Announcement: MFTW is participating in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.

With great pleasure the Mangroves from the Water exhibition will be a part of the United Arab Emirate pavilion at the upcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival to be held at the National Mall, the park in the heart of the capital of the United States surrounded by the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC.  

The 2022 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will showcase the UAE, participating for the first time, along with the program Earth Optimism x Folklife highlighting community-based conservation. The festival will open on 22 June and close on 4 July, taking place over two weeks.  Events are free to the public and typically draw more than 600 000 visitors.

UAE Program Snapshot

United Arab Emirates: Living Landscape | Living Memory will explore the cultural traditions that emerge from Emirati experiences of migration and survival in close connection with land and sea.  At the same time, the program will be forward-looking and highlight visions for a diverse, sustainable future. The program is organised around three thematic clusters: Belonging, Place, and Creativity.  Engaging in majlis sessions on key topics, participants have the opportunity to share their experiences as artists, tradition-bearers and cultural experts.

Approximately 85 invited participants and presenters will make up the UAE delegation, representing a broad range of cultural heritage skills and knowledge.  This will be the first time that the UAE has been represented at the Festival, as well as the first Arab country since 2005.  The program curation is based on collaborative research.  We highly value the cooperation with many individuals and entities that make rich, accurate Festival programs possible.

The program team is lead by co-curators Michele Bambling and Rebecca Fenton, along with program coordinator Pablo Molinero Martinez.

For more information about the Smithsonian Festival, please open this link.

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie, Artist 

‘Mangroves from the Water’ founder & curator

The Enviro Hero Biography Program features curator and founder Zahidah Zeytoun Millie

We are happy to share a biography written about the founder of the Mangroves from the Water (MFTW) by Thomas D, a Grade 4 school student of The Geelong College.  The biography was part of the Enviro Hero biography program supported by three teachers, one of whom is John Henderson, Thomas’ teacher.  The aim of the program was to teach students about their surrounding environment and the local people who help the environment.  

We think the Enviro Hero biographies program was successful and the students learned a lot about their environment, how to write a biography and how to get environmentally active in the future. 

We thank The Geelong College for running the Enviro Hero biographies program and for the book that holds copies of all the biographies.  We thank the teacher John, and his student Thomas for his beautiful written and portrait work.  

Finally, we’d love all schools to add such a program to their curricula.  Please download the files below to see the students’ reflections on the Enviro Hero biographies program

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie

Founder and Curator

Development of UAQ Mangrove beach

Artists have always been the inspiration for new ideas that business people take for granted. 

The Mangroves from the Water art campaign was born in the UAE emirate of Umm Al Quwain, starting with a touring exhibition (2015-2016) and a festival in 2017.  We are happy and proud to see the fruits of our touring artworks. zanzibar-inspired-restaurant- mikoko-hut-has-opened-at-uaq- mangrove-beach/?fbclid= IwAR0iF3j7QOrvABZruLWe1FoDtI8E jJhwuJIUpH6ZpUmQv3dUKrgjBcXwJP Y

Here are some images of the cleaned up area leading towards the new developed beach..

Zahirah Zeytoun Millie


Photos: student kayak workshop with Zahidah

Zahidah ran a successful workshop with school students on Thursday 18 November 2021. 

Zahidah instructing students from the kayak

The nine Year 11 students from Thomas Carr College, along with three teachers, joined Zahidah on kayaks through the mangrove forests in Victoria.

The workshop is about a two hour trip: 20 minutes to kayak around the mangroves, then stop in a sheltered spot within the mangroves, then to sketch the scene using watercolour technique.  The aim of the workshop is to create a bond between the kayaker (student) and the mangrove trees by sketching them and to build greater understanding of the mangrove forests in Victoria, Australia.

For more details about workshops, please open this link:

UAE vows to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030 at COP26

Fantastic news for the Mangroves from the Water team!

The UAE has announced an increase to their target, to plant 100 million mangroves trees by 2030 at COP26, according to the Emirates News Agency:

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, presented the new target at the High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Adaptation Action that took place on the Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

Please see the article and view the video here.

The UAE’s commitment to Climate Change

The National newspaper ( 1 November, Thursday) headline’s the UAE’s commitment to Climate Change:

As a strong advocate of environmental protection, the UAE has marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement with renewed resolve and enhanced ambition to address climate change. The country took a new step on the path to a climate-safe future with the submission of its second nationally determined contribution (NDC) last month to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its new commitments involve climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Image courtesy of : Mangrove Walk at Al Jubail Island. The UAE is doing everything from limit greenhouse gas emissions to planting more mangroves to tackle climate change. Antonie Robertson / The National

Please see the full article here

CCCNN’s continued support and coverage of MFTW

We are delighted to share the continued support from CCCNN (Climate Change Communication and Narratives Network) through their blog, discussing the Mangroves from the Water (MFTW) project, and the participation of our curator Zahidah Zeytoun Millie in the MangroveWatch program.

You can read more about it under the NEWS section of their blog here.

This is a screenshot from the CCCNN blog page:

Video: Mangroves – Vanguards of the sea

This video is an introduction to the Mangroves from the Water project, narrated by Zahidah Zeytoun Millie. 

We would like to thank the producer Sarah Treacy and Phil Hines for the filming and editing. 

Our sincere gratitude to Jacqui Bennett, the founder of Humans in Geelong for the continued support. 

Humans in Geelong Expo will debut online on 10 October 2021 to align with the mental health month in Australia. The in-person event for Humans in Geelong Expo will open on 5 December 2021. 

Award: Certificate of Appreciation

The Certificate of Appreciation was awarded to curator and founder Zahidah Zeyton Millie, for her continued efforts in linking heritage, culture & environment through Mangroves from the Water exhibitions.

We are grateful to the Sharjah Institute for Heritage for this award received on 24 September 2021.