Haneen Sa'ad Asfour | American University of Sharjah

Design management and youth empowerment

Haneen Sa'ad Asfour

College of Architecture, Art and Design
Bachelor of Science in Design Management

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Design Management from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), Haneen Asfour has already made a name for herself as a successful entrepreneur and social advocate for youth in the Middle East.

Honored with an Arab Woman Award as best Young Talent in 2020, Asfour has proven her ability to juggle university studies with professional internships and establishing her social enterprise start-up 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.

“As a young person in Dubai, I noticed that there was nowhere I could go for personal development to learn from experts and expand my skill set in practical areas such as public speaking, digital marketing, financial literacy and time management,” she said.

Level-Up DXB provides personal development opportunities in the form of workshops and seminars for youth, collaborating with leading speakers and educators to provide guidance and mentorship in today’s competitive market. 

“Our vision is to educate and create a powerful generation of youth, with the aim to help them advance their skills and give them the tools to successfully achieve their goals,” said Asfour.

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 of opportunities in the creative and business sectors after graduation.

“I’ve always been interested in business innovation, and I think design management really is at the heart of that,” said Asfour.