Four-day event connects global goals, Qatari youth, the Islamic world and Qatar’s strategic objectives
From competitions to elevator pitches, and much more, the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) first Maker-Majlis fulfilled its objective to better connect Qatari youth with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In doing so, the event heightened awareness of the relevance of the global goals for the Islamic world and Qatar’s strategic objectives.
Maker-Majlis: Islam in a Global World was attended by more than 1,100 school students as well as 500 visitors. Over the course of four days, attendees participated in a range of activities designed specifically to highlight challenges addressed by the SDGs. Exhibitions included 20 student projects covering specific global goals, while a series of panels and discussions offered expert insights on a wealth of sustainability issues. Guest speakers included Dr. Azza Karam, Senior Adviser, United Nations Population Fund; Dr. Hugo Slim, Head of Policy, International Committee of the Red Cross; Prof. Richard Falk, Princeton University; Mr. Jason Pronyk, Regional Manager of UN Volunteers in Middle East; and Hany Al-Banna, Founder of Islamic Relief.
Participants also had the chance to present their start-up ideas and pitches, most notably to the 23 international partners that helped to make the Maker-Majlis a resounding success. Innovation was undoubtedly at the heart of all competitions at this year’s event. These included the week-long Entrepreneurship Makeathon sponsored by Qatar Development Bank, which tasked university students with designing projects related to various SDGs relevant to Qatar. Sixty Halaqa Talks —in the form of TED Talk-style inspirational talks — were delivered across the four days by the youth on topics relevant to global challenges. Participants joined live sessions in Doha Debates’ Shared Portals and discussed various SDG-related issues with participants from Gaza, Lagos, Lesbos, Herat, and California.
At the launching event of the Maker-Majlis, Dr. Emad El-Din Shahin, dean of CIS, spoke on the aim of the grand initiative: “More than ever before, our communities are in need of becoming better informed and more invested in our future. We can no longer – and never have been able to – afford to be ignorant of the havoc in our world. We cannot continue to be passive and rely on a supposed someone else to take the lead. We must all recognize the potential within us and the collective power of our contributions; and bring these efforts together to realize sustainable change.”
Maker-Majlis: Islam in a Global World rounded off with the SDG Awards, which recognized civil society organizations, private sector leaders, and other individuals who have advanced SDGs on the global stage. Other awards presented at the event focused on national efforts to fulfil the SDGs across six different categories. The Maker-Majlis also hosted an award dedicated to Akhlaquna, a Qatar Foundation-supported award that recognizes the efforts of exceptional Qatari youth who initiate projects that serve their community and beyond.
Speaking after the event, Dr. M. Evren Tok, assistant dean of innovation and community development and associate professor of Islam and global affairs, CIS, said: “We’re delighted to have staged an event that tackled all the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals head-on. Thanks to our unique mix of interactive sessions, exhibitions, and expert discussions, we’re also confident that Qatar now has a deeper understanding of the importance of the global goals. Finally, staging Maker-Majlis: Islam in a Global World underscores the College of Islamic Studies’ commitment to frame intellectual debates on Islam in a global context.
“While we acknowledge the excellent contributions made by all our partners, we’d like to pay particular tribute to the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). HBKU’s first Maker-Majlis would have been a very different event without their full support and participation.”
The College of Islamic Studies regularly hosts public lectures and conferences to promote a deeper understanding of the various aspects of Islam among the wider community. As part of its ongoing efforts, the college continues to host its Explore Moral Values and SDGs through LEGO Serious Play workshops, which reinforces a value-based perspective in relation to the SDGs.
For more information, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa.