Students tackle complex social, economic problems at MENA Grad Show

Students tackle complex social, economic problems at MENA Grad Show
‘Tabteel’ is a project by Allaa Alhamady from the German University in Cairo. Supplied
Short Url
Updated 08 November 2020

Students tackle complex social, economic problems at MENA Grad Show

Students tackle complex social, economic problems at MENA Grad Show

DUBAI: On display at this year’s Dubai Design Week, set to run from Nov. 9-14, the inaugural MENA Grad Show supports impact-driven projects rooted in robust academic research.

The show is a diverse exhibition of student projects from across the Middle East and North Africa region and aims to “give innovators from MENA universities visibility on an international stage and to create exchange and professional development opportunities,” according to Tadeu Baldani Caravieri, the director if the Global Grad Show that usually goes on display during Dubai Design Week.

“The MENA Grad Show mirrors the Global Grad Show’s values and marks the launch of a platform dedicated to academic innovators from the region who are working to solve social and environmental issues,” Caravieri added.

With more than 200 applications from 36 universities tackling the improvement of complex social and economic problems, the selected 50 “demonstrate the student’s ability to understand the nuances of their surroundings, including cultural subtleties,” noted Caravieri. “In many cases, the creative process is permeated by elements pertaining to tradition and heritage, which shows the students care in bridging past, present and future, therefore producing innovation that is easily relatable and adoptable.”

With focus ranging from education to resources management and nutrition, Caravieri notes three key areas. Health, for example, sees Sohaila Alaa Eldin Ramadan from the German University in Cairo propose a toolkit for low-income families with children suffering diabetes that allows for easy blood glucose monitoring. Repurposing of waste, including food containers and natural textile dye made out of date seeds, is explored by Amal Hassan Alsuwaidi from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation. The third area, he adds, is low-footprint production processes, explored in a project by Maadi Mosa Mohammed Asiri from King Khalid University in Saudi Arabia, who created fertilizers from the by-products of lithium manufacturing plants.

With urgent issues at hand, are young designers under further pressure to innovate?

“The complexity of issues such as COVID-19 certainly brings the realization that, more than ever, collaborative efforts are necessary. And indeed a number of online-based initiatives took place all around the world, bringing young minds together,” Caravieri said. 


Model Imaan Hammam takes a break from social media

Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP
Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP
Updated 23 January 2021

Model Imaan Hammam takes a break from social media

Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP

DUBAI: Model Imaan Hammam is taking a social media break “to reset and reflect,” she revealed this week. 

The Dutch catwalk star, who was born to an Egyptian father and a Moroccan mother, took to her Instagram platform to raise awareness about mental health in light of “Blue Monday,” the third Monday in January, which is dubbed to be the most gloomy day of the year.

Urging her one million followers to prioritize their mental well-being, Hammam posted a photo of herself wearing a yellow t-shirt bearing a number for the mental health crisis hotline. 

She wrote: “(Wednesday) was a really exciting step forward for the US. But as we celebrate, I also want to remember that the day-to-day struggles people are facing — especially with mental health — don’t just disappear with a new administration. This past Monday (#BlueMonday) was the supposed scientifically proven most depressing day of the year.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Imaan Hammam (@imaanhammam)

She went on to encourage her followers to check out music collective Enjoy Being in Transition’s new trilogy of mixes curated by one of fashion’s favorite sound designers, Michel Gaubert, in order to bring peace and harmony and “to be a source of relief and inspiration for a society feeling the fatigue and the effects of depression from this past year.” She even plugged the link to the Blue Room playlist in her Instagram bio.

The 24-year-old also announced that she has started releasing monthly Spotify playlists in an effort to help uplift her fans’ spirits. 

“Speaking of mental health,” she concluded, “I am going to take a little break from social for a bit, just to reset and reflect. Sending you guys love and I’ll be back soon.”

Hammam isn’t the only supermodel to take a break from social media to prioritize their mental health in recent weeks. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

Part-Palestinian catwalker Bella Hadid briefly abandoned the photo-sharing social media platform at the beginning of this month. 

A few weeks after departing, Hadid explained to her 38 million followers why she felt she needed to quit. 

“I took some time away to reflect and learn about myself in a way that would be too much to explain at the moment, but with time I will express,” the model wrote. “The memories and fortune I came back with are pure wisdom, a closer relationship with myself and my spirituality, a sense of self-love that I have always lacked, a few great friends, and these books that saw me through.”