Georgetown Model United Nations Opening Ceremony 2018

– Dear esteemed guests,
faculty, honorable delegates, and board members,
welcome to the 13th annual Georgetown Qatar Model United Nations. My name is Rand Ashab. It’s my honor and privilege to serve as Georgetown MUN Deputy Secretary General. My first MUN conference was in 2008 and I still remember it vividly. I served as the delegate
of Netherlands and then committee in first MUN. I was pretty lost in the beginning. But it was so exciting
that I just continued going to conference after
conference, doing MUN year after year, and jumping
from one position to another. Throughout school, the
thrill of each conference was truly indescribable. And here I am in my
last year of university and I’m still doing MUN. The board members have come a long way in planning the conference. When you’re a delegate, you
don’t necessarily realize the tremendous work that
goes behind the scenes. Every little detail was
thought through and planned. It was tedious at times. But seeing all of this coming together, seeing you all here in the Qatar
National Convention Center, knowing the topics we
carefully chose are about to be debated, and seeing
everyone well prepared is all very rewarding and exhilarating. The world we live in today can be unjust. Food insecurity, hate
crimes against refugees, and gender inequality
are all things you came across in your committee topics. But when I’m saying that
the world is unjust, I’m not just talking about
world hunger, poverty, wars, and inequality. I’m talking about a
world where presidents of the most powerful countries
are having a fight over Twitter about whose button is bigger. In such a scary world where
everything’s possible, what each every one of you does matters. And that is why our theme for this year is redefining the role of the individual in the information revolution. There are two caveats to this. First when debating
topics in your committees, you have to understand
the responsibility of regular citizens in the age of technology and malleable borders. Second and most importantly,
what you delegates and citizens of the world debate, draft, and think matters. It matters today because you
learn different perspectives and it will matter tomorrow
because you are the future. Finally, we have four days
of debate and learning that are waiting for us. I wish that by the end
of it, you can leave with great memories and greater knowledge. And it’s up to you to make it count. Thank you. (applause) (upbeat music) – I chose Georgetown
because of its reputation as a world renowned
institution that helps students to reach their potential
because of the resources and tools that are
available at our disposal. And I believe it’s the
best bridge for the future. – I chose Georgetown
University in Qatar because there is an excellent
opportunity to have a world class university. Within our small student
body, we have almost 50 nationalities, which
means a lot of diversity, and I was able to engage
with a lot of different people from different places
while still maintaining a close relationship with them. – My family and I, we’ve
lived overseas for many years. Before coming to Georgetown
University in Qatar, I taught in Beirut, I
taught in Hong Kong, and we were looking for another
really great international experience, but not just anywhere. We were looking for a
great institution, one that had really strong students
and excellent colleagues. And ultimately, that’s
what drew us here to Georgetown University in Qatar. – Faculty here at Georgetown
are very experienced. They’re very professional. They come from a diverse
background and with that background, they bring
their own perspectives to the classrooms, because they’re unique. – Faculty members come
from all over the world. We have faculty members
from the US, from England, from Ireland, from France, from Nigeria, from Lebanon, from Egypt, from China. It really is a global faculty. – I know a lot of my
friends are involved in Model United Nations and debate club. And there’s also a couple
of extracurriculars that even take students
out on cultural trips to different countries in
order to go to the places that we’re learning about
and visualize and see just outside of the classroom as well, what we’re learning and how
it affects the real world. – Outside the classroom,
I’m involved in a program called H.E.L.P. which is very specific to Georgetown Qatar and it’s
a program where we teach English to our service workers. We all see each other as
part of the Hoya community. They’re all also part
of the Hoya community. So once a week, we dedicate two hours to teaching them English. Another thing that I’m
involved is a peer to peer dialogue with other students that’s very unique to Georgetown Qatar. – Outside of my classroom,
I do multiple things. I play sports. There are sports here in QF. I go to friends’ houses. I’ve made local friends,
which is fabulous. My favorite club would be
Georgetown’s debate team. I’ve traveled to different
