Abu Dhabi-UAE: 08 April, 2015 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, has celebrated the graduation of its Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) 2014 program, which took place on 7 April.
More than 55 YFEL 2014 members who actively participated in the year-long schedule of events, which included various courses as well as overseas visits, were awarded certificates during the on-campus award ceremony. The current YFEL 2015 program has more than 100 members.
His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, Chairman of Masdar and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute, Masdar Institute President Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, UAE Federal National Council member His Excellency Sultan bin Rashid Al Dhaheri and renowned Emirati philanthropist Mohammed bin Kardous Al Ameri presented the certificates at the ceremony. His Excellency Al Dhaheri and Al Ameri are noted YFEL donors while Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has been the committed sponsor of the YFEL program for the fifth consecutive year. Ateeq Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director – Administration, ADNOC, was present at the function.
Dr. Moavenzadeh said: “With this YFEL graduation ceremony, Masdar Institute is pleased to be contributing to the development and mentorship of the next generation of problem-solvers in the UAE. The YFEL 2014 members have shown great enthusiasm and commitment to tackling sustainability challenges in the region through innovative solutions and leadership. I am confident these talented young men and women from the UAE and around the world will apply the best of their YFEL lessons to the next challenge ahead.”
For the YFEL 2014 members, the graduation event served as a platform to retrace their year-long journey while setting the stage for members of the YFEL 2015 program. During the ceremony, a video was shown of the key highlights of the YFEL 2014 program. A Masdar Institute outreach initiative, the YFEL program falls under the purview of the Office of Public Affairs, headed by Dr. Lamya N. Fawwaz, Executive Director.
During the year, YFEL 2014 members visited Japan under the auspices of the YFEL-Japan Government Initiative organized in collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). Led by Zainab Abdul Rahim Al Ali, Program Manager, YFEL, a total of 10 UAE national YFEL members had the opportunity to learn from Japan’s advancements in technology and sustainability. Their visits covered the Smart House at the Panasonic Center Tokyo, Toshiba Smart Community Center, University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Frontier Science, and the Kyoto University’s Shinohara Laboratory, as well as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Another group of YFEL members led by Dr. Ken Volk, Outreach Manager, Masdar Institute, visited Leh in the Ladakh region of northern India for an overseas workshop on ‘Compassionate Young Leaders’ Energy Access, Ethics and Development 2014’. Co-organized by YFEL and The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, the visit offered the youth an insight into the effectiveness of off-grid energy systems at inaccessible mountainous terrains.
YFEL member Alawi Al Jafri said “The program is extremely well put together and is fun, challenging, and rewarding. The year went by surprisingly fast with unforgettable memories and experiences. Every activity focuses on application of what we are learning to real work scenarios, which is fantastic.”
The annual educational programs for YFEL members also included mandatory courses on technology, policy and leadership. During their year-long experience the YFEL members learned about future energy trends and the links between natural gas as the cleanest fossil fuel and sustainability at a one-day workshop organized by Shell. The event was led by Mounir Bouaziz, Shell Vice-President for Commercial/New Business Development – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and Country Chairman of Dubai & Northern Emirates, and Dr. Steven Griffiths, Executive Director, Office of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute.
A satellite and earth observation course titled ‘Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS)’ was also part of the YFEL program. The course, led by Dr. Prashanth Marpu and Dr. Marouane Temimi, Associate Professors from Masdar Institute’s Water and Environmental Engineering Program, covered a range of tools and techniques used in addressing environmental issues at local, regional and global scales.
Additionally, a three-module course offered by Dr. Taha Ouarda, Head of Institute Center for Water and Environment (iWater) and Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Shadi Wajih Hasan, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, provided YFEL members with insights into new advancements in managing water resources and desalination. A course on ‘Wind Energy Generation Technology’ by Dr. Isam Janajreh, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, updated YFEL members on the special aspects of wind energy. These special courses were part of YFEL members’ year-long activities aimed at building capabilities and contributing to overall personal and professional development of the members.
YFEL 2014 member Jafri summed up his year-long experience, saying: “The YFEL program has helped me challenge the limits and allowed me to hone my skills. It has made a better person. I have ramped up my toolkit – technically, emotionally and professionally. Now I feel I am better equipped with theory and practice, better connected within the academia and most importantly, has become far more resilient and disciplined.”