GEMS World Academy – Dubai welcomes Ban Ki-moon and Dr Heinz Fischer to Model United Nations


GEMS World Academy – Dubai’s largest Model United Nations Conference to date, held 8-10 March, saw the return to the school of celebrated statesman Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, joined by Dr Heinz Fischer, the 11th President of the Republic of Austria.

The annual three-day event saw more than 730 students from 25 schools across the UAE gather at the IB continuum school in Dubai to debate key topics around this year’s theme of ‘Catalyst of Our Generation: The Technological Revolution and Youth Engagement in Political Issues’.

Both Ban Ki-moon and Dr Heinz Fischer, who is Co-Chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, took to the stage to speak to students during the MUN event’s opening ceremony on 8 March.

Ban Ki-moon, who is the ambassador of Model United Nations for GEMS schools, said: “The current state of the world is complex. There are many unresolved crises, the rapidly worsening climate crisis, the war of Russia against Ukraine, the conflicts in Myanmar, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and of course the devastating Israel and Palestine conflict.

“Amid these crises, I deeply desire to leave the world in a better state for you – future leaders and change-makers. I am happy to have another opportunity to speak to representatives of the young generation today. You are the builders of the future, the leaders of tomorrow, and I trust that you will continue the work of making the world a better place for people, planet, and prosperity.

“You are part of the largest generation of young people the world has ever seen. Use this to your benefit. Be cooperative, not competitive. See the common good and not only your gain. Look beyond your group, country, and region. Be a global citizen. Act with passion and compassion to leave no one behind.”

Dr Heinz Fischer said: “The United Nations is an integral part of our international political system. By engaging in a simulation of the United Nations and by being active contributors and participants, young people can get closer to the United Nations and see how important it is to negotiate in a constructive manner and how many problems can be solved through negotiation.

“And if there is a problem that cannot be solved, then they can also learn how to handle such a situation and discover the need to persevere, be patient and tolerant, and make compromises. In this way, young people can gain much, which is why I believe they should learn about the United Nations and its way of functioning, its advantages, and its role in maintaining peace in our world.”


Also in attendance were Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer at GEMS Education, and Dr Saima Rana, CEO/Principal of GEMS World Academy – Dubai and GEMS Education’s Global Chief Education Officer.

Addressing the many delegates, Dr Saima Rana said: “The chance to interact with and hear from Ban Ki-moon and Dr Heinz Fischer, with their wealth of experience and leadership on the world stage, is of immeasurable value to our students. We are honoured and privileged to host them at GEMS World Academy. The opportunity to learn from their insights and wisdom is unparalleled.

“Our school’s annual Model United Nations Conference is the ideal platform for the leaders of tomorrow to expand their knowledge and understanding about the ways of the world. It is a chance for them to debate the most pressing and important challenges facing humanity and to work together with their peers to formulate solutions and forge a brighter future.”

The student-led Model United Nations Conference is held at GEMS World Academy – Dubai every year. It is designed to closely simulate the UN and enable students to learn more about the principles of the UN and how it functions. Students discuss and debate the most significant dilemmas facing the world with the aim of developing innovative solutions to mitigate these.

Topics discussed over the course of this year’s event included:

  • Regulating cryptocurrencies and ensuring financial stability
  • Digital transformation and inclusive growth
  • Integration of technological solutions in mitigating climate change and enhancing global trade resilience
  • E-commerce and digital trade regulations