universities here in Doha and I’ve debated at different schools. It’s all for fun. There is a competition, but
it was wonderful because I get to see what other
students may think about a certain topic that I
had a different view on. – When my students come
back to visit me after graduation, I’m always
proud of what they’ve accomplished with their
Georgetown degrees. – Good evening. Mr. Clayton Swisher,
guests, colleagues, and of course above all, delegates. On behalf of Georgetown
University in Qatar, I would like to welcome
you to the 13th annual GUQ Model United Nations Conference. The GUQ Model United Nations has been a tradition since 2006. The theme for this year’s
conference is redefining the role of the individual in
the information revolution. We’re excited to be part
of your journey over the next couple of days and
hope this MUN will be an enriching experience
for you, fostering personal growth and guiding you
to be unique individuals in today’s world of unlimited information. I urge you to take this
opportunity over the next two days to think about
what it means to be a responsible person in today’s
world of information overload. To develop the skills to
analyze information critically, to make intelligent and ethical decisions. We hope this experience
will help you grow as global citizens and the
skills you learn here will help you tackle the crucial
issues you will face in the interconnected yet
diverse world of today. I wish you a good stay
in Doha and I recommend that you experience Qatar
and its culture not just the halls of your conference,
but also the city, I hope, and its culture and also connect with your international peers in this conference. Welcome once again and wish you the best for the coming sessions. (applause) Sorry. I now call on Amber and
Yoonsuk to come to the podium. (applause) – Hello, my name is Amber Faull-Cryan. – My name is Yoonsuk Choi. We will now recognize
the schools participating in the 13th Annual Georgetown
Model UN Conference. – When your school’s name
is called, we ask that you stand up and remain standing. Kindly hold all your
applause until all schools have been called. From Qatar, Academic Bridge Program. (applause) Please hold your applause until the end. Al Bayan Preparatory School for Girls. Al Jazeera Academy. Al Maha Academy for Girls. Al Manar International School. Al Maha Academy for Boys. American Academy School. American School of Doha. Amna Bint Wahab Secondary
School for Girls. Awsaj Academy. Blyth Academy Qatar. Brights Future International School. Doha Academy School. English Modern School Al Khor. English Modern School Doha. Lycee Franco-Qatarien Voltaire. Michael E Debakey High School for Health Professions in Qatar. Middle East International School. Newton International Academy. Noor Al Khalid International School Doha. Philippine International School. Philippine School Doha. Qatar Academy Doha. Qatar Banking Studies and
Business Administration School for Girls. Qatar International School. SEK International. Stafford Sri Lankan School. The Cambridge School. The International School of Choueifat. The Lebanese School of Qatar. The Next Generation. – [Yoonsuk] From Ethiopia,
International Community School Addis Ababa. The Greek Community School of Addis Ababa. From Ghana, SOS Hermann
Minor International College. From Jordan, the Baptist School of Amman. From Oman, Muscat International School. From Pakistan, Lahore
College of Arts and Sciences. From Palestine, the American
International School in Gaza. From South Africa, African
Leadership Academy. From Turkey, ENKA Technical Schools. FMV Ozel Ayazaga Isik Lisesi. ITU GVO Ekrem Elginkan High School. – [Amber] Ladies and
gentlemen, the participants of the 2018 Model United
Nations Conference. (applause) – [Yoonsuk] Please remain
standing for the recitation of the Model UN honor
pledge, led by Aiza Khan of Georgetown’s class of 2020. (applause) – Good evening, everyone. Delegates, please turn to
the Georgetown University Model United Nations
Honor Pledge on page six of your program. Please repeat after me. During this conference. – [Audience] During this conference. – I will do my best. – [Audience] I will do my best. – To find out. – [Audience] To find out. – As much as I can. – [Audience] As much as I can. – [Aiza] About the country. – [Audience] About the country. – Or organization. – [Audience] Or organization. – [Aiza] I am representing. – [Audience] I am representing. – [Aiza] I will converse with my peers. – [Audience] I will
converse with my peers. – From countries around the world. – [Audience] From
countries around the world. – In a civilized. – [Audience] In a civilized. – And respectful manner. – [Audience] And respectful manner. – Despite multiparty and
often heated debates. – [Audience] Despite multiparty
and often heated debates. – [Aiza] I will try to
remain calm and composed. – [Audience] I will try to
remain calm and composed. – [Aiza] I will respect the fact. – [Audience] I will respect the fact. – [Aiza] That people hailing
