Abbas Mohammed

Back in 2016, Abbas Mohammed was an award-winning headteacher in Nigeria with a passion for sustainability – even starting a club for students to engage the public on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
Fast forward five years, he decided to further pursue his passion for sustainability education, and looked no further than a PhD at the University of Plymouth. 

I’d previously studied a masters in the UK, and when I was searching online for the best place to study a PhD, I knew that Plymouth was where I needed to be. The people, the structure and the expertise here were outstanding.

Abbas is now completing his PhD in Corporate Social Responsibility Practices in the Public Sector, focusing particularly on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). He is a voluntary climate ambassador for Plymouth City Council too, and acknowledges that climate change can feel like a huge issue to tackle.
“My PhD focuses on businesses, but I really want people to know what they can do as individuals to take on climate change. 
"We hear about climate change all the time and it can feel like it’s too much for one person to effect, but if we all do something small, collectively the something can become ‘big’. So I came up with the idea of a carbon reduction symposium and called it ‘What can I do about climate change?’.”
Abbas Mohammed
Abbas Mohammed
Run in collaboration with the city council’s Climate Ambassadors and Global Plymouth – an initiative started at the University to encourage and engage the wider community in celebrating all nationalities and cultures – the event welcomed dozens of people from around the city, who accessed advice on everything from food waste to eco-friendly building.

He said: “Only with education can you change people, and by changing people, you can change the world.” 

Those positive changes are something that Abbas is committed to for inclusivity too. 

“Coming alone from Nigeria, I knew I had to make friends, and Plymouth, as a University and city, was very welcoming. But I knew there were other people who had come to the city that might not have had the confidence to find a support system, so I started volunteering.”
Abbas joined Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support, supporting the mental health of refugees post-Covid, helping them improve their English and giving them a sense of belonging. Going on trips to National Trust properties and Dartmoor, he could see DCRS’s service users start to enjoy the local geography as well as feeling part of the community. Abbas also joined the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the University’s Plymouth Business School, and started to ask how PhD students could feel better integrated in the School and wider institution.

When you’re an undergraduate, you tend to be taught alongside many other people so have the opportunity to make friends. PhD study is very independent, so you don’t get those natural meet-ups in the same way.

So he started up, and still leads, a programme of sports events for all staff and students in Plymouth Business School. Comprising a rotation of football, basketball, badminton, table tennis and squash, he has helped dozens of students try something new and feel part of a community in the process.
Abbas Mohammed
Abbas Mohammed sports group
Now he’s channelling energy into another carbon reduction event, the details of which are currently being finalised. 
“It’s all about doing things to help people feel a little less lonely in what they’re doing. By feeling a sense of belonging, we can start to feel empowered. And, with steps in the right direction, empowered people can change the world.”

Celebrating our international students 

The University is celebrating its vibrant community in a new event known as Colours for Scholars.
Taking place on International Students' Day, 17 November, the event sees staff, students and the wider community wear bright colours to mark the vibrancy and strength that our students bring.
Colours for Scholars

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Conceptual photograph of sustainability in education