19 JAN 2017

Second annual Student Exclusive gives youth a voice on sustainability

UAE and international students gather for talks, performances and presentations at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 19, 2017 – More than 600 students from the UAE and countries around the world took part in the second annual “Student Exclusive” at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) on Wednesday. Now a signature event of ADSW, the Student Exclusive is focused on empowering young people to think and act sustainably.

His Excellency Dr Ahmed Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, delivered the event’s keynote address, describing the Student Exclusive as integral to the success of ADSW.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem, by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Commenting on the success of the Student Exclusive, Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, also stressed the need for young people to take responsibility.

“The Student Exclusive is a platform that puts youth opinions at its core,” she said. “If we can empower young people to see how sustainability affects every aspect of their lives, then we can also empower them to be future advocates of sustainability.”

This year’s Student Exclusive was held on the theme “Creating a sustainable future by empowering young minds”.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Moderated by Khalid Al Ameri, a prominent UAE national journalist and social media influencer, and fellow Emirati Waheeda Al Hadhrami, Creative Talent Developer at TwoFour54, this year’s event hosted a diversity of young talent, who shared their own distinct perspective on adopting sustainable behaviour.

The Student Exclusive welcomed calligrapher Diaa Allam, pianist Mona Alhashmi, futurist Lina Nahhas, musicians “G-beat”, parkour coach Amal Murad, artist Hessa Al Ajmani, and singer Khalifa Nasser.

Hasan Al Redaini, the UAE’s representative to Solar Impulse 2, the first aircraft to circumnavigate the world powered only by solar energy, and two previous student winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize – from Cashmere High School in New Zealand and the Korean Science Academy of KAIST – also presented to the Student Exclusive audience.

The Student Exclusive also featured a presentation by Fatema Al Mulla, Marketing Executive at Masdar, on the findings of The Masdar Gen Z Global Sustainability Survey, the first global study of youth attitudes towards sustainability, renewable energy and climate change; a talk by Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Director of the Animal Health & Development Department at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on “The natural world and sustainability”; and a presentation on the sustainability narrative of Expo 2020 by Alya Al-Ali, Director for Youth, Expo 2020.

The final community awareness event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will be The Festival at Masdar City on January 20-21. Open to the public, The Festival will host sustainability-themed games and activities, live entertainment and food stalls.

28 DEC 2017

Student Ambassador programme looks to empower tomorrow’s sustainability leaders

  • Part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme will empower its participants to play an active role in driving a sustainable future
  • The most outstanding ambassador will win an internship at a major international technology company

A group of 35 senior high school students from across Abu Dhabi have secured places in a new year-long ambassador programme which aims to inspire and engage UAE youth to become the next generation of sustainability leaders, it was announced today.

The Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme, part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) and supported by the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), will provide training and support to enable its participants to help in driving the sustainability agenda across their peer group in the UAE and overseas. The programme supports the mandate of ADSW to help empower young people, in line with the UAE Vision 2021, by building on their creativity and talent so they can shoulder responsibilities, innovate and contribute to the welfare of the UAE's community.

Among their roles, the carefully selected ambassadors will be the hosts of the next Student Exclusive event during ADSW in January 2018 – giving them the opportunity to play an active role in the largest sustainability gathering in the Middle East. The Student Exclusive is an annual youth-oriented event that takes place in Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) among other key ADSW activities. It will run for three days, with an exciting programme which focuses on sustainability and offers creative activities to encourage students’ involvement in areas such as renewable energy advancement, water and energy efficiency, innovative clean technologies and entrepreneurship.

His Excellency Dr. Yousef Al Sheryani, Acting Undersecretary at the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, stressed the importance of empowering youth with leadership and project management skills that are necessary to driving a sustainable and eco-friendly economy forward. “The Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme is a pivotal initiative that will enhance community participation and effective leadership skills amongst students as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. Such skills will further support students in their future career paths, while preparing them to become international ambassador representatives for the UAE.”

Dr. Al Sheryani further added that the shortlisted participants in the Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme have been selected based on their hard work and dedication, entrepreneurship skills and interest to excel. “We are proud of our students, whose progress will drive the nation’s economy further, through bringing about progress and further development in areas such as renewable energy, water and energy efficiency, innovative clean technologies and entrepreneurship skills. I am confident that through the programme our youth will build on their current knowledge and come-up with eco-friendly and sustainable solutions that will benefit the nation and the world.”

Shaima Al Jarman, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), the host of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, adds: “Masdar is pleased to be managing the Student Exclusive Ambassadors Programme, and we already have held several training sessions in Masdar City. It is very rewarding to see the continuing growth in understanding and passion for sustainability issues among young people in the UAE. The Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme attracted fantastic entries from throughout Abu Dhabi, which made the selection process extremely challenging for the judging panel. Our winners are full of pride at the opportunity they’re being given, and if they can share just a small portion of their energy and enthusiasm they will have an impact which reaches across the world.”

After ADSW, the Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme will enter its second phase, which includes an “eco-thon” in which the ambassadors can draw on their wider networks of peers to deliver sustainability related projects. At the end of the programme, an overall winner who has excelled throughout the year will be rewarded with a UAE-based internship at leading international technology company. 

Participants in the Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme were chosen after a rigorous selection process which drew entries from public and private sector schools across Abu Dhabi emirate. To be shortlisted they had to provide evidence of their interest in sustainability, as well as their willingness to learn and desire to share knowledge with others.

The training of the Student Exclusive Ambassadors started in November with a series of workshops to teach them more about sustainability, while equipping them with the skills and knowledge they will need for their roles at the Student Exclusive during ADSW.

