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Women Urged to Take the Lead in the Clean Energy Revolution

Abu Dhabi: April 6, 2011 – During a forum convened today by the Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative in Abu Dhabi, distinguished female leaders highlighted the important role for women in the clean energy revolution, and the need to overcome barriers to their participation and leadership in clean energy-related fields.

C3E is one of 11 initiatives as part of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) dialogue.
Today’s C3E forum is hosted by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology on behalf of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is hosting the second CEM meeting this week in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the CEM Secretariat based in Washington, DC.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, opened the C3E event before keynote remarks were provided by Lykke Friis, Minister of Energy & Climate Change and Gender Equality, Denmark; Dipuo Peters, Minister of Energy, South Africa and Maud Olofsson, Minister of Energy and Enterprise, Sweden. HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, also gave a keynote speech at the event. 

“Helping increase women’s participation in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is critical not only to the UAE’s own development and economic evolution, as envisaged by our Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, but it is a mission that we share with others worldwide. That is why Masdar Institute’s participation in C3E is of such importance – not only is humanity’s need to promote women in STEM shared, but so too are the challenges, which we are gathering to address, inspired by the efforts of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chair of the Family Development Foundation, who is seeking to assist, advance and empower women to effectively contribute to the UAE’s economic and social development,” said Dr. Lamya N. Fawwaz, Executive Director of Public Affairs at Masdar Institute.

Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Associate Director of Sustainability, Masdar, who took part in a panel discussion on “The Role of Women in the Clean Energy Revolution” at the event, added: “A gender perspective is essential in looking for clean energy solutions to help mitigate the impact of climate change. In many societies around the world, a gender gap exists in science and engineering fields that most often provide the training for careers in clean energy research and business. Masdar Institute, however, is different with 61% of the UAE students being females. One of the main aims of C3E is to highlight examples of successful integration of women in the clean energy sectors. Sustainable advancements of clean energy technologies will be an elusive goal without the contribution of women.” 

Dr. Georgeta Vidican, Assistant Professor in the Engineering Systems and Management Program at Masdar Institute, who took part in a panel discussion on “Smart Policies to Scale Up Women’s Leadership in Clean Energy” at the event, said: “Increasing the representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics can benefit society through stronger, more inclusive and sustainable growth. In drawing from a larger pool of talent, such as the women currently studying at Masdar Institute, we will be better equipped to develop the clean energy solutions that will mitigate the impact of climate change. The hope is that C3E will encourage the next generation of women to provide their own contributions to the clean energy revolution.”

C3E was launched at the first 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 research and development of science and technology, which has 37 percent female representation in its student body. Masdar Institute also has as its first UAE National faculty member a distinguished Emirati woman professor Dr. Amal Al Ghaferi.

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