from different cultures. – [Audience] That people
hailing from different cultures. – Having different conceptions. – [Audience] Having different conceptions. – [Aiza] Of the norms
of social interactions. – [Audience] Of the norms
of social interactions. – I will not only adapt to that. – [Audience] I will
not only adapt to that. – [Aiza] But take it as an opportunity. – [Audience] But take
it as an opportunity. – To enhance my
intercultural understanding. – [Audience] To enhance my
intercultural understanding. – Thank you, please be seated. (applause) Now it is my pleasure
to welcome to the stage a member of Georgetown’s class of 2018 and Georgetown Model United Nations Secretary General, Nayab Rana. (cheers and applause) – Thank you, Aiza. When was the last time
you watched the news, read the news, or your phone
lit up with a news alert? Unfortunately, in today’s
day and age, these headlines do not consist of
the most pleasant information. More likely than not, we’re
bombarded with news of tragedy or violence from
all around the world. But I’m sure you already knew this. My next question to you
would be, what do you do after receiving this alert? Do you say a quick prayer
in your mind, make a comment condemning the news, and
then with the swipe of your finger dismiss the notification? Many times not even going as
far as to read the article, because you get the gist of it. If you’re silently nodding
your head and agreeing with me right now, I promise
you, you’re not the only one. I’m right there with you. The 21st century and its
technology has granted us with access to information
from all around the world with the touch of a button. We are blasted with so
much information on a daily basis that I feel like we’ve stopped fully processing it. We receive news regarding
hundreds of casualties because of a natural
disaster or an explosion or a mass shooting, and
we process it like any other piece of information. We’re accused of being desensitized. And though that does indeed play a role, I think it goes beyond that. I believe that the
issue stems not from our absence of reaction, but
rather the uncertainty of what our reaction is supposed to be. And that exactly is what
the board has decided to take up as a theme of this year. But rather than giving
you this whole speech, we decided to condense it into a phrase. Redefining the role of the individual in the information revolution. We as a population have access to immense amounts of information. That being said, choosing
to be aware of the world and its events today has
become an easier task. However, where I feel
that we fall short as a population is our reaction. We’re living our day to
day lives embodying what I feel to be a very
limited definition of what it means to be a citizen
of the world today, by simply observing. But aren’t we capable of more? Aren’t we responsible for doing more? What does it mean to be
a citizen of the world today in 2018? What is the role of the individual? These are the kind of
questions we want you to apply in the next four days of debate. Regardless of whether
your committee is debating the rights of the
Rohingya refugees, privacy in the digital age, or
curbing air pollution, ask yourself what is my responsibility as an individual in the world today? We are not here to simply
abide by the status quo, but rather I want you to question it. We as individuals choose the
roles and responsibilities we wish to have and the legacy
we wish to leave behind. Others may have already
figured theirs out. What’s yours gonna be? In the next four days, I
want you all to push yourself and think about how you
want to make a difference in the problems that plague our world. You are the leaders of tomorrow. So use this conference as a
test for your future plans. This is your conference. And I can’t wait to see
what you all come up with. Thank you very much
and I’m looking forward to an amazing conference with you all. (applause) And now, ladies and
gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to introduce the
keynote speaker for this year Georgetown Model United
Nations 2018 Conference, Mr. Clayton Swisher. (applause) – Good evening. I’d like to thank Georgetown
University for having me address you this evening
and the Model United Nations for organizing such a well attended event. I joked that I thought that
there might be 10 people and four of them would be
my family in the audience, but clearly they assigned
some sort of points for you guys to attend it, so I’m
relieved to see all of you here and hopefully I will
leave you with some things to think about in the
next couple days as you go about debating what’s taking
place in the world around you. When Naila Sherman was
kind enough to extend this invitation to me and
informed me that the topic would be the information
age, it took me about a nanosecond to agree to do this. First because the information
age is something that I’ve been swimming in my entire adult life as a journalist and in
