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Graduating from AUD in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Sareh Ameri is currently the managing partner at Resysta Building Material, a start-up company that promotes the use of a unique, sustainable material, which replaces natural hardwood in the MENA region.
As her company is still young, Sareh is responsible for many elements of the business, such as marketing and raising awareness of the product, project acquisition, operations and after-sales support.
Sareh describes that she applies what she learned at AUD throughout her career: “When I took my Public Speaking class in AUD, I never thought that this could ever help me in my future jobs. I could not have been so wrong. My thoughts, presentations and communicational skills all go back to what I learned in those four years at AUD.
I worked hard as a student and tried to learn as much as I could from my professors. It is thanks to them and AUD, one of the most advanced universities in the region, that I have successfully managed to start up my own business and established various initiatives to make a change.”
She continues: “As practical experience is an important element of AUD’s educational approach, I had the opportunity to conduct several internships during my studies. The first was with GEMACO Interiors in Dubai, where I learnt a huge deal about the real design world and how a design office operates.”
An internship at the Norwegian Refugee Council Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) in Geneva gave Sareh the opportunity to work in one of the largest international non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the world. Inspired by this experience, she began the AUD International Aid Society (AIA), which is still growing today. “Through this student club I learnt how to communicate well with my team, external NGOs and universities, as well as how to manage a large group of people and how to organize and run projects.”
This opportunity led to the Cameroon project, where she and the AIA initiated and built a primary school in Mbissa Island in the North West province of the country. She describes it as an outstanding outcome of her AUD AIA activities, which attracted the attention of other NGOs and international organizations. In particular, she met the founder of Architecture for Humanity (AfH), Cameron Sinclair, who proved to be of great importance for Sareh’s further personal and professional development. Sareh is still the ambassador for AfH in the Middle East and actively participates in their international projects.
Open Source Arc (OSA) is another organization that Sareh became involved with thanks to the Cameroon project, and she is currently collaborating with people she met through OSA on an orphanage development in Tanzania. “I strongly advise any student to be involved in this type of initiative during their studies,” she urges.
Currently, Sareh is involved in numerous projects, including designing a children’s home and a school in Tanzania under the OSA umbrella. At the moment, they have invited architecture and design students and professionals from around the UAE to participate in a design workshop to put together an award-winning, sustainable master plan. “Once this first step is completed, we are planning to implement the design and start the construction in collaboration with architectural students of ARDHI University in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania,” she explains.
Empowering and helping women and children has always been a topic close to Sareh’s heart. When representatives of Soroptimist International (SI) asked her to set up a Dubai chapter of the organization, she immediately accepted and started the process. “More than 30 professional ladies have joined forces with me,” she explains. “Our mission is helping and empowering women and girls in our community and around the world, with the main focus on education. It would be a great pleasure seeing AUD students and staff members joining our group too.”
When asked what her next plans will be, she expressed: “With Dubai being awarded the Expo2020, business prospects in the UAE promise to be sustainable and more attractive than in other countries. My future plans are mainly concentrating on the development of our business in the GCC and MENA regions. I will also continue with my charity and development projects locally and internationally, and work on establishing Soroptimist International here in Dubai.”
As if she wasn’t busy enough with her professional duties and charity initiatives, Sareh also enjoys training for half-marathons in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, as well as exploring the underwater world. “Three years ago I learnt to scuba dive and loved it so much that I finished my Dive Master training. As I am always fascinated by different nations and cultures, I continue to explore the world through my travels.”
Addressing a message to AUD students, graduates and alumni, she says: “Take your studies, the university and the content seriously. Theory is important indeed. Go out there and apply for internships while you are studying; you will gain so much knowledge of working life. You can apply what you learnt at university in that workspace. Last but not least, be active, involve yourself in different initiatives and projects and think outside the box, this is where you learn for your future life and will sharpen your entrepreneurial skills.