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Senior US and UAE Energy Officials Seek More Women’s Leadership in Energy

Senior energy officials from the US and the UAE convened in Masdar Institute to encourage more women to become active energy leaders as part of a luncheon seminar hosted to mark the formal launch of the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) initiative at the United Nations.

The US and UAE delegations were led by Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Deputy Secretary at the United States Department of Energy (DOE), and Her Excellency Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity Clean Energy and Desalination of Water, UAE Ministry of Energy, respectively. Her Excellency Barbara A. Leaf, US Ambassador to the UAE, accompanied the delegation.
 
HE Al Shamsi and Dr. Sherwood-Randall shared their unique perspectives on renewable energy with Masdar Institute students and faculty and other invited guests. Both women are champions of the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative that aims to encourage the entry of more women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field.

Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Vice-President, Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs at Masdar Institute, welcomed the guests, offering them an insight into the vital role women play in advancing the UAE’s research into new sustainable technologies that are addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues such as improved access to food, energy, and water.
 
Commenting on the WiSER initiative, HE Al Shamsi, who serves as the UAE’s C3E International Ambassador, said, “This UAE-led initiative has a critical role to play in catalyzing more women to take leadership roles in the fields of sustainability and renewable energy. It was my pleasure to share the stage with my colleagues from the US Department of Energy and to have the opportunity to share my personal experiences with this group of extremely talented students and professionals from all over the world.”

C3E was launched at the first Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in July 2010 with participation from eight governments, including the UAE, and 30 distinguished women from the clean energy field. The initiative is of particular importance to Masdar Institute, the world’s first graduate university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, which currently has 44% female representation in its student body.
 
Dr. Sherwood-Randall, a leading official in the Obama Administration, said, “Masdar Institute represents the forward-looking spirit of the UAE and is an important partner for us in developing and deploying advanced, renewable, and sustainable energy technologies. I am impressed by the innovative research these young women are doing to tackle energy and climate-related challenges. They are on the path toward becoming the energy leaders of the future.”
 
Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Masdar Institute’s Interim Provost, said, “Our engagements with global, regional and national entities include the US DOE and UAE Ministry of Energy. These alliances have helped us to create a thriving talent pool of local scientists and engineers, especially women. We are also proud to mention that women represent a sizeable portion of such talent at Masdar Institute. In line with the country’s mandate, Masdar Institute will continue with these robust partnerships for further empowering women.”

Following the event, the visiting officials met with Masdar Institute’s senior management team and discussed collaboration in research and advanced technologies for sustainable future energy. Officials present on the occasion include Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice-President for Research and Interim Associate Provost, Dr. Mohammed Sassi, Interim Dean of Faculty, and Dr. Youssef Shatilla, Dean of Academic Programs.

Masdar Institute currently has a collaboration with the US National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project that is led by RTI International, an independent non-profit research institute in the US. The project is jointly funded by US DOE and Masdar.
 
The delegations later toured Masdar City, which houses a number of strategic cooperation initiatives between the US and the UAE, such as the GE Ecomagination Garages and the MIT-Masdar Institute Cooperative Program. The guests also visited some of the key sustainable features on the Masdar Institute campus and Masdar City including the Wind Tower, 10MW solar photovoltaic plant, and the personal rapid transport (PRT) system.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
04 October 2015

 

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