Social Responsibility

Social responsibility describes the way we are making a difference to the social and economic well-being of our communities through our teaching, research, and public events and activities. It is one of our three core strategic goals in Our future: The University of Manchester’s vision and strategic plan, sitting equally alongside our commitments to world-class research, and outstanding learning and student experience.

The impact of our social responsibility initiatives

We strive to make a positive difference to the life and future of our region by taking socially responsible decisions that have real, beneficial, measurable impacts on the people and the world around us.

Social Responsibility is at the core of our strategies. Together with our students, alumni, staff and partners, we engage in social activities that are not only timely and relevant, we also make sure that they are in line with the goals of Dubai and the whole of UAE for a bigger impact in society and the world. Read More

Social responsibility:
15Y x 15 causes for the greater good of the community


To mark the milestone of the Middle East Centre’s 15th anniversary, the team has committed to supporting 15 very worthy causes for the community. Three of the 15 are already in progress and you can read more about the details of these activations, below.

The University of Manchester Middle East Centre is collaborating with Dubai Cares (the UAE-based global philanthropic organisation and part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives) to support one of their signature initiatives – ‘Adopt a School’ - which aims at building a school in a developing country (Nepal) to provide thousands of children with access to quality education. and



Circle of Hope is a charity organisation that works with Emirates Red crescent on various projects, formed by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nayhan.

The 'Wanna Read?' Initiative promotes the 'Love for Literacy' in children's wards local hospitals by arranging virtual reading sessions where staff, students and alumni  will have the opportunity to read texts virtually to children in hospitals across the UAE.                       

The Middle East Centre joined forces with ‘Sahem for Hope’ – an NGO working for social causes – on one of their main initiatives, a Gift Food Pack drive to provide basic food necessities for those in need. Staff volunteers from the Middle East Centre contacted families to verify the family members in need of help and arrange logistics for delivery. The team not only packed all the individual food packages but also dropped them with the families.

Sahem arranges Saturday Food Drives and these campaigns are supported by volunteers who come together to arrange the Gift Food Packs and then deliver to drop off points at various locations in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, along with individual drop-offs in specific residential areas, and selected labour camps (Sharjah and Dubai)

Verification is critical to the entire process to ensure food packages go to the most deserving members of the community, who have reached out to Sahem for help. This means connecting with recipients to better understand their current challenges, job status, financial and visa status, and learn how have they been making ends meet through help from the community or charities.

‘Sahem for Hope’ is a UAE based community initiative that enables food access to those who need it. The group, inspired by the Arabic word for ‘contribution’, works to connect those who can help, with members of society whose access to food has been disrupted since the outbreak of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Their relief efforts focus on identifying and verifying the most vulnerable in society and supporting them with packages comprising of food essentials. This food pack is given as emergency relief, which is sufficient for two people for approximately one week.


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Kicking off the 15 causes was a blood donation drive, inviting our students, alumni , Teaching Assistants and Middle East Centre staff members to donate blood through the Dubai Blood Donation Center. Two sessions were arranged during May at the Jumeirah Emirates Hotel in Dubai, during MBA workshops, with a special mobile blood donation unit parked close to the hotel for ease of access. Giving the gift of life is a very basic social responsibility and every donation makes a difference with each blood donation able to save 3-4 patients. Thanks to the commitment of all the students, alumni and staff, a total of 20 units of precious blood were collected through the campaign.

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An ambitious plan to plant 15 trees in each of the countries of residence represented by our entire community of students and alumni is currently underway. Working closely with our alumni in cities across the region, we have shipped packs consisting of tree planting seeds, and a set of branded items including 15th anniversary badge, bag, shirt, cap. A volunteer alumnus in each city was asked to arrange the tree planting and to shoot photos while doing so. To date, the campaign has covered countries in the GCC and wider Middle East. Our sincere thanks to Martyna Al Qassab (Bahrain), Hamed Abu Saadeh (Kuwait), Marie Therese Salameh (Qatar), Omar Al Halawani (Jordan), Khaled Khedr (Egypt), Abulrahman Al Harbi (Saudi Arabia) for the initiative in their cities.

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We supported a series of initiatives launched during and beyond the Holy month of Ramadan (May 2021) to individuals in need, this is an opportunity to give back to the community that we are part of. We worked closely on initiatives with Emirates Red Crescent, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), "Beit Al Khair Society", to support for:

  • Providing Food (Iftar) for people fasting
  • 100 million meals drive.
  • Food basket valued at AED200, AED500 or AED800
  • Beit Alkhair Fasting Project (AED10 a meal)

Beacon of Hope UAE aspires to bring life, light and literacy to impoverished children globally hoping to make a measurable impact on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by focusing on the SDGs global commitment to the goals of Good Health & Well-Being, Quality Education and Clean & Safe Energy.

"The ‘beacon-in-a-box’ solar-lights have more than the power to illuminate the night, they have the power to illuminate the mind. ‘Beacon of Hope UAE’ is providing opportunity and hope, one light… and one child, at a time. We bought 150 kits which were assembled during induction by MBA students and packed and sent back to children in Africa.


We have partnered with EMEG, the Jebel Ali Marine Reserve on the western border of Dubai is used as a base to develop and organise educational camps for schools, community members and corporate groups in an effort to increase awareness and understanding of regional environmental threats and issues.

This enables us to take participate in their annual Conservation awareness event for the release of hatchlings into the ocean from designated beach at Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary.

