International Humanitarian City (IHC), the global humanitarian hub created by the Government of Dubai under the Directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and chaired by HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, has begun a new initiative that brings together students and UN agencies.

As part of its mandate to enable humanitarian efforts in the UAE, the IHC has begun a series of seminars through which it aims to facilitate information exchange and raise awareness about important global humanitarian issues as well as the work being done by the United Nations agencies. For this, it is partnering with higher educational institutions in the UAE. The seminars aim to give the students some real-life understanding and on-ground knowledge to add to their classroom education.

The first seminar was host to a delegation of 45 law students from Sharjah University. They were given a presentation by an expert in international law, Mr. Firas Kayali of the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, which is one of IHC’s member organizations.

The students were introduced to the United Nations – its structure and functioning – to get an understanding of the scope of their activities. They were also informed about the flow of information in humanitarian work. The seminar focused on issues related to the international law, and the important role that UAE is playing by hosting the United Nations agencies and facilitating their work from Dubai-IHC.

The students were happy to learn about the UN and its work. They also expressed interest in contributing to the humanitarian field in the future. One of the students remarked that, “Sharjah university law students admire the work and activities undertaken by the UN agencies in the UAE. We highly appreciate IHC’s role in creating and organizing activities that enable us to contribute and be part of the humanitarian issues.”

Ms. Makiya Al Hajiri, CEO of IHC, emphasized IHC’s aim to network the students with the humanitarian community, “By bringing in experts from the United Nations to talk directly to students, we hope to promote greater interest and knowledge about the humanitarian work being done by these agencies in the hope that it will have a more positive impact in the future for both the students and the UN agencies.”

IHC feels that the students are an important audience for humanitarian messages, and is in talks with various higher educational institutes in Dubai and the other Emirates, to partner on future seminars such as this one.