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AUS student named best Young Talent in Arab Woman Awards UAE
Haneen Asfour, a senior design management student at the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS), has won the award for best Young Talent in this year’s Arab Woman Awards UAE. Asfour was recognized as the founder of Level-Up DXB, a personal development hub for young adults in the Middle East.
Level-Up DXB was established in the summer of 2019 when Asfour and her fellow CAAD student Sahar Bokhary identified a gap in the market for relevant and accessible personal development opportunities for young people in the UAE. With a small team of volunteers, the two students began to develop a program of workshops and webinars for Arab youth, featuring a range of industry experts and sponsored by local businesses, and garnering attention from local talk radio station Dubai Eye and others.
While other social enterprises were rocked by the pandemic, Asfour and her team saw the opportunity to reach more people, more regularly. Every Saturday Level-Up DXB hosts virtual events for English- and Arabic-speaking youth to discuss topics such as self-confidence, leadership and emotional intelligence. The sessions have resulted in building a safe community for young people seeking support as they look for ways to prepare themselves for a successful future.
The experience of founding the social enterprise has been personally impactful for Asfour, who has now turned her sights to a career as a professional speaker, while continuing to pursue her passions through a variety opportunities in the creative and business sectors after she graduates with her degree from AUS in May 2021.
“I was actually nominated by my speakers' platform, ‘She is Arab’–the first dedicated speakers' platform for Arab women in the world. I am flattered to have won the Young Talent category alongside incredibly inspiring women such as HH Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum and Najla Al Midfa,” said Asfour.
An initiative of ITP Media, this year’s awards aimed to help UN Women raise awareness for their COVID-19 initiatives and are dedicated to women who have been actively creating a positive impact despite the challenge presented by the pandemic.
“I’m grateful that the value that Level-Up DXB provided to the youth during the pandemic has been understood and acknowledged. We ultimately worked very hard to create a positive platform for the youth during this difficult time,” said Asfour.
“This award isn't just for me, it is for all the youth who helped make Level-Up DXB a success. This award is also for my hardworking team of university students, and finally, this award is for all the young women out there who think that they can't do much or can't make an impact on others as due to their young age. Ladies, yes you can,” she said.
For more information about American University of Sharjah and its outstanding students, visit www.aus.edu.