December 17, 2018

Advocacy for HELA in the American School of Doha

On the picture the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Qatar, Dr. Bahia Tahzib-Lie.

By Hannah A. Soliman.

The Model United Nations Committee of the American School of Doha sponsored an inspiring group of students from Afghanistan representing the HELA, Hope for Education & Leadership in Afghanistan, Initiative on January 22nd, 2018, two days before they attended the THIMUN Qatar 2018 Conference (The Hague International Model United Nations).

Attendees included the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Qatar, Dr. Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Al-Jazeera’s renowned reporter, Shereena Qazi, and HELA members from Afghanistan attended the event, followed by representatives of the American School of Doha’s student-led government, executive student officials of THIMUN Qatar 2018, the Director of the American School of Doha, Dr. Thomas L. Hawkins, and online news representatives of ASD Times including editors in chief, reporters and photographers.

 

The night began with a percussion performance by the American School of Doha’s High School Percussion Band, followed by some words of gratitude and appreciation by Dr. Thomas L. Hawkins, as well as from Neil Udassi and Nada Christy Haddad, MUN Student Executives from ASD, the two who hosted the program that night.

Her Excellency, Ambassador Tahzib-Lie, emphasized her amazement of the multitude American School of Doha’s community and global service initiatives, which follow in line with the United Nation’s Developmental Goals. She connects her prior remarks to Human Right’s Day of The Netherlands, which is celebrated annually on December 10th, and their promotion of awareness of women’s education and increasing global literacy. She concluded with a final statement which reiterated the aims and visions of HELA as well as her own, “All great achievements start with education, but also with leadership”.

 

The climax of the night was when the founders of HELA took the stage.

Sulaiman Sulaimankhil and Rahmatullah Hamdad began by expressing their gratitude for this opportunity. According to Sulaimankhil and Hamdad, Afghanistan’s war, that’s been active for 40 years and ongoing, it has been the primary inhibitor of education, especially for girls.

It wasn’t until United Nations leader, Peter Dalglish, introduced MUN to Afghanistan. HELA began with five students and their mentors attending THIMUN Qatar 2015 and blossomed into an NGO that has currently involved 1,000 Afghani youth in 6 self-lead conferences. Simultaneously, HELA founded a women’s empowerment project with an emphasis in business, marketing, finance and economics, and 14 months later these women have initiated their own projects completely self-lead.

It was a “day full of emotions” for special guest, Al Jazeera reporter, Shereena Qazi because she herself is of Afghani heritage. She discussed her journey of journalism, and the event that changed her career and her life: the story of 6-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi. She used this Afghani boy’s story as a way of exploring her abilities of story-telling because how deeply it touched her heart, and her story went viral globally. Her change in how she approached journalism is how she began to embrace change for the better.

Inspired by the THIMUN Qatar closing ceremonies, HELA surprised the crowd by presenting the following with certificates as tokens of appreciation: Dr. Thomas Hawkins, Mrs. Kari Detwiler Beck, Yahaira Piñeda, Neil Udassi and Nada Christy Haddad.

Neil Udassi and Nada Christy Haddad also presented tokens of appreciation in the form of small gifts to the following: Lisa Martin, HELA Students, and the rest of the special guest speakers of the night.

HELA night concluded with a High School Choir performance of “Here I Stand”, an unpublished composition donated on behalf of these performers for the night of compiled statements quoted by Malala.

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