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New Group of Masdar Institute Young Future Energy Leaders Join the Ranks of Sustainability Pioneers at ADSW

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 15 January, 2015 – The 2015 members of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program – a Masdar Institute of Science and Technology outreach initiative – will be inaugurating their year-long experience at the annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the flagship event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), taking place on 19–22 January.

“The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week sets in motion what promises to be an immersive year of experiences, engagements and exposure for the talented members of YFEL.  Thanks to the UAE leadership’s continued support of this and other Masdar Institute programs, new doors of opportunity will open for these young leaders. I am confident that the YFEL members of 2015 will take full advantage of the opportunities available at ADSW to learn, network and innovate,” said Dr. Lamya N. Fawwaz, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Masdar Institute.

This year’s selected YFEL members,  numbering nearly 100, were selected from among the world’s brightest students and young professionals from the UAE and abroad. Part of Masdar Institute’s Outreach Program, YFEL offers young professionals and students an opportunity to become more engaged in finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges – achieving energy efficiency and tackling climate change. It also aims to bring young professionals closer to government representatives, business leaders and other organizations active in the area of alternative energy and sustainability.

YFEL members will have an exclusive meeting with the Solar Impulse pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, and the CEO’s of their corporate sponsors. Solar Impulse is the first aircraft built to fly exclusively on solar energy during the day and night. The two pilots will be attempting their first round-the-world solar flight this March starting from Abu Dhabi.  

The young leaders will spend the duration of the summit developing their own research proposals on sustainability and advanced energy. They will present their proposals on the final day. Their proposals – ranging from waste management to water filtration systems – will be innovative and SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and relevant, and time-bound. With the support of Masdar Institute’s experienced faculty, these research projects will be individually spearheaded and developed throughout the year.

During ADSW, the YFEL members experience an engaging week, full of stimulating debates and panel discussions on innovative energy and sustainability solutions to address the world’s biggest energy challenges. They will get the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders and professionals in the renewable energy industry and will hear speeches by keynote speakers ranging from Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, to André Borschberg, CEO of Solar Impulse.

“I am pleased to welcome the 2015 YFEL members. This is a year filled with exciting opportunities for YFEL.  We have develop a schedule of engagements that is more high-level and far-reaching than ever before,” said Zainab Abdul Rahim Al Ali, YFEL Program Manager.

Members will experience a debate on whether strong policies should be implemented and large scale investments made to mitigate the environmental impacts of carbon dioxide emissions from the power and industrial sectors, moderated by Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director, Institute Initiatives and Professor of Practice at Masdar Institute.

For the YFEL members, the second day’s activities are filled with panels, debates, and guest speakers, including a WFES panel on Africa’s energy opportunities, moderated by Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director International Energy Agency (IEA), France.  Additionally, a debate on the pros and cons of technology innovation will be moderated by Dr. Ken Volk, Head of Outreach, Masdar Institute. The day will also include a WFES panel on securing project finance through innovative business models, partnerships and new sources of finance to be moderated by Mark Thurber, Partner, Andrews Kurth, US.

YFEL members will also attend talks from keynote speakers Dr. Vladimir Bulović, Associate Dean for Innovation, MIT School of Engineering, MIT Innovation Initiative, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Fariborz Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technology and Marie-Jose Nadeau, Chair World Energy Council, Canada.

On the third day of the summit, YFEL members will attend two WFES parallel sessions on innovation. The first session titled ‘Industry Transformation Through Energy Storage Technologies’ will be moderated by Dr. Jurgen Weiss, Principal, The Brattle Group, US. The second, titled ‘Innovations in Clean Energy’, will be moderated by Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board and Founder, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, UK.

YFEL members will conclude the summit by attending the joint closing session of WFES and the International Water Summit, which will investigate the current barriers and long-term opportunities of a circular economy – a comprehensive solution to systematically eradicate waste – to be moderated by Dr. Claus Conzelmann, Vice President Safety, Health and Environmental Sustainability, Nestle Group, Switzerland.

YFEL was launched in 2010 by Masdar Institute under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

YFEL’s mission is to educate and inspire students and young professionals to become future leaders capable of solving the world’s most pressing challenges in advanced energy and sustainability. YFEL is a highly selective and competitive program open to students and young professionals from the UAE and abroad who can demonstrate a passion for future energy and sustainable development.

Throughout the year, YFEL members will be mentored in the fields of advanced energy and sustainability technologies through participation in case study competitions and world energy conferences. They will meet with leaders, policymakers, and practitioners to learn about the newest research and best-practices as well as the challenges in implementing real-world solutions to our global energy problems.  

Ultimately, participants will gain invaluable and transferrable knowledge in the area of innovation in advanced energy and sustainability technologies and will be equipped with the skills and tools to contribute to the vast-growing knowledge economy in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

WFES is the anchor event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which takes place on January 17–24 and includes the third International Water Summit (IWS), EcoWASTE, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, WFES is the Middle East’s largest gathering on future energy. Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, this eighth iteration of the conference is expected to attract upwards of 30,000 delegates from 170 different countries, representing expertise from industry, technology, finance and government.

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