Empowering Qatar’s youth to a more sustainable future
20 January 2019, Doha, Qatar - ACS International School Doha celebrated its first Young Sustainability Awards, an initiative to encourage students to think critically about their environment. The award ceremony featured representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Municipality, sustainability advocates and local media, alongside participating students and their parents.
The Young Sustainability Awards called for the school’s students of all ages, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, to submit action-oriented initiatives. The judging panel comprised ACS Doha teachers and the winners were announced at a special ceremony where they were congratulated and awarded their prizes by special guests from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment as well as Ghanim Al Sulaiti, the young Qatari influencing figure and sustainability advocate.
While younger students submitted drawings, ideas and models, older students proposed fully-fledged initiatives. Early Childhood winner, Ananya Sharma, built an eco-friendly planet model using concepts of recycling and pollution. Lower School Grade 5 winners, Tania De Rossi and Valentina Melara, submitted a proposal to make the ACS Doha’s new school building (opening in August 2020) a plastic-free campus by conducting research on the perceptions of their classmates, gathering data and developing a proposal. Meanwhile, Middle and High School winner, Abdul Rehaman Shaad Rahiman, focused on the harmful environmental impact of single-use plastic straws.
The awards ceremony shadows Qatar’s own ambitious goals as it moves towards a culture that aims to live by more sustainable means. From paper to practice, the Young Sustainability Awards represents a fundamental way ACS Doha is implementing its recently-announced five-year education strategy. The winning entries received an experiential learning opportunity with leading industry organizations in sustainability, strengthening ACS’s core values of learning beyond the classroom and introducing students to future career paths.
“The Young Sustainability Awards inspire our students to truly adopt sustainable patterns of living in their own daily lives, creating a new kind of citizen ready for the world. It brings us one step closer to contributing to a future where the environmental pillar of the Qatar National Vision is a reality,” said Robert Cody, Head of School.
Among the special guests was Mr. Mohammed Omar Al Bader, Climate and Renewable Energy Researcher from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment. He said: “It was an honour to have the opportunity to attend this event and see our country’s youth engage in critical thinking about the environment. Seeing such young students become conscious about our environment inspires us to continue to research, explore and build upon the ways we can reduce Qatar’s carbon footprint.”
Co-founder at Evergreen Organics Café, Ghanim Al Sultaiti, had this message for the students: “The solution is for you, as the individual, to start making a change whether that be starting with family or even friends. If we can inspire one person, it’s a step towards change.”
From his part, Dr. Murat Dincer, Head of Sciences at ACS, said: “Encouraging our students to become caring contributors is one of our school’s objectives and something that is reflected through their learning on our International Baccalaureate curriculum. The critical issue of sustainability provides a timely opportunity for our students to explore environmental issues from different perspectives, skills that are helpful not only in the classroom but also in their future careers”.