Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

Educating children on environment is focus of Dubai workshop event

Alliance Francaise Dubai kicked off a series of workshops and activities in Bur Dubai on Monday aimed at inspiring children to become more environmentally friendly.
Alliance Francaise Dubai director Bernard Frontero says children are the best conduit for changing attitudes. Victor Besa for The National
Alliance Francaise Dubai director Bernard Frontero says children are the best conduit for changing attitudes. Victor Besa for The National

DUBAI // Alliance Francaise Dubai kicked off a series of workshops and activities in Bur Dubai on Monday aimed at inspiring children to become more environmentally friendly.

The two-day showcase, which is expected to attract 180 participants, features presentations on a round-the-world, solar-powered flight and how technology can be used to save energy.

Agnes Lopez-Cruz, executive director of the French Business Council, organiser with Alliance Française Dubai, said the initiative was part of a wider programme of activities.

“We decided to do this as a way of raising awareness of the issue of protecting the environment because the United Nations climate change conference is being held at the end of this year in Paris,” she said. “Our aim with these workshops is to raise awareness of the issue among children because it really does start with them.”

In all, about 60 children from Dubai’s Lycee Francais International school, which is known as Aflec, attended the first morning’s activities.

They watched a video presentation from technology company ABB about Solar Impulse 2 – the world’s first manned, around-the-world, solar aircraft flight.

They were then split into smaller groups to learn about waste management, renewable energy, desalinisation and the smart city concept.

“Sometimes adults are stuck in their ways and so it’s harder for them to change,” said Bernard Frontero, director of Alliance Francaise Dubai, which promotes French culture and language.

“I can remember when the rule was first introduced about wearing seat belts while driving. It was something my father was not used to but I would always remind him and that’s the case with being more environmentally conscious. By informing and educating children we can help to change attitudes in the home and eventually that seeps into society as a whole.”

Teresa Navarro, a science teacher at Aflec, said the workshops gave pupils the chance to see how conservation worked in practice.

“As a school we are active in trying to educate our pupils in the importance of protecting the environment and sustainability,” she said.

“It’s good to get the children out of the classroom to make them aware of these issues because then they can relate to it in a more effective way.”

Thalia Saleh, 11, was inspired by the Solar Impulse presentation.

“I didn’t think it was possible to build an airplane powered by the Sun, but seeing that makes me think you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it,” said the Lebanese pupil.

“It’s really important that we do as much as we can to protect the environment because we all live on this planet and we have a responsibility to save it.”

Fairouz Ben Elkadhi, 11, from Tunisia, said: “Initially I wanted to be a doctor when I was older, but after seeing the film about the solar plane I’m tempted to become a scientist.”

Alice Loftus, 11, from the UK, said: “In the last workshop we learnt about renewable energy and the different types of energy that are available and how they can be used.”

Pierre Leretz, ABB division head for Asia, Middle East and Africa, said the goal was to show the children the potential of what could be achieved.

“Our intention is to show where the technology is heading,” he said.

nhanif@thenational.ae

Updated: June 15, 2015 04:00 AM

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