particular since I moved here to Qatar in 2007 to begin
working with Al Jazeera. Now in 2018, I think the
United Nations and others rightly recognize that the
availability of information through digital platforms
is in fact a revolution. I agree with that premise,
but I also think the phrase global information war
could just as easily apply. Here’s why, and I want
to unpack these ideas in the next couple of minutes with you. Last year it was estimated
that more than 50% of the entire world’s population
had internet access. In the instances that
I’m about to describe, those internet users
represent the main combat forces engaged in the information war. Whether they like it or
not, or whether they want to be at war or not, they are. Those not connected to
the internet at all, they may be the victims,
though if digital information somehow skips over the
air gap and makes its way into a newspaper which
goes on to influence them, then they too are every
bit of the front line in this information war. So pretty much the only
true victims of what I’m about to describe to you are folks totally disconnected from the internet,
from any form of news, and to be that person,
you might as well be an Amazon tribesman or
living in a cave somewhere. Most of us are connected. And that’s where we’re at right now, at the center of an information war. And like any global war,
there’s campaigns taking place all around us. I’m gonna speak to you
this evening about two, and they’re very much interrelated. Many of you all have
followed what is happening in America, and if you don’t, you should, because it absolutely affects you. Despite its superpower
status, it turns out many Americans are
unprepared to assess the credibility of things they read. And we’re finding out
what a problem that is. There was great
controversy surrounding the 2016 US presidential
contest and allegations of interference by Russia. Now, I’m not gonna get
into how the United States has interfered in the
elections of other countries, including democracies
going back to Mosaddegh in Iran in the 1950s. We’d be here all night. That’s a valid angle of
attack and I welcome you all to explore it in your studies. But there’s a very
instant problem about how the Russians went about
this disinformation campaign that does have an immediate application to every country in the world right now, and we’re seeing others mimic it. I’m going to drill down
on some specifics of this brazen type of information
war and describe for you how it’s put not only
America at a perilous point, but it threatened to put this
country at a perilous point. So unless you’ve been living
in a cave, you will have heard on the news how a special
prosecutor was appointed to investigate the role played in the 2016 presidential election
of Russian interference. And just last week, Robert
Mueller, the prosecutor running the case,
indicted more than a dozen Russians who were operating
an online troll factory. That was creating digital
avatars purporting to be American citizens, mostly
pro-Trump, and who were whipping up the passions
on Facebook and Twitter with paid promotions
to ensure their content got widely read. By using fake news and
with the intent of creating a pro-Trump narrative or
echo chamber, these Russian bots used social media
to help turn Americans against themselves, to
convince whites that African Americans were
radicals, that Muslims are terrorists and enemies they
cannot trust, that only Donald Trump could lead
the country and keep it safe from terrorists, an
that Hillary Clinton is corrupt and belongs in jail. I’m not sure they needed
Russia’s help to make that point, a lot of
Americans felt it anyway. It’s true. Thomas Jefferson, an
American founding father who literally drafted the
Declaration of Independence and served as president,
once wrote that wherever the people are well
informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Democratic theorists tend
to agree and interpret that remark to mean that
an informed electorate is essential to good democratic practice. So what’s that even mean? Well, if you don’t know
what’s happening in the world around you, you’re
hardly going to be in a passion to hold your
own government to account and its policies to account
because you don’t know whether what they’re doing
is legit, whether it is based on principles that
your country stands for or whether it’s build
for ulterior motives, the personal financial
greed of whoever may be developing that policy. You have to be aware of
what’s happening in order to contribute back to
the people that you’ve elected into higher office. You can’t have a meaningful
relationship with democracy if you don’t
know what’s going on in the world around you. And that means you have
to have a reliance on information that comes to you
most often from journalism. If you were to get your
information purely from the government spokesman
telling you what they want you to know, you’d be seriously
misled and as a result not prepared to hold it to account. Similarly, if all you
