Mariam Fawaz – Michigan Nomination by Ahmad Fawaz Photography by Mariam's mother & friends Issue 54 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Mariam Fawaz is 16-year-old girl from Dearborn Heights Michigan. In February 2021 she attempted to start a Model United Nations club at her school, she had done everything but by November 2021 she had asked over 25+ teachers to be an advisor however was rejected from each one and wasn’t discouraged but inspired she had met with the mayor of Dearborn Heights and then created a 2 citywide MUN club that is competing at the largest conference in the Midwest its first year as a club, she made sure financially every student who wanted to had the opportunity.
Tell us more about Model United Nations Club. What is it and why did you want to start one at your school so bad? Model UN is an educational simulation and academic activity where students simulate the bodies of the United Nations. If you’re familiar with the United Nations, as a Model UN member you would step into the roles of these delegates and represent countries from all over the world and work together to find resolutions to real global issues as the United Nations would. I wanted to start it first because I wanted to bring this fun educational activity to our community when it was not yet introduced. The more obstacles I ran into and was told I cannot, the more I wanted it to be a success.
What do you do when you compete at conferences? Every delegate is given a country to represent and a committee with certain topics to debate. You would then work with other delegates to find a resolution to one of the real global issues you’d be debating.
How did you get the mayor to help you when none of your teachers would? I contacted the mayor of my city (Mayor Bill Bazzi of Dearborn heights) and presented my idea and asked for his help. Our mayor is very involved in the youth of our community and was a huge help in making this and even was involved, whether it was being a guest speaker at one of our meetings or helping with transportation to our conference. How did you then get other teens to join from your school and others? I spread the word through social media, I and the other founders created flyers to send to every principal in our community as well as sent to all club's Instagram pages to spread the word.
What did you learn about yourself in this process? I learned that as teenagers when an adult says we can’t do something, we believe that we can’t do it. In this process I learned that’s not always the case and that with the right determination we can make that change and make that impact regardless of age.
What leadership skill would you say is your top one in completing this endeavor? Determination, I believe my determination was the most effective skill in creating this. With all the obstacles we faced in starting this without my determination for it to be a success I don’t think we would have been as successful.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? Once I started this club it not only got all different students involved and they've gotten comfortable with us and became a space where minds can grow, this the club has inspired others to start their clubs and be more involved. I think the most inspiring part about it, all is that I didn't start high school as this a person who is involved in school and the community but I became it, which most people believe that however, you start high school is who you will be for the rest of your life.
What is your favorite thing to debate and why? One of my favorite topics to debate is the real genocides that our world faces. In the middle east and Africa, genocide is a constant issue. For example, the invasion of the people of Palestine. Or the bombings in Syria, or Yemen is experiencing the world's worst food security crisis. These are real-world problems being affected by many every day but are rarely talked about therefore I love when I get the opportunity to debate about them and speak about these real global issues.
What volunteer work do you do, and which is your favorite? I volunteer throughout my community with school events, Community Food Drives, and Local campaigns. My favorite would be volunteering with the Eternal Light Organization. In our community, a man named Sam Bazzi decided to give back and start the organization. In which they put together boxes of food and groceries and hold food drives as often as they can. Anyone in need may just drive up and no questions asked, no paper to fill out, if you need food you can get just that and I just believe that to be such a great thing to be a part of.
What is student congress and what is your role in it? In student congress, we have our elected students like President, Vice President, secretary, etc. Student congress is where all the students in the club vote and plan events and fundraising for our school. In this club, I hold the position of a delegate.
What subjects do you tutor and who do you tutor? I mentor my peers and help them create a plan for college. I also tutor younger students in elementary or middle school in all subjects but particularly focused on language arts and literature.
What do you love best about investment club? I love that I have the opportunity to learn about investments and stocks. This is very beneficial in the real world but not taught often enough so I’m glad I can.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be? I believe it would be mental health and the different ways we can improve in society by bettering our and others' mental health.
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? I believe one of my largest hardships is dealing with anxiety. When I had gotten my first anxiety attack, I had felt my breathing continuously getting harder. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way but the way I got over it was by surrounding myself with people who calm that anxiety and give me the support I need.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Don’t try to be liked by all, and don’t let anyone's title hold rank over you. Focus on your goal and don’t let others stop you.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? In 5 years in the future, I see myself having an education. I will have gotten a college degree from a top university but I will also be working on my next mark in the world. I will be constantly working on ways I can make bigger impacts in not only my community and society but in the world.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? Writing, when the reality of the world becomes almost unbearable I like to take out my laptop and start writing and feel the characters I’m writing, become them, and escape from reality in that writing.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? When I was ten, I started learning to play the viola, it’s been a hidden talent of mine for quite some time now.
3 Things on your bucket list 1. Speak in front of the actual UN about pressing global issues. 2. Win a Nobel Peace Prize 3. Be the woman that inspires younger generations to not let the world stop them.
Who do you find inspiring? The most inspiring person to me would have to be my older sister, Nena, at 18 years old. She ran for county commissioner although she didn’t win and despite all other opinions, she won 40% of the votes and then proceeded to start her very own title company. Most importantly she’s been my biggest inspiration as a big sister, as a person. Nena never let anyone stop her from becoming the extraordinary woman she is. She is a successful human being not just in accomplishments but as a person she hasn’t let anyone make her cruel or cold-hearted but a better person. She is proof that the hate you get can only affect you if you let it, something I often fail to believe. She is the reason I have the determination and motivation that I do. What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I think my motivation is the most inspiring. That no matter who tried to stop me I didn’t let them, because of the determination that I had to bring this to our community. Look for Mariam in issue 54 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!