A group of nine students from east London recently returned from a 12-day cultural exchange expedition to the Middle East. As part of its commitment to the local community London City Airport sponsored one of the students, Giovana Soobrayen of Plashet School.
The trip, organised by OffScreen, was a quest to build cultural bridges and educate pupils in the United Kingdom about the Arab world. The group departed from London in February 2007 for their twelve-day expedition to the United Arab Emirates and Oman. During their trip the students participated in a balloon trip over the desert, a visit to one of the world’s biggest malls, overnight camping adventures in the desert and on the beach and visits to local schools and mosques.
Following their return, Giovana and other students visited London City Airport to recount their adventures to the airport team. “I grew to love the area, culture and the people. It’s been a great expedition and my most unforgettable moment was experiencing the sand dunes in the desert. I want to thank our sponsors for a trip that I will never forget,” said fifteen-year old Giovana.
A highlight of the trip as described by the students was creating a piece of land art using only objects found on the beach. Five of the objects were man-made whilst five were natural, demonstrating ‘man’s interaction with nature’. The students created a number of pieces of art that were presented to the local schools and community in Dubai and Oman.
London City Airport was also a lucky benefactor of the student’s immense creativity. Charles Buchanan, Business Development Director, proudly accepted an artwork created and presented by Giovana as a thank you, “I am so thrilled to accept this unique art on behalf of the airport. We are committed to our ongoing relationship with the local community, and in particular offering local students the opportunity to excel in their chosen paths. We will find a home for this wonderful art for both the community and passengers to admire and enjoy, ” said Charles.
OffScreen’s web site was visited by over 100,000 web users during the twelve days expedition. “The trip intended to break down nationalistic prejudices. Since the project launched we have reached out to an audience of over 3.5 million people in the UK and Middle East,” Stephen Stapleton, Founder & Director of the Offscreen Education Programme and Expedition Leader.
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