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HBKU’s CIS tackles UN SDGs at ‘Maker-Majlis’

HBKU’s CIS tackles UN
SDGs at ‘Maker-Majlis’

Tribune News Network
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 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
More than 1,100 school students as well as 500 visitors attended the ‘Maker-Majlis: Islam in a Global World’ event. Over the course of four days, attendees participated in a range of activities designed specifically to highlight challenges addressed by the SDGs.
The exhibitions included 20 student projects covering specific global goals, while a series of panels and discussions offered expert insights into 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; 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 recognise the potential within us and the collective power of our contributions, and bring these efforts together to realize sustainable change,” he said.
Maker-Majlis rounded off with the SDG Awards, which recognised civil society organisations, 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 recognises 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.”