Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

UAE students on journey of discovery for sustainable design in the UK

The group of Zayed University students met with UAE ambassador to the UK Mansoor Abulhoul

From left: Hamda Al Khajeh, Sarah Al Luaimi and Leen Albejawi. Taylor Heyman, The National
From left: Hamda Al Khajeh, Sarah Al Luaimi and Leen Albejawi. Taylor Heyman, The National

Students from Zayed University met the UAE ambassador to the UK as part of a fact-finding trip on sustainability.

The student group spent Friday morning at Loughborough University at a special sustainable packaging workshop, then travelled to London to meet with Mansoor Abulhoul.

“We learned about the life-cycle of products and got to create very simple prototypes of sustainable packaging,” said Leen Albejawi, an animator and student at Zayed University, who is travelling without her family for the first time.

“Some students even created a coffee cup that can later be used to plant a seed.”

On meeting the ambassador, the students shared their ideas and lessons learned with him, who they said was supportive of the cultural and design exchange they had undertaken.

Leen is passionate about creating better, cheaper access to sustainable products and methods in the Emirates.

“A lot of people are taking the sustainable approach and creating hipster cafes where a cup of coffee costs a lot of money. That's not sustainable for a lot of people as we don't all earn that much money,” she said.

“That’s how I want to approach it to make it accessible and cheap for everyone.”

Hamda Al Khajeh will use the knowledge gained on the trip to improve her own business.

“I have my own business which is focused on packaging and giveaways,” she said.

“This course will help me find how to make my package sustainable, because I'm using a lot of plastic, a lot of things that can be reduced by learning new ways to make it sustainable.”

The UK was just one part of the cultural exchange. Soon the group will head to Tokyo to take part in more workshops and learn how the country is preparing to host the 2020 Olympics.

Leen heaped praise on Zayed University’s approach to teaching and wider learning.

“At the university, they don't let us just work inside, they want us to go and discover how other cultures deal with the big issues.”

Artist and photographer Sarah Al Luaimi said she hopes these trips will inspire local girls and women.

“Once they see us [travelling and learning],they might get out of their comfort zone to experience things they never would have imagined,” she said.

Updated: July 26, 2019 11:15 PM

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