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Dubai has been getting a lot of attention recently ... A number of faultfinding articles written by architectural critics have popped up in the wake of it's recent financial decline ... While others have sought to give off the impression that the race is still on for it to be the number one economic & tourist destination in the MENA.
In a previous post I too shared my thoughts on this Emirate, with a specific focus on migrant labor exploitation in lieu of what I described as a "rapid, inorganic, contextless design" - something that many countries in the region have their fair share of.
At the same time I made a conscious effort to distance myself from the typical doomsayers by bringing up the fact that it has a unique ability to draw from cultures all over the world and create spaces where they can engage one another in fresh and exciting ways. One shining example of this is the extraordinary new initiative known as Tawasul - started by some very passionate diving instructors, environmentalists, & even a family member of mine.
As Ernst van der Poll explains in the video I've embedded above, it gives the young people of this ancient port city the opportunity to reengage the underwater world they are surrounded by in a more humble and inspiring way. Since pearl divers were some of the very first people to settle and make a living in Al-Wasl, this project literally brings Dubai back to its roots.
- To cultivate environmental awareness and interest within the youth of the U.A.E in preserving the marine environment and its resources.
- To deliver environmental education, sustainable lifestyle and responsible consumption workshops mobilising the diving community youth to participate in environmental conservation locally and internationally.
- To promote corporate support for local schools thereby strengthening corporate commitment to the conservation of the marine environment.
- To foster a collaborative spirit across cultures in raising awareness on the fragile nature of marine life and to set common conservation goals.
- To apply techniques that preserve underwater life and cultural heritage.
- To support research on environmentally sound approaches to interactions with the marine life on a recreational or commercial level.