Exclusive Youth Segment at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2016

For the first time, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week held this January, hosted the Student Exclusive, which attracted hundreds of students across the UAE to participate in the specially organised youth event. Supporting the UAE’s mission on mobilizing sustainable development, the event represented a unique, juvenile perspective on feasibility in the country.
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar and host of ADSW inaugurated the event by saying, “The Student Exclusive was conceived as a way to help young people grasp the issue of sustainability, inspire them to take action, and encourage them to uncover solutions for a better future”.
The event was also attended by Grammy-nominated singer Akon, founder of Akon Lighting Africa initiative, who congratulated the 29 school finalists of the Zayed Future Energy Prize (8th edn.), and sat down for an interview where he expressed contentment in seeing young students take a bold initiative, and said, “One of my missions is to help empower youth across the world be active in sustainability”.
A prominent segment of the Student Exclusive was the first instalment of the “RenewAbility Debate Series”, which paired some of the industry’s leading voices in sustainability with young Emiratis for an academic debate on the benefits of renewables by 2030.
HE Dr Al Zeyoudi; Permanent Representative of IRENA & Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was pleased to participate in the debate. “This mentorship programme, culminated by an intellectual debate, supports the UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. It arms young people with the right tools to understand core sustainability concepts, promotes collaboration among peers, and encourages innovative thinking around sustainability issues.”
Building on efforts to encourage Emiratis to be active in their communities, The Student Exclusive hosted a session aiming to highlight Emirati leaders who turned their personal passions into tangible actions. Entrepreneur and “Just Read It” author Omar Al Busaidy, Mansour cartoon creator Rashed Al Harmoodi, and personal health & wellness leaders Abeer Al Amiri and Omar Al Dhiyabi inspired students with personal stories of building careers from their passion through a spirit of innovation.
Young Emirati students from Model United Nations Middle East, and the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Schools Project also spoke about their vision on the future of the world. The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a paraguayan musical group of kids that live next to one of South America’s largest landfills, inspired the audience by performing orchestral music using instruments built from the landfill waste.
Throughout the event, students were encouraged to use social media to promote how they would personally take action to promote sustainability, using the hashtag #ActionSpeaksLouder.
The Student Exclusive was one of the key events in the awareness pillar of ADSW 2016. The mission is reinforced through a number of other activities such as Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in Schools and self-guided tours of the ADSW exhibitions at ADNEC.
The final event in the awareness pillar of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will be The Festival at Masdar City on January 22-23. Open to the community and free to attend, it is a two-day street festival filled with fun and educational activities on sustainability against the backdrop of one of the world’s most sustainable cities.
For more information, please refer to the official website : http://abudhabisustainabilityweek.com/

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