Though the usual pastimes of many teenagers are often simply hanging out with friends, dating, and having fun, a group of young Egyptians had bigger ideas and a wider vision of how to make this world a better place and find solutions for the problems that overwhelm many Africans’ lives.
Growing up, they saw on the news and heard stories about millions of men, women, and children dying simply because they didn’t have access to clean water. They saw millions of refugees who had to leave their homeland only to find that their host countries didn’t provide safety and security for them. Stories like these made this group of teenagers determined to help and find a solution to these problems for these people in need.
From thousands of applicants, 14 secondary school students were chosen to represent Egypt and participate at this year’s round of the Model United Nations (MUN).
MUN is an educational simulation programme modelled after the United Nations for students from all around the world. Through research, debates, and workshops, students must represent their country and come up with suggested solutions to some of the world’s most debilitating crises. The solutions are then discussed and studied by a higher board at the UN to evaluate the validity of applying them in the real world.
“We wanted to show the world that Egypt is not what the news and the media make it out to be,” says Lina El-Harras, a member of the team. “We want people to see that we don’t live in a continuous state of war as the news often depicts; we are smart and productive.”
Out of the total 100 delegates, the Egyptian team came up with solutions for the water crisis and the increased number of refugees. “These are the two most pertinent crises facing the world in general and Africa specifically, so we wanted to help put an end to these problems,” El-Harras explained.
The team flew to Switzerland and Germany over the course of a 10-day visit in order to train and study before they came up with the final solutions. “The whole time we spent abroad, pride was the main thing motivating us. We had the chance to present a new perspective of Egypt to the world while also getting to know people from places we had never encountered before,” Lena remembered.
The team’s solutions included issuing new agricultural laws to prevent water waste, supporting developed countries in Africa and those still developing.
“We have just been informed that our suggestions were accepted by the United Nations and will begin to be implemented in many countries in Africa, not only Egypt,” Lina concluded happily.