Qureshi said, explaining that those who enroll are assigned a member country. “It’s up to (participants) to do the research to project the values and the opinions of that country.”
The two are veterans of Central’s Model UN club and have taken part in many similar conferences. They recognized an opportunity to launch a conference when school’s out.
“There’s no other conference over the summer, and that’s a time we want to make sure our students are staying involved,” Hussain said.
Model UN has been formative training for Hussain personally.
“I was really interested in world politics, and I’ve been to a number of different countries, so that interested me,” Hussain said. “I’ve definitely gained a much better understanding of the world as a whole.”
Qureshi said the experience has also shaped him and brought him into contact with professional envoys and diplomats. That kind of networking helped secure the guest speaker for the conference, former U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson.
Last year’s first Hinsdale Model UN attracted about 50 delegates. This year they’re expecting to double that, a testament to the hours and energy they’ve dedicated to it.
“When we first created it, I don’t think we thought we were going to become as big as we have or undertake as much as we did,” Qureshi said, noting they’ve grown from a two-man operation to having 15 staffers.
A particular crisis is selected to be the focus of the conference. The Yemen civil war was chosen because it gets little press in the U.S. but is creating dire conditions for entire populations. Delegates choose to sit on committees, such as the Security Council or the World Health Organization, to address particular dimensions of the crisis.
Registration fees are then donated to aid organizations in that region. The ultimate goal is to nurture faith that seemingly unsolvable situations can be resolved.
“We have to keep pushing forward to try and make something happen,” Hussain said.
That’s a lesson all can benefit from.
“My personal hope is that kids who do partake in Model UN will take those skills somewhere down the road and apply them to issues that really need solving,” Qureshi said.