eeg’s annual intercollegiate environmental public speaking competition
dubai knowledge village
Dubai. The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) conducted a two day environmental competition in the Dubai Knowledge Village. The annually held event targets environmental awareness among students from the college and university levels. The event was well participated, with 270 students from GCC institutions enrolling in it.
For seven years the EEG’s Inter College Public Speaking Competition has been successful in rallying hundreds of youth across many colleges and universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as from neighbouring countries, since the past couple of years. It is widely seen as a value added exercise, promoting environmental research and skills, and providing a platform for networking, sharing and learning. It is a well anticipated event that attracts students and teachers, and is ably supported by environmental experts from the academic sector and business who bring their proven expertise to enrich it. Since inception, a set of companies have provided sponsorship while the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research has provided his patronage to the event, making it a strong example of cross sector collaboration on environmental concerns. The corporate sponsors this year were Al Safi Club for Friends of the Environment and Volkswagen, and the supporting organisations were Dubai Knowledge Village and Marriott Business Council. All these organisations have been associated with successive cycles of the competition.
EEG has been engaged in long term advocacy to leverage environmental knowledge and skill building as a pre-requisite for addressing sustainability in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf. The NGO has pioneered leading programmes like workshops for students, teachers and companies, environmentally themed public speaking competitions for schools and universities, awareness campaigns for schools, recycling campaigns involving academic institutions, clean up drives, and so on. The over arching objective is to enhance the level of know how and public responsibility on environmental issues by creating awareness in the early years of life and facilitating an informed citizenry for future.
The competition this year reached the highest level of participation so far, with 270 students from 47 institutions in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman. It is noteworthy that teams from neighbouring GCC countries came to join in the competition and test their knowledge and skills, and gives ample evidence to the success of EEG’s educational outreach across the Region.
The topics of the competition were “Are the Cities in UAE sustainable?” and “Impact of Global Warming on Bio Diversity” on the first day and “Is urbanization affecting the climate?” and “Desert Greening – is it feasible?” on the second day. The set of topics reflects EEG’s conscious choice in putting forth some of the most critical issues facing the world, and in particular, the Region, and have the highest influence on the state of the environment.
The jury comprised a galaxy of well known experts and leaders in environmental and related fields from the public and private sectors. It included Dr. Darem Tabaa, Director, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Al Baath University, Syria and Director, Spana Syria, Dr. Tomador Hassoun, President, ANVK, The Arab Dutch Women’s Council, Dr. Eisa Mohammed Abdellatif, Senior Technical Advisor, Zayed International Prize for the Environment and Dr. Radhiya Al Hashimi, Director, Environmental Center for Arab Towns, Dubai Municipality.
Participating teams demonstrated a great deal of interest and enthusiasm in canvassing the topics chosen by them. Each participating college or university had allocated one or more members of the faculty to assist the teams in conducting their research and preparing their contributions. Teams were assessed based on their research and depth of environmental knowledge, environmental problem solving solutions and suggestions, oration and presentation skills. Each team consisted of a speaker and up to four facilitators, accompanied back stage by a teacher. All the teams put up a great performance to make for a lively and competitive contest. It reflected the keenness of today’s youth to explore critical issues related to sustainable development, understand them and seek solutions to the huge challenges facing the Region in this respect. It is hoped that the lessons learned during the competition and its preparatory process will impart a positive life long impact on these young men and women and motivate them to adopt sustainable habits and practices throughout their professional and personal lives.
The seventh cycle of the competition was inaugurated by EEG’s Chairperson Habiba Al Marashi, known for her fire brand style and passionate advocacy of environmental and sustainability issues. In her opening speech she said, “EEG has been leading a drive to rally support for the environment and motivate responsible action across individuals and sectors. Our education programmes are high tuned to suit this objective, and our emphasis is on building knowledge and skills required to be environmentally responsible citizens, among students in schools, colleges and universities. Today’s programme is one such initiative that is directed at the youth, to help make them aware of critical environmental issues, and providing them with a platform to express their thoughts, ideas and suggestions on how to improve the condition of the environment.”
The closing session was attended by key officials from the sponsoring organisations.
Speaking on the occasion, Iris Kraska, Marketing & PR Director for Volkswagen Middle East said, “We at Volkswagen Middle East are very proud to join hands with the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) for the 7th Inter College Public Speaking Competition. It is an excellent platform for getting students to study, research and discuss one of the most important topics of this generation, the environment. Ultimately, it is the younger members of our community who will lead the way in fighting to protect and preserve the environment, which has now become a global challenge. Wherever we look – design, climate technology, architecture, material development – researchers and developers take their lead from nature, just as we do in the automotive industry. Volkswagen has been committed to protecting the environment for many years and partnering in initiatives like the Inter College Public Speaking Competition with the EEG reinforces our commitment.”
Mr. Mohammed Al Sarhan, Manager, Al Safi Club for Friends of the Environment, said, “Al Safi Club for Friends of the Environment is proud to be a close and long term associate of the EEG. We are committed to developing opportunities for playing an active role in environment protection and sustainable development. We think the Arabian Gulf Region needs many more platforms such as this competition so that our youth can be nurtured to their full potential and their skills can be sharpened so that they can ably take on the mantle of future leaders and decision makers.”
Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Executive Director of Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City said “We are very pleased to sponsor and participate in the 7th Inter-College Public Speaking Competition, which was organized by Emirates Environment Group and participated by 47 local and regional universities and colleges. I believe such essential events that address best practices in energy and water conservations, mitigation of carbon emission, utilization of renewable resources and other energy and environment related areas would enlighten and educate everyone including our students in this community. These topics are of a great importance by all communities and countries around the world and having many university students in this region compete among each other is found to be overwhelming.
“Also, we are extremely proud that two of our key business partners namely University of Wollongong and BITS Pilani won the top spots in the environmental competition event. Their achievements demonstrated the superior quality of their students as well as high academic standards adhered by these institutions”, he added.
© 2000 - 2022 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)