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by Justine Hudock
Student Community Engagement
Knovva Academy

Maher Gidwani
Minister of Education, United Kingdom
2020 Model G20

One in Model G20’s Most Valuable Delegation, the United Kingdom, Maher Gidwani is already looking to riff off Knovva’s educational offerings in his own way. In a conversation we had after the UAE native was deservedly awarded for his delegation’s work in this year’s Virtual Summit, Maher speculates that to change the world for the better, he would create a system, “much like Knovva Academy, to facilitate an understanding of the world as a whole; to provide everyone with an understanding of all communities to end pluralism and prejudice.”

Like his company in the Summit, Maher behaves and speaks with wisdom far beyond his years. A longtime fan of Lal Krishna Advani, the Indian politician and autobiographer who penned the high school student’s favorite book, My Country My Life, written during Advani’s presidency in 2008, Maher has an interesting academic roundness about him: Aside from Eastern world leaders, Maher is equally enamored of Malcom X, responsible for his favorite quote: “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”

I suspect freedom has been a lifetime preoccupation of Maher’s; that first reading Malcom’s words left him with a feeling of longtime resonation, rather than new inspiration. “The wisest thing anyone ever told me,” he reflected, “was ‘to choose to live life as if each moment may be your last.’

“[That] helped me to deal with my own grievances and feelings of pressure. Just remind me not to take myself too seriously by looking at myself through a ‘macroscope’ of sorts.”

For as much as that intention might be impressed in Maher, perhaps the execution is less so. Maher tells me that, aside from eventually studying “some combination” of politics, economics, and international relations (“I’m keen on LSE, but my parents favour Warwick”), he would like to have a book of his own poetry published. “And be interning with a liberal party whose values I agree with while attending university, likely in the UK.” If Maher doesn’t have a “macroscopic” view of life, and use that to a great advantage, who does?

His favorite food is Sai Bhaji (“a staple of Sindhi Cuisine”); his favorite color, green (a reflection of his Harry Potter house, Slytherin); and his favorite subject in school? “English Literature and Maths are” — improbably — “tied.”

Maher Gidwani will be remembered fondly by his peers in the Virtual Summit. Here’s how he’ll remember us:

 

Looking ahead, how do you hope to use the skills and experiences you’ve gained at the Model G20 Summit in your career?

Budgeting was very helpful as a skill, and likely an important skill for my political career.

How has Model G20’s take on pandemic education aligned with the values that drive your own education on pandemics?

I would think so, personally I also think that this pandemic is an opportunity for ignored points of contention. So in my budget, I allocated for the improvement of the history department.

What is the single feature of the Summit that exceeded your expectations?

The staff themselves were very available, responsible and accessible despite the size of the conference. I appreciated that.

What about Model G20 do you think would benefit any person, if they were to attend?

I think it is an amazing opportunity to make friends and meet people who are interested in political discussions. I enjoyed this aspect of the summit, as a lot of peers in my cohort feel alienated by the discussion of world affairs.

 

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