believe as an American is Facebook postings by
someone named Tony Smith who you’ve never met,
and who in reality is operating from a nondescript
building in St. Petersburg, feeding you Kremlin
propaganda, you’re probably also gonna be misled and
deficient in participating in the democratic process. And apparently that’s
been happening a lot. That’s the purpose of fake news. To confuse and to confound people. For the Russians, it’s a
form of political warfare, or active measures, which
equates to disinformation. To succeed, the content
needs to be believable enough or play to the passions
that people want to hear so that it will motivate
them toward political action. But let’s leave aside the
suckers who fall for it. There’s a whole other
segment, and this is the real tragedy, the real
causalities in my view, the people who suffer are
the ones that don’t trust the fake news, but they’re
so confused, they’re so deluded and bombarded by
the information that they don’t know who to believe. They throw their hands up
and they say, I don’t know what’s true anymore. CNN says this, Al Jazeera
says this, but my Facebook feed’s telling me this. So what do they do? They shut down. They say, to heck with it. I can’t tell this from that,
and I’m busy in my life. And they stop believing in journalism and when they take that
road, it leaves a clear path for the highly motivated angry bunch who have bought into the
fake news so that they can march towards their
objective and cast their vote. So while confused folks
sit at home, the distorted view becomes the electoral reality. And what happens then? If people stop believing
or caring about what’s happening around them,
governments become unaccountable, able to manipulate their
subjects any way they want. So you see, ban Muslims
from entering the country. Lock up immigrants. It’s all in the name of security. And if you disagree, as
we see with Donald Trump, they just get on Twitter
and say, don’t believe so and so, it’s fake news. Indeed, even as Russia’s
been doing its job to poison American democracy,
we have the fruit of that election, Donald Trump,
waging a full campaign to discredit media and
lessen American confidence in journalism. It continues until now,
but it’s helpful to recap. During the 2016 campaign,
as serious journalists questioned Trump’s background
and fitness for office, we saw Trump responding
by inciting hatred and violence against journalists. At his rallies, we saw
reporters who asked difficult questions booed or physically
removed from events. In many instances, the
president used his Twitter account to cyberbully
journalists who offered critical coverage. He even mocked a disabled journalist. In a sense, who needs
Russia when you have the president of the United
States doing the job of weakening American democracy for them? Fortunately, Americans are
waking up to this problem and the correction of
this distortion from the global information war
that I’m describing is going to take several years. It’s going to result in an overcorrection. We might even be going there now. Twitter and Facebook will
likely turn to censorship. Groups will be set up
to identify and label organizations peddling fake news. There may even be, and there
are some efforts in Europe, to criminalize fake news. And that might gain some
currency in individual American legislatures. But America has a population
of 320 plus million people. And I would say even its
realization of this problem, it’s starting to get its
head around it very quick and other countries,
other democracies that are going through this,
there’s elections in Europe that are being influenced in such a way. I think that there’s going
to be a quicker reaction and a quicker response
than many can anticipate. I want to touch on another campaign in the information war now that’s closer to home and it affects a much smaller population. I think you know where I’m going this. Qatar in this exact
moment in time has quite a lot in common with the American public. To the extent that it was the target of an information warfare campaign
that began last June 5. And it was just after
Fajr prayer that night and for whatever reason, my
wife who’s also a journalist, she was up and naturally,
as journalists’ wives do, I did it too, we were
checking our Twitter feed. And she says to me, oh
my god, the neighbors are announcing an embargo. I’m like, no, she’s like, yeah. So I get online and I look. And they’re doing a blockade. Now, a blockade, that’s an act of war. When someone blockades
your borders, your air, your sea, that’s serious business. I didn’t go back to sleep that night. And from then on, the games began. But what I could tell you, the games began on the June 5. But in reality, they’d been
going on for quite some time. The website hack of Qatar
News Agency formally started the party, if you will. But in the months leading
up to this lynching, there had been a flurry
of opinion pieces in major US papers, appearing out
