About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1529-1540
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain


S. Ahmad

American University of Sharjah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
The subject I intend to present is on Critical Discourse in Design in the Visual Communication Program at an American University in the United Arab Emirates. The teaching model for this class is based on an exchange of ideas across cultural, religious and social boundaries. Before I discuss the individual assignments and there out comes it is best to share some facts about the region and its demographic framework.

The UAE, rich in oil and natural gas, has become highly prosperous after gaining foreign direct investment funding in the 1970s. Its present federation of seven "emirates" took shape in 1972. The country has a relatively high Human Development Index for the Asian continent, ranking 39th globally, and having the 5th highest GDP per capita in the world according to the CIA. The population of United Arab Emirates in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 4,618,000, which placed it at number 115 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 1% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 25% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 214 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005–10 was expected to be 4.4%. Government development policies have resulted in large-scale immigration of foreign workers, contributing to the high growth rate; the government in 2005 viewed the immigration rate as too high. The projected population for the year 2025 was 6,875,000. About 80% of the UAE's population originates from outside its borders. By 2003, foreigners were 90% of the 1.7 million work force, with over 50% from India, and 400,000 foreigners arriving annually. An Interesting fact only about 19% of the population are native Emirati. South Asians account for 50% of the total population at last estimate, while other Arabs and Iranians make up 23%. Other expatriates, including Westerners and East Asians, total 8%. Although official religion is Islam 76% of the population are Muslims, primarily Sunnis with a Shia minority. In emirates that officially recognize and grant legal identity to non-Muslim groups. About 9% of the population are Christians. Other faiths include Hindus, Buddhists, Parsis, Baha'is, and Sikhs. The constitution provides for freedom of religion within the scope of established customs.

The Critical Discourse Class participates in an annual competition originating in Slovenia with a worldwide presence titled Memefest that tackles the subjects of social, environmental, issues that constantly provokes the students to be exposed to realities new and often non existing in their realm. Last Spring the students undertook yet another challenge with the Colors Notebook Project. It strongly advocates and encourages freedom of speech and expression no matter who or where you are in the world at the moment. It allows individuals to tell stories that nobody ever wanted to listen to and put your own message out to the world through words, illustrations and photos. It is a way to share your personal notes and thoughts. It is a different medium to give a real voice to “the rest of the world”. My presentation is a proposed visual treat of these projects through sight and sounds. It falls under both the topics Education and Globalization and under New experiences for the international cooperations. It is a platform for a multiethnic young society to express shared global concerns that hold no boundaries.
author = {Ahmad, S.},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1529-1540}}
AU - S. Ahmad
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 1529
EP - 1540
ER -
S. Ahmad (2009) CROSSING BOUNDARIES — VOICES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 1529-1540.