Omani cultural exhibit opened in Borchardt Library (Issue 24, 2012)

Dr Al AlawiA unique inspiration to travel, study – or simply Google – the small Middle Eastern country of Oman lies in the Melbourne campus library.

A temporary Omani cultural exhibit, coordinated by the Omani Student Society of Victoria (OSSV) at La Trobe, was officially opened at the Borchardt Library foyer among distinguished and University guests including the Consul General of Oman, Dr Hamed Al Alawi.

‘The learning experience that students went through in establishing this exhibition, is the best part of this display,’ says Dr Al Alawi.

‘It will hopefully trigger some minds to go and find out more about Oman.’

The display includes pieces of traditional Omani jewellery and weaponry.

Ammar Al Zadjali, a member of the OSSV, helped to launch the exhibit only four days before he was due to return home some 11,277 kilometres (7,007 miles) away.

He said he had spent a ‘wonderful five years’ at La Trobe, and he was both happy and sad that his undergraduate studies had come to an end.

Ammar completed a Bachelor of Computer Systems Engineering after starting his pathway at what was then the La Trobe University International College – now La Trobe Melbourne.

‘I would like to get some work experience for the next few years and continue my studies into a Master’s and a Ph.D,’ says Ammar.

La Trobe University’s engagement with Gulf States and the Middle East began with Oman. In 2005 the University entered an agreement with the Omani Ministry of Health to train students in podiatry in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Omani students at La Trobe currently number around 28 across undergraduate and postgraduate programs in health sciences, business economics and law, and science technology and engineering.

Oman – roughly the same area in size as Italy – is located on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The country has a population of approximately three million people, with the majority living in the capital city of Muscat.

Acting Executive Director Marketing and Engagement, Liz Stinson, who also attended the launch, said the University would love to have students go on exchange to Oman.

‘This display is a good omen for our relationship into the future.’

The OSSV recently released an online video featuring La Trobe University students.