of nowhere, to condemn Qatar for having it both
ways and supporting terrorism and demanding it choose
sides in the war on terror. Again, this is out of nowhere. Failed US diplomats like
Dennis Ross, who advocated Israeli rather than
American interests their entire careers, were
especially prolific in the weeks before the siege,
writing in newspapers that Qatar needed to stop funding Islamists and calling on the US to
remove its military base from Al Udeid here in Qatar. The Foundation for the
Defense of Democracies, which is a DC based NGO,
it advocates pro Israel policies under the guise
of an American flag. They were particularly energetic. They organized anti-Qatar
events, including one on Capitol Hill,
which we now know from Emirate Ambassador Yousef
Otaiba’s leaked emails, was egged on and encouraged by him. Many in this room know
that I’m the Director of Investigative Journalism
at Al Jazeera and that a year ago we did an
undercover investigation into Britain’s pro Israel lobby. Those of you who follow
that may know that we have another addition, we
concurrently ran an undercover operative in the United States and we will be soon bringing that
project to broadcast. I can tell you tonight
in advance of that airing that our undercover
operative in Washington secretly filmed a senior
Israeli official boasting to a small, trusted gathering
about how the Israeli Ministry of Strategic
Affairs has partnered with the Foundation for the
Defense of Democracy as part of its covert influence
campaign inside America. When this footage is broadcast,
and I hope you’ll watch, groups like FDD and
others we filmed will have plenty to answer for
regarding whether they are American organizations
advocating American interests or simply fronts for Israeli intelligence. Given all the attention
to Russia’s influence in America, the Israeli
impact on American democracy has long got a free pass. All of you should know
that pro Israel distortion in Washington has similarly
affected US policy towards Qatar, and not to its favor. Having observed how this
anti-Qatar momentum was building up ahead of the siege, I
remarked to a Qatar friend at the time, this is not
rain hitting your face, it’s spit, your country’s
under attack, and until you realize what kind of war this is, you’ll continue to be on the defensive. Fortunately for Qatar, they
had the facts on their side. Aggressors that moved
after them had a horrible sense of timing, perhaps
thinking that they could pave over Qatar in a
week and with fake news and have a puppet leader installed. As the GCC crisis stretched
out for the summer, the Qatarist terrorist
narrative pushed by the embargo country was met by very skeptical, very, very skeptical US media. They had seen all the paid advertisements. And I was in DC this summer. My god, were they cheesy. These infomercials that’s
out of nowhere in the news bulletin, it says
paid by the Saudi Affairs Committee and Qatar
and the Saudis go on to lecture about how Qatar is
really the terrorism culprit. It was just bizarre, it was out of place. People were very alive
to what was happening. And along with the disclosure,
I think it was in July, that the Qatar news agency was hacked by people under the control of
the United Arab Emirates, the Washington Post
reported citing intelligence sources that the UAE had
fudged the Qatar news agency website, and it
was quite embarrassing how the American public
learned it was done. The details remain
public, including people in Abu Dhabi were clicking
refresh in the middle of the night on a Tuesday
to see if the hack had gone through, leaving
a signature from their IP address and making
it very easy for the FBI and other investigators
to find out who started this fake fight. So all this began to unravel. And that’s been to the
benefit of those who’d like to see this conflict
lessened or eliminated. But again, the common
feature of using information, using the internet, using
distorted media, very much a feature in the Qatar
conflict, and it was very much hoped by the people
using these tactics that it can undermine confidence
in the government here. I’m gonna leave you with
some advice on how to better fight the information war. Or if you’re not a fighter,
how to at least have situational awareness
about the information you receive before you act on it. Is there anyone here in this room that, well, is there anyone here that does not use a smart phone? Anyone rock a Nokia 3G? So I can’t see any hands
and people probably don’t want to admit to it if they do. That means pretty much
all of you, bearing those phones, you’re in the
trenches of the information war I’m describing. Again, it doesn’t matter
if you like it or not, if you want to be at war or not. You’re pawns in it, or you’re
fighters, but you’re in it. Others are deciding for
you, governments, political parties, businesses, think
tanks, media outlets, bloggers, academics. They’re all vying to shape your thinking. Apple and Samsung
especially want to cash in what they know about you, so does Google. Your smart phone metadata
