Nissan Design Chief empowers the UAE’s next generation of design talent

Nissan's Senior Vice President of Global Design, Alfonso Albaisa, visited GEMS flagship school, Dubai American Academy, to meet and inspire students. During his visit, Albaisa presented to over 400 students from Grades 9 to 11, encouraging them to consider a future career in design, sharing his experiences and successful life in design.

The visit forms part of Nissan Design's global speaker series -- the 'Roots of Design' campaign, which launched earlier this year at the London Design Festival. Spearheaded by Albaisa, and inspired by his career and life in design, this grass-roots outreach program engages high school students from around the world, encouraging them to pursue careers in arts, design and creativity.

Speaking about Nissan's 'Roots of Design' campaign, Albaisa said: "Today, we are at an inflection point for automotive design that is being driven by the emergence of new technologies. Meeting the opportunities of the moment requires not just a new approach to design, but also demands that we look everywhere for the next generation of design talent. After launching this campaign in London, I am proud to make Dubai the first stop in this worldwide effort to engage students, their teachers, and their parents from around the world in an ongoing conversation about the creative professions in design that they might not even be aware of. Our 'Roots of Design' program plants seeds for the next generation of designers and artists everywhere."

Albaisa shared the story of his career to a packed auditorium of GEMS Dubai American Academy students, giving a first-person example of the huge opportunities that a career in design can offer. He provided an overview of the history of automotive design along with Nissan's Intelligent Mobility vision and how it is shaping the company's design philosophy. He also spoke about the future of the industry, artificial intelligence and ever-increasing automation. Following the talk, Albaisa attended a Grade 12 design class where he reviewed work and provided guidance and encouragement to some of the school's most talented students.

GEMS Dubai American Academy was chosen to partner Nissan for this event as the flagship educational establishment places a very strong emphasis on encouraging creativity amongst its students.

Speaking about the collaboration, Tammy Murphy, Superintendent, GEMS Dubai American Academy, said: "At GEMS Dubai American Academy, we are constantly seeking to nurture our students with greater creative skills and provide them with the ability to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing world. We are grateful to Alfonso Albaisa who not only shared valuable insights but also enlightened the young students and inspired them to choose a career in design."

Both Nissan's 'Roots of Design' campaign and GEMS' commitment to fostering creativity in its students align closely with the UAE's own 'Vision 2021' goal, for Dubai to become a global hub of design. According to the Mena 2016 Design Education Outlook Report, for the industry to be self-sustainable and free of the need to import overseas designers, 30,000 home-grown design students are needed by 2019, meaning that insight into the myriad of opportunities available in the creative industries has never been more important.

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