American University of Sharjah (AUS) students Isra Arshad Alam and Mais Aiman Al Qadi were invited to contribute to the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization, which brings experts together with the civil society, the business community and media, to promote prudent environmental policies and programs across the region. The two students, from the College of Arts and Sciences, were selected through a competitive process to take part in AFED’s Future Environment Leaders Program.
The forum’s 10th annual conference was held in Beirut November 2-3, and was attended by approximately 400 delegates from 46 countries, representing public agencies, corporations, universities, research centers and civil society. Isra Arshad Alam and Mais Aiman Al Qadi, as part of the Future Environment Leaders Program, provided input into the recommendations made by the AFED.
Isra Arshad Alam said of her attendance at AFED:
“It was an exciting opportunity, particularly this year, as the conference was extended to include student-oriented activities through the Future Environment Leaders Program, which aims to involve the youth in matters of importance to the country, region and planet. As students from the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, we were able to contribute to the discussion about regional environmental management issues and provide essential input on implementing environmental research and development within the Middle East. Additionally, we were involved in the discussion on economic and social development in the region. As representatives of AUS, we were able to gain more understanding about the region’s state of the environment, and the various mitigation strategies that have been implemented to achieve the goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda of 2030, and the Paris Agreement.”
Mais Aiman Al Qadi, reflected positively on her forum experience:
“As this is one of the most prestigious environmental forums held annually in the Middle East, I was honored to represent AUS at the forum and share the knowledge I gained throughout my academic journey at AUS. The meeting was very educational, as the sessions featured speakers from different universities and many research organizations. It was especially interesting because environmental issues were discussed from many different viewpoints. One of the most important topics of this forum was how environmental science, as multidisciplinary science, needs to be communicated with non-science stakeholders. Overall, it was a great experience that will benefit me in the years to come.”