In a launch ceremony that was widely attended by media, the public, students, staff, and faculty, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) today inaugurated its Makerspace initiative – titled Green Economy, Business, and Entrepreneurship in Qatar – to promote a greater understanding of ethics and practices of green economies across the broader community. The opening ceremony of the two-day event included a tour of the exhibition space, which involved HBKU’s top officials, including President Dr. Ahmad M. Hasnah; Vice President for Student Affairs Maryam Hamad Al-Mannai; Dean of the College of Science and Engineering Dr. Mounir Hamdi; and Dean of the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) Dr. Emad El-Din Shahin.
Elaborating upon the development of the initiative, how it impacts the community as well as the take-home messages the initiative’s makers wish to share with visiting guests, Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean For Innovation and Community Advancement at CIS Dr. Mohamed Evren Tok, said, "In the months preceding the Makerspace Initiative, our team members worked dedicatedly to develop a collaborative space that could bring together diverse individuals and organizations alike to learn more about green economies, business and entrepreneurship. By roping in different sectors of the community to partake in the hands-on and interactive learning activities, we aim to effectively broaden our collective understanding of sustainability and environmental protection through practice and activation.
“Most importantly, we wish to enable members of our community to reimagine their personal and organizational lifestyles, so that every one of us may meaningfully contribute to Qatar's ongoing transformation into a forward-looking, self-sustaining and knowledge-based economy."
Key speakers at the event include subject experts from Qatar, both residents and nationals, as well as international visitors – all of whom bring their unique brand of experience having worked on successful business models that endorsed green economies or having effectively promoted sustainable lifestyles.
Forough Piroozi, designer and owner at Rozy Fashion, described her participation at the event: “I’m very excited to participate today at the Makerspace Initiative because it gives companies like mine an outlet to showcase our unique recycling-based business models. My work first began when I innovated upon my abayas – our traditional dress – to give them both more functionality as well as an sporty appearance for my daily exercises. Encouraged by the praise I received, I made an entire collection of athletic-wear abayas by recycling cloth from our traditional garments and combining it with material from known sports brands. With passing time, I diversified my line to include evening wear abayas. My collections optimize available resources, merging production with sustainable recycling, to produce unique designs, which keep my clients coming back for more.”
The initiative brings together organizations and the wider community for a series of exhibitions, workshops, and short talks discussing environmentally friendly and ethical industrial practices. Several interactive activities are planned over the course of the event. One sub-initiative is the competitive Makeathon, where groups of united individuals were today encouraged to solve issues relating to waste management, sustainable tourism, environmental awareness, and water security. To aid their assignment, select participants received a number of fabrication tools such as microcontroller kits, 3D printers, CNC routers, as well as repurposed resources.
The event also hosts an inspiring awareness exhibition surrounding the many possibilities of sustainable survival, coined Living off the Land, and a friendly kids’ zone that aims to inspire the next generation of green advocates. Additionally, as part of a community movement that aims to clean Qatar, members of the general public today partook in a recycling workshop, where they brought along their own recycling materials – including used water bottle caps, water bottles, newspapers, plastic bags, and textiles.
For this initiative, HBKU has partnered with a number of experts, supporters, and partners, including Qatar Development Bank, the Qur’anic Botanic Garden, Qatar Green Building Council, Qatar National Research Fund and Al Jaber Green Construction. Prominent business startups and entrepreneurs practicing ecological models are showcasing their work, which remains on display at various outlets across the Education City Student Center until tomorrow. Exhibitors include the Green Maasai Troupe, Rozy Fashion, Papercut, Q-e Waste, Safe-Q, Qatar Behavioral Insights Unit, Agrico, Global Farm for Agricultural Supplies, and IbTECHar.