Student Leader promotes an environmentally sustainable urban future in Libya

Gamaleldin Tarakhan at podium with microphone and computer talking to people.

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When Gamaleldin Tarakhan came to the U.S. during the 2017 Student Leaders Program (SLP) at Georgetown University, he was inspired by seeing environmentally sustainable and resource efficient green buildings used in the United States. The new leadership skills he developed during the Student Leader Program strengthened his resolve to improve the field of architecture in his home city of Benghazi, Libya.

Since his return to Libya, he has implemented his Community Engagement Plan (CEP), by joining the Libya Green Building Council (LGBC) and has established the UnEarth team. The UnEarth team develops workshops to train undergraduate architectural students as well as practicing architects about using environmentally sustainable practices and strategies in their urban architectural designs.

Through the UnEarth team, Gamaleldin has also raised citizen awareness about the importance of sustainable and green architectural practices. He states,

“As an architect and an activist, it is my responsibility to make my city a better place and the Student Leaders Program gave me the courage and the principles to convert my ideas into reality”

Gamaleldin Tarakhan, SLP 2017

On November 1, 2018, his UnEarth team hosted a “World Cities Day” in conjunction with the UN-Habitat, in Benghazi, Libya. Over 250 citizens actively participated at the event where the theme of “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities” was examined and discussed. The event went viral on social media and was covered by the El-hadath and Libya el-Mustaqbal television stations.

Students around tables working with designs on paper and laptop computers.
University students learn about sustainable architecture strategies at the UnEarth workshop.

Gamaleldin’s interest in creating a sustainable future continues to grow. He states,

Environmental sustainability is a real thing and we need to protect our planet because it is the only solution to live a healthy life. As Ban Ki-Moon said, “There is no Plan B because there is no Planet B.” As an architect, it is my responsibility to make my city a better place and the Student Leaders Program gave me the courage to convert my ideas into reality.

Gamaleldin Tarakhan, SLP 2017

Funding for the Student Leaders Program is provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA-AC).

Related Program

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Student Leaders Program

The MEPI Student Leaders Program is a U.S. Department of State sponsored leadership program for undergraduate student leaders from the Middle East and North Africa. The CIED-designed curriculum allows students to develop leadership skills and expand their understanding of civil society and democratic leadership.