Alumni Spotlight: Powering the UAE’s Sustainable Energy Transition with Positivity

September 21, 2018

It is said to be rare for university graduates to find employment that perfectly matches their qualifications, passions and personality, however, Class of 2013 MSc in Engineering Systems and Management alumna Meshayel Omran Lehssoni is proving the exception to the rule.

The young Emirati is currently using her lively disposition, background in engineering and her commitment to the UAE’s renewable energy goals in her role as Director of Future Energy and Security of Supply and Chief of Happiness and Positivity at the UAE’s Ministry of Energy.

“During my studies at Masdar Institute, I focused my thesis on carbon capture and storage (CCS) and when I joined the Ministry of Energy, I was able to work and contribute to climate change efforts. I feel I have been strengthened with the different tools and methodologies taught to me at Masdar Institute, and have added my own inputs to them to do exciting work for my country,” she shared.

Since joining the Ministry of Energy in 2013, Lehssoni has made significant contributions to the UAE’s negotiations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is supporting the UAE’s initiatives for Mission Innovation, a global initiative of 22 countries and the European Union to dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation. In addition to this, she is also representing the UAE in a number of international fora including the Clean Energy Ministerial.

An important aspect of Lehssoni’s role at the Ministry is to ensure that the UAE is making sustained progress towards its key performance indicators to improve the position of the country worldwide in terms of reduction of carbon emissions by using carbon capture and storage technology and also increasing the renewable energy share of the UAE’s energy mix. She is also working towards having the UAE host the midyear Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum meeting and is in the process of establishing a forum focused on research and development and innovation in the energy and water sectors.

Lehssoni is also responsible for strengthening relationships between the Ministry and other entities on national and international levels, while managing a team involved in a number of important strategic areas, including the UAE Transportation Strategy, sustainability reporting and monitoring of the UAE’s progress in relation to sustainable development goals.

Following the launch of the UAE National Programme for Happiness and Positivity in 2016 — which has a goal of establishing happiness as a lifestyle in the UAE — Lehssoni was also made responsible for enhancing the culture of happiness and positivity within the Ministry of Energy. She is now leading a project titled “Request with Happiness,” which aims to make services requested by employees in the Ministry simplified through the use of smartphones and computers, another activity that effectively pairs her technical and personal attributes.

“I am quite a cheerful and friendly person naturally. Ensuring we are happy is as important as ensuring we are sustainable. It’s part of a holistic balance that all progressive countries are striving to achieve, and I am very proud to be part of that effort,” she shared.

Explaining why someone so young has taken on so many responsibilities, Lehssoni said: “Masdar Institute graduates like myself have a major role to play in advancing the UAE’s carbon emission and climate change goals while simultaneously further developing ourselves as human capital for the country.”

And although Lehssoni left Masdar Institute in 2013, she continues to work in close quarters with the Institute, due a number of research collaborations between the Ministry and the Institute.

Lehssoni credits Masdar Institute with providing her with the knowledge, confidence and impetus to pursue her career goals in advanced energy, sustainability and carbon emissions reduction, particularly as a young Emirati female graduate.

“Originally, I was attracted to Masdar Institute because of its focus on sustainability, energy and climate change, but I was also excited by the opportunity that the Institute provided for young Emirati women to become more involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related areas and to contribute to the strategic goals of the UAE,” she explained.

To further her contribution to the UAE’s strategic goals, Lehssoni hopes to complete her PhD and continue her career in research and development related to future energy and security of supply, with the aim of making the UAE known as one of the world’s leaders in sustainable development and advanced technologies. 

Ciara Sutton
News and Features Writer
23 February 2017