Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 17, 2018 – Hundreds of local and international students are congregating in Abu Dhabi this week for the Student Exclusive (16-18 January), the annual youth event which takes place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) to inspire young people’s engagement and involvement in issues relating to clean energy and sustainable development.
Youth is a core topic throughout this year’s ADSW, and the Student Exclusive is one of a series of high profile events which is working to empower young people and ensure they are equipped with the skills and tools they need to chart new pathways towards a more sustainable future.
The programme for the Student Exclusive was opened with a keynote address by His Excellency Dr Majid Sultan Al Qasimi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Food Diversity Sector at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. He said: “2018 is the Year of Zayed, and his work was focused on agriculture and greening the desert. It is with this vision and determination that the CLIX event is trying to bring people who believe they can make a difference and those people who want to enable this difference. I aspire to seeing the innovative and creative ideas we see here today become part of our everyday reality.”
For the first time this year, the Student Exclusive is running run for three days instead of one, with an exciting programme which offers talks, breakout sessions and exhibits. Key speakers have included Toby Harward, Abu Dhabi head of the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR, and Tim Wilkinson, Senior Advisor for Hyperloop One, who discussed the company’s innovative transportation concept involving pods that could enable people to travel at speeds of over 1,000 kph using low-pressure tubes and magnetic levitation.
The Student Exclusive is located within the Climate Innovation Exchange (CLIX) area – a unique marketplace which is providing emerging entrepreneurs in the areas of sustainable agriculture, clean mobility and air quality with the chance to forge partnerships and secure funding from leading global investors. CLIX entrepreneurs have been giving regular presentations about their business ideas as part of the Student Exclusive, thereby helping to inspire future generations of innovators and business leaders in the UAE and across the world.
Dr Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Brand and Strategic Initiatives at Masdar, the host of ADSW, said: “Engaging and empowering young people is part of the UAE vision for continuing the legacy of sustainable development and environmental protection which was established by our founding father, Sheikh Zayed. ADSW is supporting this vision, not only in the UAE but across the world. The Student Exclusive is a fantastic platform for inspiring youth and opening their eyes to the potential for new technologies to create a more sustainable future. By empowering young people today, we can help drive the industry forward for decades to come.”
The Student Exclusive event is this year being hosted by 35 Student Exclusive Ambassadors − senior high school students from Abu Dhabi who were chosen after a rigorous selection process in which they had to provide evidence of their strong interest in sustainability, as well as their willingness to learn and share knowledge with others.
The one-year Student Exclusive Ambassador Programme, which is supported by the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), is training and supporting the students to help drive the sustainability agenda across their peer group in the UAE and overseas. At the end of the programme, the student judged to have excelled the most will win an internship at a major international technology company.
Further youth activities during ADSW have included an international Youth Panel during the opening ceremony and a Youth Circle, in which around 150 young people discussed how climate change influences the UAE’s thinking about cities, mobility and resources. As part of the session, they identified ways for UAE youth to accelerate awareness and behavioural changes to address climate change, while encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.
The final two days of ADSW (19-20 January) will see the return of The Festival at Masdar City, guaranteeing a memorable finale to the week. Dedicated to raising community awareness of sustainability, The Festival will be bringing in the crowds with food trucks, live entertainment, and educational games and activities. There will be different experience zones, including a souk selling local and organic produce as well as an innovation hub filled with high-tech gadgets.
Entrance is free to The Festival at Masdar City, open on Friday from 10:00-22:00 and on Saturday from 10:00-20:00.
The full list of CLIX semi-finalists is available on the World Future Energy Summit website: https://www.worldfutureenergysummit.com/CLIX.
For the full ADSW 2018 calendar, visit www.abudhabisustainabilityweek.com.