Abu Dhabi Students Take Hands-On Approach to Sustainable Technology
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20 January 2016 Share article International Zayed Future Energy Prize winners unite with local students for Sustainability and Future Energy workshop

Students from Abu Dhabi schools and the Zayed Future Energy Prize Global High Schools category winners and finalists join together to build their own sustainable lamps in the Sustainability and Future Energy Workshop at Masdar City with Liter of Light, the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize winners in the Non-Profit Organisation category.
Abu Dhabi students with their peers from the Global High schools category winners and finalists at the Sustainability and Future Energy Workshop hosted by the Zayed Future Energy Prize in Masdar City.

Abu Dhabi, January 20, 2016 – Abu Dhabi students joined winners and finalists of the eighth cycle of the Zayed Future Energy Prize in Masdar City today for an interactive workshop entitled ‘Sustainability and Future Energy’. Guided by volunteers from social enterprise Liter of Light, young people learned to assemble simple and sustainable bottle lamps from recycled materials. Liter of Light were awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Non-Profit Organisation category last January, 2015.

A feature of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016, the workshop sought to emphasise that innovation can result in equally simple, robust and life-changing solutions, on occasion at very low-cost. All the winners of the 2015 Global High Schools category attended and shared their experiences of winning the prize and implementing their sustainability projects.

Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “Bringing together the winners and finalists of the Global High Schools category and local students is critical to empowering and inspiring young people in the UAE to take an active role in sustainability. The Zayed Future Energy Prize was established on the principles of sustainability and education at the heart of our founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s legacy, God rest his soul. The Global High Schools category is now taking these principles forward and creating opportunities for young people to shape a more sustainable future.”

Ms. Fatheya Alahmadi, who leads development of the science curriculum for ADEC schools, commented: “Ensuring local students are part of the dialogue on sustainability is important and we are proud to make it happen through this event. Engaging with students from other countries and encouraging knowledge exchange play a central role in creating an environment whereby young people feel they can make a difference.”

Hosted by the Zayed Future Energy Prize, with support from the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Liter of Light, the four-hour event provided an opportunity for recent winners of the prize’s Global High Schools category to share with local young people their experiences of submitting a project proposal for the prize. In addition to this and the bottle lamp tutorial, students took part in a 30-minute discussion on the merits of sustainable energy, followed by an inspirational speech by Liter of Light Founder and CEO, Illac Diaz.

Speaking at the event, Illac Diaz said: “Empowering young people to take sustainable action is critical for our future prosperity. Events such as this, where local and international students can mix, debate about energy and climate issues, and learn about sustainability, play a huge role in expanding their minds. They will be the future leaders of tomorrow and through education they will be equipped for our future challenges.”

Liter of Light uses empty recycled plastic bottles filled with water and bleach to provide high quality solar lighting to communities with limited or no access to electricity in places like Brazil, India and the Philippines. By adding an LED, micro-solar panel and battery they generate low cost lighting at night.

The Global High Schools category was introduced in 2012, as part of the UAE’s commitment to the UN Secretary General’s ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ (SE4All) initiative, which seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Five winners in the Global High Schools category were presented with the Zayed Future Energy Prize last Monday, January 18. The award winners were: SOS HG Sheikh Secondary School in Somalia, Korea Science Academy of KAIST in South Korea, Institución Educativa Gabriel Plazas in Colombia, Student Research Centre South Baden-Württemberg in Germany and Cashmere High School in New Zealand.