Launch event spotlights role of women in sustainable development
Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has published its inaugural Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) report, showcasing the institution’s contribution to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The report was presented alongside a panel discussion that showcased the voices of women in promoting sustainability in the MENA region.
Featuring a summary of CUD’s progress since becoming a signatory to PRME in 2021, the Sharing Information of Progress (SIP) Report presents the University’s achievements in accordance with the key PRME Principles – purpose, values, method, research, partnership, and dialogue. The inaugural SIP also highlights the institution’s positive impacts towards the UN SDGs through endeavours in education, teaching, research, social welfare, and business operations.
Staged in the presence of university president and vice chancellor, Prof Karim Chelli, and an audience of students, faculty and guests, the report was presented by the faculty of management PRME Committee members, Dr Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch, Dr Soumaya Askri, Attorney Nora Barson, Dr Davide Contu and Dr Kiran Tangri. Speaking about the UN PRME report, Prof. Chelli said: “We will continue to contribute to the ongoing sustainable transformation in the dynamic city of Dubai, and globally, by working with PRME to advance innovative approaches to sustainable management in education.”
Opening the launch event, senior lecturer, Nora Barson JD, introduced the report, highlighting the vital role that education institutions have to play in advancing both environmental and economic sustainability. Professor in the School of Management and Chair of the PRME Committee, Dr Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch, went on to moderate the panel discussion on the theme, ‘Empowering Women in Environmental Sustainability: The Voice of Women from the MENA Region’.
Joining the panel were Olfa Soukri, expert in development economics and co-founder of Hammamet Valley Hub; Raiza Ghazi, award-winning global public speaker on inclusive leadership and women’s leadership; Zaahira Zabeen Muthy, founder of ZeeArts; Dr Dima Jamali, Dean of the School of Management at CUD; and Ms. Sanaz Sotoudeh, CUD’s resident international concert pianist and music lecturer.
Exploring a range of actions related to education and enterprise, each panel member discussed how their own professional endeavours have intersected with the drive towards sustainable development. Stressing the importance of pursuing all aspects of sustainability – social, economic and environmental – Soukri said, “This is a calling for me, to work in partnership for the protection of the planet and the prosperity of all.” Sharing details of ZeeArt’s United for Climate initiative, in collaboration with COP28, Muthy added, “We are empowering artists to engage with local communities to address climate change and create public installations that represent this commitment.”
Going on to discuss sustainability in the context of artificial intelligence (AI), the panel shared their insights into the potential impact of advancing technology on the sustainable development agenda. Highlighting the power of AI as a catalyst for change to drive social advancement, the panel also cautioned that its lack of human traits, such as emotional intelligence and ethical reasoning, may present a challenge by reinforcing inequalities and increasing the economic gap further.
Closing the discussion, each panellist was invited to share their tips for integrating the sustainability mindset into both business operations and everyday life. The speakers agreed on the need for authenticity, collaboration and persistence in taking small steps each day to build a meaningful legacy. Ghazi concluded, “Take care about how you present yourself and speak the language of sustainability. Have a personal reason for being involved and represent that genuinely.”
Speaking about the panel, Dr Jamali said: “We are privileged to have heard from eminent female leaders representing various dimensions of the sustainability landscape in the region. As a university community, we take inspiration from their many accounts of creativity and innovation in the pursuit of sustainable development, and we are motivated to take actions that leave a legacy as we approach the future with passion and purpose.”
Following the panel discussion, students engaged in a practical session on sustainable artistry and eco-friendly creation, led by Moatz Khalil, Winner of The Emerging Artist People Choice Award, World Art Dubai 2021.