HIAMUN’13 was the first HIAMUN with delegates from other schools, thanks to a powerful executive team of that year and the years before. This had a great effect on all the conferences to come. HIAMUN’14 was a year when the conference expanded to greater forums. HIAMUN’15 was the year the conference was granted the THIMUN Qatar affiliation. We interviewed HIAMUN’13 Secretary General, Malak Saleh, HIAMUN’14 ECOSOC President, Marawan Tarek and HIAMUN’15 Deputy Secretary General, Omar El-Shahidi to get their take on the experience, and how MUN has affected their life.
What experience did you gain from MUN?
Omar El-Shahidi: Well, I was always a shy kid, like me, standing on a podium actually speaking? No way.
Then I joined HIAMUN and it gave me a lot of confidence. Now I love public speaking. I feel like it's a platform where I can express myself or show a more confident side of me, not to mention the socializing skills you gain from MUN. I can go on forever about how much MUN changed me. All in all, MUN transformed me into the man I am today.
Marawan Tarek: It helped me to deal with people better and understand them more.
Malak Saleh: I owe a lot of what and who I am today to that role I was given the privilege to fulfill. It teaches you how to function under stress, which you will have to a lot of times throughout university and life in general. It teaches you how to synchronize your mindset with the others working with you and I think that's the most valuable lesson I've learned because the real market and world is a tough one and had I not gotten that kind of exposure during high school, I don't think I would've handled it all the way I did. It's life changing in all sense and meaning to the word.
How did having such an important position add pressure on you more than being a delegate in the past years?
Omar El-Shahidi: Well, as DSG you're responsible for bring the conference to life, so it's a lot of pressure. Not only that, but we were also aiming for the THIMUN Affiliation so we really had to up our game.
As DSG you connect the ideas of the SG to the real world, you really just have to pressure people into doing their best. So it ends up that you're nagging at the OC and AC to finish their work, and fighting with the SG about budget details and possibilities. So it's a lot of pressure because you have a lot of responsibilities to juggle, but I enjoyed being DSG. Definitely one of the highlights of my years in High School.
Malak Saleh: It was kind of overwhelming at first, since I decided to open the conference up to other schools. It took time to choose the executive committee, to finalize all 5 forums and the press team was the toughest because the main team had graduated the year before so I sort of had to choose someone I know would be able to deal with it entirely and alone at times. But thankfully I had the best executive team and deputy Secretary General so I didn't have to do any of it alone. So having all of us work on this together I think is what made it so memorable and smooth. By the end of the process all of us could pretty much do anything.
So, is being a DSG worth the trouble and the work? Or did you enjoy being a delegate better?
Omar El-Shahidi: Being DSG is definitely worth all the headache. Working with Mohamed Sabry and Karim El-Dib was one of the best things that happened to me, and the feeling you get when everything falls in place is just extraordinary. During the conference though I was quite nostalgic to be a delegate again. Debating has always been my favorite thing about MUN, but if I had the option, I'd still choose DSG, hands down.
If you had the opportunity to not go to MUN, would you have taken it? Why?
Omar El-Shahidi: I'd still do MUN. MUN had great impacts on my character that make me who I am, so I wouldn't really let go of that. Also, the connections you gain from MUN last for quite a while. Like, during the first week of university, a couple of people knew me because I was the DSG, and it’s kind of hard not to feel proud when they say that.
Are there any mistakes/decisions you took while on duty that made you rethink later when you saw its impact?
Malak Saleh: Of course. Nothing's 100% perfect. And like anyone else there were things, looking back as happy as I am with what the conference was, I wish I would change or take back. A major thing was that I wish I would've delegated better throughout the pre-conference period. I think had I done a better job at that a lot of the small details I saw that could've been better wouldn't have happened. But thankfully I did have a great team and mentor that later taught me how to gradually master that skill. I just took everything Mr. Karim told me to heart and went with my gut. I had a vision about what HIAMUN was going to be in the future and worked towards that vision and goal.
Marawan Tarek: Definitely, but I always felt capable because I had a great director, team and chair that supported me all the way. They really made things a lot easier for me. I was a bit scared because of the huge responsibility at first, but I was really happy that I got to do it.
What is the most important advice you would give the HIAMUN’16 Secretary General?
Malak Saleh: Own it. Do your position justice, and go with your gut because you got to the place you're in because of your hard work and dedication. Enjoy it while it lasts because experiences like this one are so rare!