Under our partnership with EMEG, we will conduct an annual Traditional Emirati dinner held at the sanctuary under the open sky. This will be an opportunity to spend some quality time with the nature and cultural awareness.

Under our partnership with EMEG, we will conduct an Educational activity to teach volunteers about wildlife found in the sanctuary and the different species. This will be conducted twice in a year.

We have partnered with EMEG and we are planting a Mangrove forest in the name of the university. This forest will be made up of 1000 trees in the name of The University of Manchester Middle East Centre and can be tracked & tackled in terms of growth, & how much CO2 emission it reduces during the timelines of its growth.

Under our partnership with EMEG we will host Beach Clean-up events at Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary almost every three months for a better environment support

This project is run in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office, with essential veterinary support provided by the Dubai Falcon Clinic and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory. The project was launched after the need for a turtle rescue and rehabilitation facility was realized by the Wildlife Protection Office - stranded turtles started to be brought in to them. The main goals of the project are

  1. Rescue, rehabilitate and release back into the wild any sea turtles that are found sick or injured throughout the region.
  2. Educate local children, citizens and international hotel guests about sea turtle biology and the local and global plight of the sea turtle.
  3. Understand the success of rehabilitation and to research turtle movements throughout the region and beyond via a satellite tracking initiative.
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DGrade has a goal to 'close the loop' by turning plastic into useful items with a tangible use - uniforms, corporate wear, sports kits, accessories, masks etc.  They work with companies to provide a framework for the collection of plastic from offices or site locations.

The Webinar on What is Sustainability will educate participants and can provide textile products to give away to either reward for recycling, or just to show that something is being done with the plastic collected (and hopefully combat any cynicism people have about what happens to plastic here!). The webinar will also help in explaining how the participants can contribute to the circular economy.


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The concept is called circular economy, where all the products that are produced in the community are consumed. The waste is collected & converted into a recycled product. It would account towards waste to product concept, minimizing waste & diverting plastic from a landfill.  

At the time of the workshops, where there is a massive plastic bottle production, we collect water bottles in specialised bags (special recycling bins are provided for the workshops), which will be collected at the end of the workshop. The bottles will be converted into a thread, textile and to be designed for UoM merchandise. The t-shirts/merchandise will be distributed to students.




Social Responsibility Events


Dubai Fitness Challenge 2019

In our support of Dubai Fitness Challenge 2019 and turning Dubai into the most active city in the world, the University of Manchester Middle East Centre, along with students, alumni and staff took part the 3rd edition of the Dubai Fitness Challenge! DFC is all about motivating and involving Dubai’s residents to commit to 30 minutes of continuous exercise a day for 30 days, with a month-long calendar of exciting events.


Dubai Run

The first ever Dubai Run, part of the Dubai Fitness challenge, was held last Friday November 8, 2019. The event aimed to promote exercising as, not just keeping us healthy, but bringing the family closer as well. Alumni, students, staff and family members joined the prestigious event

Jadarah Sessions - As part of our ongoing social responsibility initiatives, we have taken part in The Jadarah Talent Accelerator Programme - an initiative to facilitate young competent Arab minds with innovative thinking tools, and expertise on-the-job, all aimed at a fast-track career progression in the burgeoning digital economy. We have hosted 3 sessions on soft skills development – on topics of Emotional Intelligence, Personal Brand, and Coaching & Feedback. In these sessions, the Jadarah cohort engaged in interactive activities, individual work and group discussion. Sessions were led by our careers team – Elena Agaragimova and Hiba Abbassi.

Dubai Standard Chartered Marathon - On January 25, 2019 the University of Manchester Middle East Centre students, alumni, staff, and friends participated in the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon! This was a great way for our centre to kick off our Social Responsibility initiatives for the year.

Dubai Cares “Walk for Education” 2019 - The University of Manchester Middle East Centre staff, students, and alumni took part in the walk, which was in support of the ‘Year of Tolerance‘.

Red Crescent – a volunteer team from the Middle East Centre worked with the Red Crescent to pack complimentary Iftar boxes (the meal that breaks the daily fast) for labourers and workers in Dubai.

WeWalk is an annual walkathon representing people from all walks of life, encouraging a broader understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by individuals every day. By engaging organisations from private and public sectors, TECOM aims to give back to society while also adhering to objectives set in the UAE National Agenda and Vision 2021.

Ramadan fridges - an initiative to position fridges in public spaces around Dubai during Ramadan, to provide food for the needy, is being supported by the centre and stocked by volunteers from the team.

SOS Gala Suhoor – the Middle East Centre was a partner and sponsor to the Gala Suhoor (evening meal) occasion organised by SOS Children’s Villages, in Dubai, to highlight the work of the charity in providing dedicated family support for children without access to parental care, and to raise funds.

In the spirit of Ramadan, the centre team organised the annual Ramadan gathering for students and alumni in Dubai, attended by over 60 guests who also made generous donations to the Red Crescent during the event.

Social Responsibility Video

15 Trees for 15 Years with Hamed AbuSaadeh
15 trees for 15 years with Omar Al Halawani
15 Trees for 15 Years Tree Planting in Qatar
15 Trees for 15 Years
Cleaning of Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary
Prof Nancy's visit to Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding with Alumni Ambassadors
Marking our 15th year by planting trees
Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project
Mangrove Tree planting with Emirates Marine Environmental Group
‘Adopt a School’ initiative – Unveiling of the School with Dubai Cares 2