Final year students of the German University in Cairo’s (GUC) Architecture and Urban Design Department have been honoured by the Ministry of Environment jointly with the UNDP Mainstream Biodiversity Into Tourism Development (MBTD).
In 2020, six GUC final year students had been offered an internship by MBTD to provide architecture solutions for major sensitive areas, to attract responsible tourism into the Red Sea region in Egypt. MBTD is a four year project designed to mainstream biodiversity into the Egyptian tourism sector and government; it was launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Environment and UNDP.
The GUC students were required to conduct ground tests and offer architecture design solutions to improve the life of the Bedouin living in the village of al-Gharqana in the South Sinai nature reserve of Nabq, 35km north of Sharm al-Sheikh.
According to the GUC website, the architecture team visited the site in October 2020 aiming to examine the daily routine, culture and tradition of the Bedouin in the village. The first phase of the study included environmental, sociocultural and sustainable tourism guideline analysis to ensure that the proposal eventually reflects the culture heritage of Bedouin, and at the same time attracts tourism.
During the honouring ceremony in Cairo, Dr Wafaa Nadim, Professor of Urban Design at GUC, gave a presentation of the proposal to develop al-Gharqana. The proposal, she said, focused on developing an architectural vision with an eye to the environmental requirements of the region, and mindful of providing a decent life for the local population. According to Dr Nadim, the GUC students’ proposal provides a model for environmental architecture mindful of the identity and culture of the locals; it also respects biodiversity, and is remarkable for its simple execution and maintenance, in addition to being recycling friendly and attractive to responsible tourism.
Dr Nadim said that the internship offered to the students by the Ministry of Environment and UNDP, gave them the opportunity to interact with the community and be an active tool for development.
For her part, Minister of Environment Yasmin Fouad commended the work of the GUC team, saying that it represented an excellent model of harmony with the nature, and reflected the young people’s understanding of the significance of preserving the environment.
Dr Fouad presented Dr Yasser Hegazy, GUC President with a shield, and the participating students with certificates of appreciation for their outstanding work.
26 December 2021