Ali Haji with an official.
Doha: Ali Haji, a resident of Doha, Qatar and student at Qatar Academy, was one of 15 Greater Middle Eastern students selected to participate in the 2013 Ocean for Life programme at NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in June and early July in California.
Ocean for Life is an educational field study programme that enhances cultural understanding among high school students through ocean science.
The programme is a partnership between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, The GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Programme in the Near East and North Africa region and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
This is a unique programme that brings together Middle Eastern and US high school students of diverse cultures and backgrounds to study ocean science, and in the course of that, break down stereotypes and strengthen our global relationships.
The premise is simple but powerful: We are all connected by the ocean, and by studying the ocean, we can learn about improving stewardship of the planet and ourselves: one world, one ocean.
Thirty students, including 15 from seven countries in the Near East North Africa region: Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar were selected to participate in the 2013 Ocean for Life programme in Santa Barbara, California and on Santa Cruz Island. The remaining 15 students came from 12 states in the United States.
The 2013 field study in June and early July is hosted by Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the University of California Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute.
Close to the California mainland, this federally protected sanctuary encompasses the ocean environment surrounding Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara Islands, and protects a rich diversity of marine life.
The Ocean for Life programme is designed around three main themes: a sense of place, interconnectedness, and ocean conservation and stewardship.
Activities focus on ocean science and exploration, cultural exchanges, stewardship activities, such as beach clean-ups and the development of youth media projects.
Students documented their experiences through video and still photography, mentored by staff from Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society Media Camp and American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking.
The lead sponsor for the 2013 Ocean for Life field study to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is the Qatar Foundation International with additional funding support from Khalid bin Sultan’s Living Oceans Foundation and The Ettinger Foundation. Ocean for Life is supported by a host of public and private interests that contribute instruction, use of facilities and reduced fees to participating students. The Peninsula