x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

National Geographic tour maps out world of geography

The goal is to reach every campus in the nation.

After two months of a nationwide tour, the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Al Arabiya magazine is exhausted.

"I'm in the colleges each week meeting people. But it's so important to us to let people know about the project," Mohamed al Hammadi said.

Launched on March 2, National Geographic Al Arabiya's Exhibition Tour encourages students to engage with the world of science and nature, as well as cultures and tribes.

On Tuesday, the tour made its 12th stop, at United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, joining forces with an exhibition of the work of young photographers from the institution's geography and urban planning department.

"But we feel as if we've just started our task," Mr al Hammadi said. "This is one of many initiatives for the wider community - and in fact anyone who reads Arabic anywhere."

The tour, organised by the magazine, UAE Universities and the Higher Colleges of Technology, aims to spread awareness of the environment and help students "to learn more about geography and its potential, as well as what geographers are capable of", according to Dr Khaula al Kaabi, an assistant professor in UAEU's geography and urban planning department.

At each stop there is an exhibition of award-winning photography. There are also lectures and seminars for students.

By the time it finishes in December, the tour will have visited more than 26 universities and institutes. National Geographic Al Arabiya is published by Abu Dhabi Media, which also publishes The National.

"We've been successful but the goal is to reach every campus in the nation," Mr al Hammadi added.

"Many people in the region don't know about the sort of work being done."