A total of 28 members of 2019 Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) outreach program were honored for successfully completing their year-long commitments at a gala ceremony, organized during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2020 at the Khalifa University Main Campus.
Certificates of completion were presented to the YFEL members by Abdulaziz Abdulla Alhajri, Member of the Khalifa University Board of Trustees, and Director, Refining and Petrochemicals Directorate, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), at the ceremony. These 2019 YFEL batch of graduates now join more than 450 YFEL program alumni.
The YFEL program was established in 2010 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as an initiative to engage the youth in energy and sustainable technology and prepare them to be the future leaders in this field.
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and Dr. Ahmed Al Shoaibi, Senior Vice President, Academic and Student Services, Khalifa University, attended the ceremony. Others present at the ceremony included Dr. Steven Griffiths, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, and representatives from sponsors as well as dignitaries, and guests.
The 2019 YFEL members represent eight countries, with 17 UAE nationals with two international, and nine locally-based students. Also present were the 2020 YFEL members numbering nearly 50, for whom the evening’s proceedings served as an orientation ceremony.
Dr. Ahmed Al Shoaibi said: “Congratulations to the 2019 YFEL members for successfully completing a tough year-long journey towards becoming capable future energy leaders. These youth are now qualified and trained to handle core sustainability issues and I am sure they will effectively contribute to the community. Following the success of the graduating YFEL members, I am equally delighted to welcome the 10th group of YFEL members who I believe will remain even more committed to sustainability and clean energy technologies.”
During the ceremony, a video presentation highlighted the achievements of the 2019 YFEL outreach initiative that included their completion of educational courses in three categories – technology, policy and leadership. Also during the year, a team of YFEL members worked on a case study related to sustainability at the Expo 2020 site.
The 2019 YFEL members worked on a number of novel projects during the year. Emirati YFEL 2019 member Ali Jassim Rajab has worked on solar cells and machine-leaning algorithm to create a model to classify the health of trees at University of Tokyo. Rajab said: “I am truly grateful to the YFEL program that has academically enriched me and rewarded me in renewable energy-related research.”
Sharing his perspectives, Arturo Hernández Rodea of Mexico, Another YFEL member said: “Participating in the YFEL program from January 2019 has expanded my horizons in a way we can conceive our future cities and interactions with energy. The network of outstanding and dedicated colleagues we have created continues to inspire me and will help me to deliver better to the world.”
Rodea started a student’s program in sustainability at his university in Mexico, which in collaboration with Stanford University later became part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network-Youth, and an official SDSN chapter in Mexico for both youth and seniors. He has also worked with General Electric Power Services – Latin America, on a project to simplify the weekly planning procedure from 10 hours to five minutes, resulting in substantial annual savings. Moreover, following a successful internship with the French group INCO, he is now, as an ambassador, looking to create an ecosystem for INCO Mexico.
Over the years, the YFEL program has received support from community leaders and corporate sponsors. Notable among them was the Emirati philanthropists His Excellency Mohammed bin Kardous Al Ameri, and His Excellency Sultan bin Rashed Al Dhaheri. In addition, German companies BASF and Siemens have sponsored YFEL teams.