The Global Sustainability Jam was hosted for the first time in Kuwait, from 20 -22 November, under the guidance of Graphic Designer, Yara Faisal Al Adib. This dynamic Graphic Designer has lived in Syria, Lebanon, Netherlands, Italy and Germany and considers herself a citizen of the world. She is presently in Kuwait, as a self-employed Designer who conducts design-oriented workshops for different audiences, works on brand strategies, social initiatives, and trains in the NGO sector. Her aim is to provide the right tools and guidelines to empower professionals in the business and social sector to be successful. In the midst of supervising the busy event, she took a breather to talk to The Times Kuwait about this aspirational event, and how it could possibly help Kuwait.
What are some of the issues you are passionate about?
I love traveling: it feeds my eagerness to meet new people, discover new places, and mingle in new social settings. Laughing with people I like is also something I cherish. It is also important for me to challenge myself, and I constantly seek new challenges to overcome.
How did the event start in Kuwait and what is it meant to achieve?
Each year in November, people interested in creativity, conceptualizing, and collaboration get together in different cities around the globe for the cause of “saving the world in 48 hours.” This is the motto of the Global Sustainability Jam, a non-profit event that started in Europe in 2011, organized by an international network of people, who were interested in exploring approaches to creativity and problem solving. My purpose for hosting the Jam is to shed light on the importance of such a global event that aims to inspire and empower the citizens for creating a better Kuwait. The mission of the Jam is to bring together professionals and students from various backgrounds to spend a weekend creating sustainable products and services for Kuwait. Thanks to Sirdab Lab who willingly provided the space to host such a noble event and supported me all the way throughout the Jam.
What is your involvement in the Global Sustainability Jam?
I decided to organize and host the Sustainability Jam in Kuwait for the first time among 60+ cities world-wide. I was previously a Jam participant in several European cities for the past three years, it was such an insightful and memorable experience that I wanted to share it with Kuwait. To connect with participants in the real world, I invited various Kuwaiti professionals who are currently working around the theme of sustainability. Such professionals like architects, businessmen, innovators, and makers explained the meaning of sustainability by showcasing their projects and current perspective on sustainability in Kuwait. These professionals are the role models and mentors who inspired the other participants and broadened their perspectives.
What is the importance of sustainable development to Kuwait?
Sustainability is an important issue that all countries must take into account in the purview of social, environmental, and economic development. Educating the public, especially the youth, about the importance of sustainability will create socially and environmentally aware citizens. Because the Jam is in Kuwait and the participants are either locals or expats, the ideas will emerge from a need and a desire to create change. Today many sustainable initiatives like community gardens, local farming, recycling services and cultural events are transpiring in a mission to create a more sustainable Kuwait, socially, environmentally, and economically. The Jam enriches existing local talents and helps to emphasize innovative ideas. I also aim to host ‘The Global Service Jam’ in February 2015 and the ‘Global Government Jam’ in June 2015, with the same goal of inspiring and motivating the youth to pioneer services and ideas for Kuwait.
What was the theme for this year, and how did the participants create their projects accordingly?
Under the umbrella of Sustainability, the three themes were: Community, Moving Forward and, Creativity and Fun. The participants created some great projects. One team chose the Community Theme and discussed building creative hubs in Kuwait for people to gather and enrich themselves with the sharing of knowledge. There was another team that talked about Food Waste Management, and showed specially designed packaging that allowed people to take their leftovers home. And another relevant idea was a device that controlled energy wastage. I want the public to know that these ideas are cost-effective and can be implemented easily in Kuwait.
Please tell us how many, and what kind of participants have joined?
There are 27 participants in total, and we work in a small space. It was an open call for any professional, student, maker, or even house-wives. The crowd that participated was from the backgrounds of design, engineering, business, social development, consulting, and academics. The beauty of it all is that all these people worked together to find a solution for a more sustainable Kuwait.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced organizing the event?
It was difficult to explain the purpose of such an event and why I would waste a weekend of my time and effort for a not-for-profit event. I knew that the word “sustainability” was either misunderstood or un-touched, for this reason I made sure I sent out informative messages while advertising for the event.
What were your expectations during the event?
Because it is a free event that was scheduled for the weekend, most of the participants were those who were really interested in learning more about sustainability and looking for people who shared their vision. And I was right, everyone came in on time, with an eagerness to learn more and fix challenges routed in the Kuwaiti community.
Do you think an event like this will resonate with the innovative, creative people in Kuwait?
I think it will. Most of the participants were happy to meet people who are interested in the same issue and wanted to create change through collaboration. By working with other disciplines/professions, the participants understood the value of multidisciplinary teams when it comes to problem solving.
What is the added value of such events to Kuwait?
Because it is an event that focuses on creating sustainable solutions, it becomes part of developing Kuwait. Some of the ideas could be taken further and developed into possible initiatives or startups. Groups will get the chance to turn their ideas into concrete actions; perhaps it will be a service, a physical device, an initiative, a network, or something no-one has thought of yet. It’s all about doing, not talking! On the last day, all groups are required to upload their final outcomes on the Global Sustainability Jam platform for the world to see.
What are some of the goals you would like to achieve with this event?
I believe that the Global Sustainability Jam will be the start of a think-tank in Kuwait for those developers and innovative thinkers out there seeking a platform to share ideas, meet like-minded people, and get inspired about an essential theme: sustainability.