22 JAN 2017

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 delivers on promise

Abu Dhabi, January 22, 2017: Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017, hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, came to a successful conclusion on 21 January after further building on its reputation as a significant platform for international dialogue, cooperation and action among governments and businesses.

This year’s edition, which ran under the theme “practical steps towards a sustainable future”, was the first global gathering dedicated to sustainability since the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, last November. It was appropriate, therefore, that ADSW 2017 began by bringing together government officials and policy makers at two key events: the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum on 12-13 January, held in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Energy and ADNOC; and the fifth General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency on 14-15 January.

The Opening Ceremony for ADSW, on 16 January, was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Six heads of state, from Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Seychelles and Nepal joined the event, as well as former presidents of Iceland and Mexico.

ADSW 2017 also welcomed 73 government ministers and 4,080 senior executives – an increase of 12% compared to 2016 – from 125 countries. International pavilions were hosted from 20 different countries, representing an 11% increase on last year, and initial indications show that the total number of attendees was consistent with pre-show estimates of around 38,000 visitors from 175 countries.

During the week, 15 global events were held including five exhibitions; three conferences; two country focused events; three leadership events; and two policy events. Business meetings were up by more than 60% year on year, totaling 8,600, showing that Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is now truly established as a global platform where commercial agreements are made.

The ninth edition of the Awards Ceremony for the Zayed Future Energy Prize also took place, honouring the achievements of winners from across the world for their leadership in renewable energy and sustainability. Once again, this important event attracted significant media attention, with around 1,200 local and international print and online articles, while reaching more than 2 million Twitter users and 50,000 Facebook users.

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the anchor event of ADSW, celebrated its 10th edition this year from 17-19 January. This took place alongside the fifth International Water Summit and the fourth EcoWASTE exhibition.

For the first time, ADSW welcomed a major delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was designated as a WFES Country Partner. The Saudi delegation was led by His Excellency Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of Saudi Aramco, who used the platform of ADSW to announce plans to invest up to $50 billion (Dh183.50 billion) in renewable projects by 2023 to generate 9.5 gigawatts, mainly from wind and solar plants.
The Saudi delegation’s 700 industry professionals, which included 405 chief executives, held more than 2,000 meetings with ADSW participants during the week. In addition, 14 workshops and business round tables were organised, while more than 100 investors and developers from five countries took part in a private investment meeting hosted by officials from the Kingdom.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the other WFES Country Partner was India, whose senior-level delegation was led by Shri Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines. India’s clean energy plans make it one of the world’s most exciting markets for developers; its delegation provided details about the country’s target to have an installed capacity of 100GW of solar energy, 60GW of wind, plus 15GW from other renewables by 2022. In addition, high level meetings were held with Masdar and Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA).
As host of ADSW, Masdar used the occasion to announce a series of key business milestones on the sidelines of the event. These included: the purchase of a 25% stake in Hywind, an innovative floating offshore wind project in Scotland, from Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil; a 300,000-tonne waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah with environmental management company Bee’ah; a solar power project in the Seychelles; and an industry competition to devise new sustainable mobility solutions to serve Masdar City.

Together with DEWA, Masdar also announced the ground-breaking of Phase 3 of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The company signed a co-operation agreement with Qatar Electricity and Water Company and Nebras Power to develop renewable and sustainable energy projects, and announced the appointment of International Finance Corporation (IFC) to oversee the funding of Jordan’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project. And on Thursday 19 January, Masdar unveiled its new Eco-Villa prototype at Masdar City – an energy and water-saving residential property that will set a new benchmark for sustainable real estate in the UAE and beyond.

ADSW also took the sustainability message into the community, staging the youth-themed “Student Exclusive” to more than 600 young people from across the UAE, and the Women in Sustainability, Environment & Renewable Energy (WiSER) conference – both events were being held for the second consecutive year. To round off a very busy and successful week, the Festival at Masdar City offered fun, food and live entertainment for all the family.

21 JAN 2017

The Festival at Masdar City takes sustainability into the community for fourth straight year

Abu Dhabi, UAE; January 21, 2017 – The Festival at Masdar City attracted its biggest crowds ever as this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week drew to a successful close this weekend.

Visitors enjoyed a fun-packed weekend of family-themed games, activities and live entertainment, as well as stalls selling arts, handicrafts and souvenirs, and delicious food and treats.

A sustainability message ran through all the attractions, and this year’s Festival also celebrated 2017 as the UAE’s “Year of Giving”.

Launched in 2014, the Festival at Masdar City promotes community awareness of sustainability and the adoption of more sustainable behaviour.

This year’s event also marked the launch of Masdar Park, an outdoor dining destination with outlets housed inside recycled shipping containers powered by solar panels. Open until April, the Park features a recycled musical instrument wall and a bicycle-powered cinema – it is also the starting point for a new 2.6km-long cycle and running track.

Activities at The Festival this year were divided into 10 different zones reflecting the 10th anniversary of Masdar in 2016 (and the 10th world future energy summit).

“It was a pleasure to see so many UAE residents join us for the fourth Festival at Masdar City; without doubt, it was the biggest yet,” said Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director for Sustainability & Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

“Each year the Festival proves that sustainability can be fun, and that it is easy to incorporate into our everyday lives,” she added. “Masdar City is the ideal venue to take the sustainability message into the community. And with the Masdar Park now up and running, we hope to welcome even more visitors to Masdar City in the months ahead.”

The Festival marks the end of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017. This year’s event featured the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, the seventh General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) the ninth Zayed Future Energy Prize and the tenth World Future Energy Summit. A global platform for renewable energy policy and business, ADSW 2017 saw a 35% increase in exhibitors and a 19% rise in attendees compared to last year.