tells Google where you are, whether in airplane
mode or not, by the way, and how long you stay where
you are, whether you’re driving, whether you’re walking. It can tell that we’re in the same room together right now, because
our phones are communicating to the same cell phone tower,
and they’re going to see us walk out of here and
switch to the next cell phone tower, and go back
to our homes or wherever. So without even listening
to our calls, it tells a lot about our activities. It can tell the approximate
height and weight of the person that uses the smart phone based on the movement in your pockets. It can tell the way you walk. It can tell how long you
sleep, who well you sleep, which websites you go,
which websites you visit. And like Santa Claus,
it knows whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Seriously, if you were
to begin researching diabetes or high blood
pressure on Google regularly, your digital profiler
might think you suffer from this medical condition
and start slipping paid advertisements from
health or pharmaceutical makers into your feed. In reality, you might just
be researching a paper for a high school. But every time you log in, you’re gonna be bombarded with these having
high blood pressure ads and these medicines. Like, no, I was doing
something for a health class. That’s a sign of the
signature, your digital signature that you’re giving away. Again, you need to have
situational awareness of this because it informs
how people who want to target you will approach
you and what they’ll approach you with. So the first lesson that
speaks to is be aware of any information sent your way. It may be an advertisement triggered by an algorithm predicting your
interests or activities, and it may convince you to
need something that you don’t. It might be an email
solicitation that feeds your fears rather than cures them. You don’t know. So question why you’re
being sent advertisement, business solicitations,
or any information. And don’t ever click on an email that says I’ve got $1 million proposal for you. Just click here. I’m serious, people do. It’s malware. You can avoid that by doing
what I call the taxi rule. I don’t think, does
anyone, oh, I won’t ask if anyone knows the taxi rule. As a journalist, I travel
to a lot of countries and when I get there,
obviously I need to get local transport to get where I’m going. So I never ever accept
to drive with someone who approaches me. You always pick your taxi
and random and however you want, but you be the
owner of that decision, not let someone help you with that choice. Mitigate that kind of
risk of funny business. You should handle that
the same way you handle online solicitations and
people that come to you in general in life, I think. Second is to recognize that
journalism is a profession. It’s a deadly serious one. Anyone here about to do their
compulsory military service? I know one of the
panelists, he just finished his in Korea, he was telling me. Is anyone here looking to
enlist or do their military? Okay, I don’t see many hands. But I can say I hope that
you have a very boring, uneventful tour. Thank god I did. I joined the marine
corps after high school and the most action I saw was in training. It wasn’t until I became a journalist where I saw the horrors of war. So it was air strikes
in Gaza my first visit there in 2002, the
aftermath of the Lebanon war in 2006, Gaza again
in 2009, Afghanistan deployments in 2009 and ’10. In those deployments
and in those situations, I put myself in harm’s way
along with my cameraman to bear witness for the
world and to get those stories out. Not out of boredom, but
so that others around the world might see the evils
of war and make a choice, hopefully to end those wars. That’s my agenda, I had one. To report and inform
about the futility of the Afghanistan war and the cost it imposed on the Afghan civilians
and young American kids who didn’t know the first thing about the country they were fighting in. That wasn’t a game, that
wasn’t an amateur venture. This was a profession
and we handled ourselves professionally and we
reported professionally. And I know that my reports,
I got feedback from people in the White
House over policy issues that I raised. So it was taken seriously. Those of you who are
from Qatar, have you ever been Abu handled area? For funerals, yeah? So I went to one. My wife and I have a
colleague, Ali Hassan Al Jaber. In March 2011, we buried
Ali after he was killed covering the Libyan Civil War. He was a cameraman, and
he was very well liked and he was very good at what he did. And what he was doing
wasn’t a part time hobby. It was a profession and
it was to inform all of you about the war that Muammar Gaddafi was waging against his own people. He paid the ultimate
price so that everyone around the world could see the reality of what was happening in Libya. My third point builds on the second one, which is know your source. This is what it all ties into. If you’re gonna be using
