Students from Dearborn and Dearborn Heights head to Boston this week for the Harvard Model United Nations conference, a four-day competition where high schoolers take on the role of being world leaders attempting to promote peace.
Advisor Bilal Hammoud says the team will have to take a creative approach since they will represent Russia, a nation currently 11 months into their invasion of Ukraine.
“We can take our economic progress, we can take our oil strength, we can take a lot of this history that we have, and apply it without having to engage in more war. And so we’re looking to come out strong.”
For many of the students participating, this is their first experience traveling outside of their hometown.
“This is probably the largest conference any of them have ever been to, let alone going to something out of state and experiencing Harvard and Boston,” Hammoud says. “They’re so excited.”
Community members helped raise $12,000 for the trip thanks to Hammoud creating a GoFundMe account to cover some of the travel expenses, but the team also received significant funding from Team Wellness Center, a mental health provider based in Dearborn.
“They’ve been a longtime supporter of a lot of the work that not only I have done personally, but in the community,” Hammoud shares.
The organization Don’t Be Shai also provided space and support for the Model UN Club members.