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University of Wollongong Australia students “Responsible Business & IT Vlogs: Fashion through an Ethical Kaleidoscope”

From April 14th – 19th, 2018, five University of Wollongong Australia (UOW) students enrolled in MGNT351: Responsible Leadership toured Dubai to engage with experts to initiate dialogue and research on responsible fashion business. The study tour was funded by a grant awarded to Professor Mario Fernando (UOW) and Dr. Zeenath Reza Khan (UOW, Dubai) by the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR).

1. At Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC). Credit: University of Wollongong.

UOW students undertook the tour as part of their MGNT351: Responsible Leadership group project on social innovation. "It was great to be part of a process to provide this type of exposure to students who would be our future responsible leaders" said Professor Mario Fernando.

Dr Zeenath Reza Khan (UOWD), the local host, through her excellent networks developed a wonderful itinerary for the students. UOW students visited the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and met Professor Sass Brown, the founding Dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation. On the second day, the tour group first visited Runway Dubai where Modupe Omonze (founder) and Sandy Saksena (Empowerment Officer) shared with students how they promote a platform for indigenous women to showcase their fashion designs. Then at Al Buraag Garments in Ajman, students saw the inner workings of a garment factory. Next day, Kazi Gulshan Ara, the owner of Aydin Boutique and Ben Eavis, Vice President of CSR at PVH Off-shore, held seminars for students.

The tour concluded with an engaging panel discussion moderated by Dr Khan. The visiting UOW students, Professors Fernando and Brown, Modupe Omonze and the speakers of the four winning teams from UOWD participated in the panel (called ReBitVlogs Majlis). The theme for the MGNT351 tour was "Fashion through an Ethical Kaleidoscope". The panel debated on an array of ethical issues the fashion industry and how students across cultures can become tomorrow's champions for responsible fashion business.

"The tour has been an amazing experience for us," said Grace Bannister (MGNT351 student, Bachelor of Commerce, UOW). "We learned so much not only about fashion ethics but also about the culture of Dubai and UAE. The depth of understanding and tolerance among the people living in the country was simply awe-inspiring."

2. At Al Buraag Garments in Ajman. Credit: University of Wollongong.

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