summer and the students’ performance exceeded expectations. Following the Opening Ceremony, where the students were treated with great friendliness by staff from the British Embassy, a country they were representing, work began. Again and again they rose in debate to make speeches or ask questions. The participation throughout the group was enthusiastic and it was particularly good to see chu-2 working well, since they were the youngest members of the conference, and the ko-2 getting back strongly to overseas MUN after a 3 year gap.
MUN is not just for studying, it is simply for meeting people, learning to communicate and making new friends. On the final evening the students were rewarded at a memorable Culture Night, with Arabian dancing and street food. The students all had great fun with the friends they had met during the week from many countries and cultures. They had made friends and memories never to be forgotten.
Overseas MUN has been away for three long years. One of the issues of the conference was Building Back Better post-pandemic. With this group in Doha 2023, Kumon has made a good start.