QF’s HBKU to Host Post-COVID 19 Design School
Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Press Releases QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University to Host Post-COVID 19 Design School

Students from 25 countries will design novel solutions for the post-pandemic ‘new normal’

Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), in collaboration with SOGLAB (Turkey), NOBOX Lab (Morroco), UNDP (Lebanon Office), and the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) will host the region’s first human-centered design summer school. Design a Post-COVID Normal will act as a virtual playground to stimulate and design potential solutions for a new normal after the pandemic. The multi-stakeholder program, to be hosted virtually by HBKU, received more than 1000 applications from across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the end, 111 students from 25 countries were admitted for this program which runs May 31 to June 25.

COVID-19 has undeniably created a vacuum in various sectors, ranging from rising unemployment and furloughing to the diminishing of already limited resources. In 2015, the United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to act as a blueprint for future peace and prosperity. During the past few months, however, there has been a major disruption in progress made, ranging from the loss of food supplies for vulnerable communities to remote learning opportunities for millions of children across the world. Further inhibition of progress towards these goals may yet result in prolonged suffering for potentially millions of individuals.

Dr. M. Evren Tok, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Innovation and Community Advancement at the College of Islamic Studies said: “While this time of great uncertainty has caused disillusionment around the world it also provides opportunities for societies to advance together. This summer, HBKU in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme has identified 12 SDGs at risk that require a quick and effective remodeling approach in order to rectify the diversifying changes COVID-19 is causing.” 

Moral, ethical, and practical questions have been raised about current local and global policies as existing systems, despite their best efforts, show the need for improvement. A mix of close instruction, open-space discussions, break-out groups, and facilitation will help the 111 participants to generate design-based responses to these challenges. 

Taking into consideration the biosphere, economy, and societal changes, students are being tasked with designing a prototype-level solution towards a specific problem in one of these categories. They will put forth creative solutions while engaging in design-centered workshops and webinars hosted by SOGLAB and NOBOX Lab to enhance their creative side. Students from diverse disciplines will collaborate and work towards the four stages of the course: Inspiration, Ideation, Implementation, and Sharing.

Design Post-COVID Normal reflects that the new normal should empower youth to explore their resources and encourage them to seek new knowledge – a notion of increasing importance. This rigorous and challenging program attempts to redefine education in the modern age and aims to solidify the relationship between sustainable development and innovation in a new age.

The faults in our systems and cracks in our foundational progress have been exposed, causing a demand for a change in the system to improve for future generations. Programs such as Design Post-COVID Normal work to provide a platform to foster novel solutions alongside enhancing key skills required for effective leaders in the future - ones who have the agency and desire to create change for the better.

Hamad Bin Khalifa University regularly holds events to highlight its research activities and projects. For more information, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa.

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