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YFEL Members Gain Insights from Global Sustainability Leaders

Prominent government and non-government sustainability stakeholders, including His Excellency Dr Ahmad Belhoul, UAE Minister of State for Higher Education, His Excellency Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, and Laurene Powell-Jobs, Founder and President of Emerson Collective, offered insights into leadership and professional development to members of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program at the YFEL Theater during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017.

Dr. Lamya N Fawwaz, Vice President for Public Affairs and Institutional Advancement, Masdar Institute, said: “Being able to hear from and speak with innovative pioneers can be a transformational experience for young people. We are thankful to the exceptional leaders that took the time to speak to our YFEL members, who will greatly benefit from their encouragement and inspirational words.”

Special sessions organized at the YFEL Theater during the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2017, part of ADSW, allowed the member students and young professionals to build on their skill base through interaction with global energy leaders and decision-makers, while learning from their experiences to become capable future leaders.

Pointing out that the UAE culture is based on sustainability, His Excellency Dr Belhoul urged the YFEL members to adopt and embed a culture of sustainability in their activities. He told them that as the youth and future leaders they should be the harbingers of sustainable lifestyles during the course of their professional areas. He also congratulated Masdar Institute and Masdar for empowering the UAE’s best young talent, honing their skills and equipping them for the future through education in clean energy.

In her interactive session with the YFEL members, Powell-Jobs, Founder & Executive of the Emerson Collective, called the youth to remain in the forefront of ushering in new technologies through education, research and innovation. Explaining the role her foundation plays in empowering young people, she said that Emerson Collective is partnering with entrepreneurs and experts, parents and policymakers, advocates and administrators to spur change and promote equality. She urged the YFEL members to be more proactive in bringing forth ideas and actioning on them as responsible future leaders. Education is one of the priority areas for Emerson Collective, which is involved in empowering children and students through various initiatives, she added.

His Excellency Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, also engaged with the YFEL members and shared his perspectives on the need to save energy. His Excellency Goyal also said that the UAE was one of the few fossil fuel-rich countries that has the vision to turn to clean energy and sustainable solutions. He urged YFEL members to take the lead in raising awareness and adopting more sustainable ways in all walks of life. Several YFEL members raised community-relevant challenges in sustainability for which the Indian minister encouraged them to focus more on their role as key contributors to educating the community and the need to remain innovation-oriented.

Kathleen D. Kennedy, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum, also shared with YFEL members her insights on the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation. Kennedy, who presides over MIT’s 20-chapter strong international community of technology entrepreneurs, also urged the youth to be more active in developing new ‘disruptive’ technologies that are creating opportunities for spreading sustainability.

Maher Ezzeddine, CEO of Idanco, Chairman and President of Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Group, also spoke to YFEL members on “Passion for Exploration and Innovation”. Idanco, an idea innovator company that focuses on generating new ideas and providing strategy consultancy, was an early adopter of crowdsourcing, a major innovation key differentiator.

Part of Masdar Institute’s outreach activities, YFEL offers young professionals and students from the UAE and abroad an opportunity to become more engaged in finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges like 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.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
29 January 2017

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