digital information you have to know your source. Believe it or not, most
people can’t tell the difference or recognize what
a sketchy website looks like. If has just a
few too many N’s and it says breaking and it’s
this crazy headline, people will share and
they say, oh, that’s not really CNN, but it’ll go around the world before someone recognizes that. As journalism is a profession
deserving of respect, you should also approach
it with skepticism. An Israeli broadcast
about the last Gaza war will substantially
differ from Al Jazeera’s. Ask yourself why. But what if you don’t know
that it was an Israeli news organization? Another revelation that
will be made in our forthcoming documentary
centers on Israeli lobby’s use of websites in
America to distort news so that they are pro Israeli
without Americans realizing it. We will tell the story of one such group that our undercover stumbled on. And if you go to Facebook,
it’s called Cup of Jane. Cup of Jane, you’ll see
that it has more than 460,000 followers. So our undercover was
invited in discussion about how this group was used. And very cleverly and very deviously, they put out legit news stories. And nine stories might
be legit news and then they slip a pro Israeli one as number 10. You won’t notice it
because it looks like a steady stream of legit news. But it’s subtle. And when our undercover,
when his cover was still protected, it got blown
a year ago, they did not say on Facebook that
this is a project of the Israel Project. They did not disclose that it
was a pro Israeli news site. After they learned our
undercover had been in those meetings, they put up,
this is a project of TIP’s DC information office. And who knows what TIP is. It stands for The Israel Project. So our film, when it
comes out, is going to blow the lid off of
this and other cutouts, fake media websites that are being used. Quite humorously, there was one exchange, I don’t want to give away everything, but it’s four hours of television. They were talking about
how it annoyed them, AJ+, which is an Al Jazeera
product, AJ+ for short… Do you guys know what AJ+ is? You guys see AJ+ videos? They’re saying it really
stinks because we like AJ+ but as soon as they touch Palestine, ugh. So they want to set up
something to mimic it and to make it pro Israel
in its orientation. So know your source. A few years ago, my
daughter, she’s here, Jenna, she’ll remember that I
downloaded an app on my iPhone for her to play
with, and it was called Amateur Dentist. And imagine what Amateur
Dentist app would be. So there’s this guy
sitting in a dentist chair and you have to do some
complicated filling or tooth extraction and
you’re using pliers and a little shot of this and a hammer. And the guy’s making
faces and you get points for making him the less amount of pain. I bring up that metaphor
not only to embarrass my daughter, but also to
point out the absurdity of going to an amateur dentist. So just as you would not
go to an amateur dentist in life to clean your teeth, don’t
go to amateur journalists. Don’t go to people on the
internet that play journalist. And if they put it in
your Twitter feed or in your Facebook whatever
comes to their mind, take that at face value
and be skeptical of it. Question everything, now more than ever, to fight and survive this
global information war. And collectively, we can all become better for having fought that good fight. Ladies and gentlemen, I
thank you for your time. May you all have a successful conference in the coming days. And though I’m not supposed
to make it political, free Ahed Tamimi, free Palestine. (cheers and applause) – Thank you, Mr. Swisher. My name is Tamiran Haj Abed. I’m the Chief of Communication. I would now like to ask
all committee chairs members to stand up
upon hearing their name. United Nations Environment Program, President Maria Mel
Hearthy, Vice President Fadma Faroke, Repertoire Hanza Maria. Disarmament and International
Security Committee. President Yoonsuk Choi, Vice President Fizejia Hazad, Repertoire Adan Polaho. Historical Security Council. President Walid Zahur, Vice President Maria Mel Hababi, Repertoire Tala Kamar. Human Rights Council. President Amar Hatlib, Vice
President Selma Hassan, Repertoire Mana Hal Nadin. International Court of Justice. President Wesley Chen, Vice President Mudassa Rezed Chaker,
Registrar Sorab Delrani. Special Political and
Decolonization Committee. President Samuel Hajabid, Vice President Mala Kilma, Repertoire Nadina Dehebi. Security Council, President Lemil Thani, Vice President Nina Nuridine,
Repertoire Heba Hamad Noor. United Nations Economic
and Social Council. President Aiza Khan, Vice
President Abby Dadiab, Repertoire Talal Abden Nassir. Thank you. With the powers vested
in me by the Georgetown Model United Nations
Student Board, it is my distinct pleasure to
officially declare the 2018 Georgetown Qatar
Model United Nation open. (cheers and applause)

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