UNEP Delegation Visits Nairobi Campus

On Tuesday 7th May 2024, Dr Iyad Abu Moghli, founder and Director of the Faith for Earth Coalition at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), visited the Nairobi campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah. He was accompanied by a delegation of five other members from the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.

Dr Abu Moghli has dedicated around 40 years to strategic planning, sustainable development, interfaith collaboration, and innovation. His work centres around the interplay of religion and the environment, ethics, values, and spirituality in environmental governance. He played a crucial role in the UNEP's co-hosting of the COP28 Global Faith Leaders Summit in Abu Dhabi, where His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, represented by his son, Shahzada Husain Burhanuddin, signed the ‘ABU DHABI INTERFAITH STATEMENT FOR COP28’.

Upon arrival on campus, Dr Iyad and his delegation received a warm welcome from the Principal and senior faculty members. Afterward, they embarked on a guided tour of the campus, which showcased the unique blend of tradition and modernity that is central to Aljamea's philosophy. This was evident not only in the academy's curriculum and outreach initiatives but also in its architectural design and overall aesthetics.

The campus emphasis on sustainability was particularly highlighted during the visit. The design incorporates features such as rainwater harvesting, passive ventilation, and natural lighting, which significantly reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, one third of the campus is designated as green space, and over 250 trees flourish on the grounds. Dr Iyad was also introduced to Aljamea's sustainable subsistence farming initiative, which utilises composted waste from the campus kitchen and dining hall to produce a variety of organic fruits and vegetables.

The guests proceeded to a walk-through exhibition showcasing the Dawoodi Bohra community's sustained global endeavours for environmental preservation. The exhibition highlighted major focus areas such as water conservation, cleanliness and zero waste initiatives, adoption of renewable energy sources, and initiatives to increase green cover. Dr Iyad was highly impressed by the community's comprehensive approach, noting its alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He commended how the community's environmental efforts are inspired, informed, and driven by faith and the guidance of His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. He then urged the community to share its efforts with UNEP and the world, as they could serve as an inspiring model for other faith-based communities to emulate.

Dr Iyad then delivered an engaging talk in the academy’s auditorium which was attended by the entire student body and faculty. He spoke about the vision behind Al-Mizan, a covenant founded on the principles of Islam which calls Muslims across the world towards action for the good of the environment. He also mentioned how the principles of faith and the guidance of faith leaders have the unique ability to inspire and instruct people in ways which legislation and policy are unable.

In his discussion, he emphasised the interdependence of natural ecosystems and the vital roles played by even the tiniest creatures. He cited a narrative from the Torah and the Bible, relating to the Nabi Nuh’s AS (Prophet Noah) ark. When Allah Taʿala instructed Nabi Nuh AS to carry pairs of all species, the Prophet inquired about two gnats. Allah reiterated His command, emphasising that even the gnats had a purpose in creation and should be saved. Similarly, the Holy Quran mentions how Allah does not disdain to give the parable of a gnat or even smaller creatures. Dr Iyad used these narratives to illustrate the intricate design of natural systems, the delicate balance struck by Allah, and how seemingly insignificant efforts contribute to greater good.

Expressing his deep admiration for the academy as well as the broader community, Dr Iyad remarked that he looked forward to continuing this meaningful dialogue with Aljamea and the Dawoodi Bohra community as well as working together on sustained initiatives for environmental awareness.

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