Twenty-two-year old Sabiha Mili, a graduate from Jahangirnagar University, started her journey with Model United Nations (MUN) in 2014. She attended her first conference as a delegate in Ireland, representing an intelligence agency committee. Usually an extracurricular activity at institutions, MUN is meant to engage students and allow them to develop a deeper understanding of current world issues. Participants in MUN conferences are placed in committees and assigned countries to represent, or occasionally other organisations or political figures, where they represent members of that body. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent. At the end of a conference, the best-performing delegates in each committee, as well as delegations, are sometimes recognised with awards.
In March 2018, the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York organised a three-day conference where Sabiha and her younger brother participated with a scholarship. 2,500 other people from across the world also participated in the conference. They got the opportunity to spend one day at the UN Headquarters.
Sabiha’s interest in developing a career in the UN grew over time. “The solutions proposed in our conferences are of no actual use as we are just young students. I can create real solutions only if I was in the UN,” she says. Incidents of gender-based stereotypes, such as when her mother was questioned for letting her go to conferences outside Dhaka alone, further fueled Sabiha’s ambitions.
Sabiha also received the Women in Leadership Award for her youth leadership activities. She has recently participated in the Geneva International MUN Conference as the President of the Human Rights Council. It was a weeklong event, held in March 2019, inside the UN office in Geneva.
Sabiha is passionate about promoting and protecting human rights. She currently works with 10 Minute School and plays a key role in the United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh. Furthermore, she intends to address the existing misconceptions about MUN, which she believes is an immensely educational platform for young students.