Two Masdar Institute Students to Join Sir Robert Swan’s International Antarctic Expedition 2012 Team

September 21, 2018

16-Day Expedition Dedicated to Highlight Need for Recycling, Renewable Energy and Sustainability to Combat Effects of Climate Change

–Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced two of its students will become privileged members of the International Antarctic Expedition (IAE) 2012 team.

The two students from Masdar Institute – Maitha Al Kaabi and Reem Al Junaibi – will join the team that will be led by Sir Robert Swan, the first person in history to walk both the North and South Poles. They will experience Sir Robert’s personal leadership and sustainability program called ‘Leadership on the Edge’. The expedition team will assemble on 27 February, 2012, at Argentina’s Ushuaia, the southern-most city in the world.

The announcement was made at the YFEL stand after Sir Robert’s address to the gathering on Day Two of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2012 that opened on 16 January at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The four-day Summit is organized under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, and Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Public Affairs, were present at the stand. Dr Kenneth Volk, Outreach Manager, Masdar Institute, and Zainab Al Ali, Senior Outreach Officer and YFEL Program Coordinator, Masdar Institute, also attended the event.

Urging the community, especially the young leaders, to take care of the continent, Sir Robert Swan said that Antarctica belongs to everyone in the world and it should be left the same way when the Antarctica Treaty comes up for review in the year 2041. He sought the help of the youth in his mission to save the icy continent from melting as that will prove detrimental to the planet. He concluded his address after introducing the two Masdar Institute students who will be part of his Antarctica expedition in February 2012.

During the expedition, the team will have an opportunity to visit Sir Robert Swan’s 2008 ‘E-Base Goes Live’ mission, where he successfully became the first person in Antarctic history to live for two weeks solely on renewable energy.

The students will participate in the ‘2041 E-Base Goes Live’ mission by utilizing the knowledge they gained at Masdar Institute to help ‘make that mission possible’. This is part of an initiative to encourage students who are engaged in applying the research and knowledge they have acquired to tackle practical situations. The E-Base is a sustainable green building operated in an environmental and resource efficient manner and the place wherethe expedition team will rely solely on renewable energy – solar, wind or thermal power.

Sir Robert is well-known in the UAE for hosting several Emiratis on earlier trips to Antarctica. Through his organization called 2041, Sir Robert has dedicated his life to preserving Antarctica by promoting recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.

In addition to the IAE’s expertise on the environment, climate change, and sustainable development, the team’s program focuses on personal development, improving communication skills, and team building.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh said: “The two students from Masdar Institute will embark on this historic expedition that will help them learn the continent’s fragile ecosystem, experience its wildlife and observe the magnificent landscape. But more importantly, under the guidance of Sir Robert, they will learn about climate change and sustainability. We believe the voyage will help them experience life on the icy continent and encourage them to share with others the need to realize the reasons for preserving our precious environment.”

Dr. Lamya Fawwaz said: “Knowledge-enhancing initiatives are the essential part of the Masdar Institute outreach programs and the voyage to Antarctica is part of our endeavor to provide students with an access to Sir Robert Swan’s ‘2041 E-Base Goes Live’ mission. We are confident the two students will be enriched by their experience of sustainable lifestyle on the icy continent, while their research expertise in renewable energy and sustainability they gained at Masdar Institute will effectively guide them through the voyage. We thank the country’s wise leadership for their support to all our initiatives and programs.”

The two Master’s students were selected out of seven applicants, who had to be in excellent physical health, and willing to share their IAE experience with others upon their return. The selection was also based on a 400-word essay that explained their reasons for joining the expedition and its relevance to the student’s ongoing research activities at Masdar Institute.

After joining the expedition team at Argentina’s Ushuaia, there will be two days of team workshops. They will then depart for Antarctica on board Sea Spirit, one of the most spacious and luxurious expedition vessels, on Day 4.

The expedition team will cross the legendary Drake Passage, a milestone in any adventurer’s personal travel history, on Day 5-6. A selection of multimedia lectures about Antarctica will be scheduled during the two days covering the wildlife, geology, history and geography of the Antarctic Peninsula. They will also discuss the importance of renewable energy and its vital role inthe preservation of the icy continent.

From Day 7 to Day 12, the team will be on the Western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting places including the dome-shaped 250-meter high Cuverville Island, the calving glaciers and statuesque icebergs of Neko Harbor, the whales of Paradise Harbor surrounded by glaciers, and the extremely steep-sided Lemaire Channel. Weather permitting, Sir Robert and the team leaders will then take the group on an overnight camping expedition on the Antarctic ice.

On Day 13, they will visit King George Island, the largest South Shetland Islands of the Peninsula and the location of the 2041 E-Base.
On Day 14 and Day 15, the team will sail back and on board Sea Spirit they will have a program wrap-up. On the 16th day, the team will disembark at Ushuaia and return to their respective destinations.

Sir Robert Swan has devoted himself to work alongside industry and business in education and inspiring young people. He has removed 1,500 tons of rubbish from the Antarctic, has reached out to over 35,000 African youth and taken more than 550 young people, teachers and corporate heads on his Antarctic journeys.

The centerpiece of Masdar City, one of the most sustainable cities in the world, Masdar Institute provides students an unparalleled opportunity in the entire spectrum of research, from theory to applied research to commercialization in a single location. With its best-in-class amenities for research and development in clean technologies, it aims to help drive economic diversification through human capital and technological innovation.