The inaugural meeting of the TASS Middle Eastern hub on March 21, 2023 saw 40 UAE schools come together to discuss ways to implement sustainability in schools.
The event was hosted by The Arbor School, a Founding Member of The Alliance for Sustainable Schools, and brought together educators, sustainability experts, and facilities and operations managers from around the region, all collaborating to share best practices and strategies for sustainability in schools.
TASS Founder and Chairman, Anthony Dixon, said: “Schools working together are a vastly under-estimated resource in the effort to combat climate change and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. The strong response to this inaugural event affirms that The Alliance’s mission really resonates with sustainability practitioners in schools in this region. Our impact is already tangible.”
The event began with a welcome speech by Brett Girven, Principal of Arbor Dubai, a leading ecological and sustainability-focused school in the Middle East. Mr. Girven highlighted the power of a network to create change, and the importance of the scale and urgency of change required from all members of a community in his speech and further commented that:
“International schools in Dubai particularly serve the portion of the population who are required to make the biggest changes. The areas which schools have in common –curriculum, pedagogies, facilities, uniforms, transport, and food, are the areas where we can harness the collective power of our network to drive change.”
Over 50 delegates attended workshops and discussions on a range of topics, including accelerating change in sustainable school operations, curiosity in the curriculum, and primary and secondary curriculum design to link thinking with action.
In addition to the workshops, attendees were able to tour the Arbor School’s campus, which is designed to be a sustainable and environmentally conscious learning environment. The school’s facilities include three giant climate-controlled rainforest biodomes and an onsite bio farm that supplies fresh produce for the school’s cafeteria and parent café, with food prepared onsite by a Michelin-trained chef, Anna Maria Herreras.
This event was an inspiring success, stirring educators and school operational teams to take action to implement sustainable practices in their own schools and communities. The workshops and tours showcased innovative approaches to sustainability and highlighted the impact that environmentally conscious practices can have on both student learning and the wider community.
Overall, the event served as a catalyst for positive change and left attendees feeling motivated and empowered to make a difference. We hope that this event will serve as a catalyst for future collaborations and initiatives to promote sustainability in education and sustainable school operations.