13 JAN 2017

Masdar Announces Fifth Annual ‘Engage’ Social Media Contest Winner

130 entries from more than 40 nations discussed the most critical solutions to mitigate climate change risks over the next decade

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has announced the winner of its fifth annual Engage Social Media Contest.

This year’s contest received 130 entries, a record level of participation in the five years of this competition, with submissions coming from 45 nations across six continents. For the first time, the contest welcomed submissions in formats other than blogging posts, which led to entries that included videos, slideshows and Tumblr updates.

The theme of this year’s Engage Social Media Contest challenged participants to make a case for the solutions that, in their view, could be most effective in mitigating climate change risks over the next decade. The goal of the contest was to connect the momentum gained from the November COP22 climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco with the enthusiasm building for the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which launched on 12 January.

Conclusions drawn from Masdar’s recent GenZ Global Sustainability survey also shaped this year’s theme, as the survey’s results found that global citizens aged 18 – 25 believed that climate change posed the greatest challenges to their future security and prosperity. Contestants were encouraged to debate their opinions within the Engage site, as well on social media platforms, using the hashtag #WorldIn2026.

This year’s winning post was submitted by Seva Karpauskaite of Kaunus, Lithuania. Her video, filmed with iconic Washington, DC monuments as a backdrop, explored the need to develop green financing structures that would allow clean technologies to expand and scale in order to reduce climate change risks over the next decade.

Ms. Karpauskaite is the first European and second woman to win the contest. A graduate of King’s College at Cambridge University, Ms. Karpauskaite completed her bachelor’s degree in politics, psychology and sociology. Currently she is continuing her studies at the School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in International Economics and International Politics with a focus on Energy, Resources and Environment. Amongst Ms. Karpauskaite’s long-term goals is to combine theoretical insights with practical experience into a future career in sustainability advocacy and consulting.

As the winner of this year’s Engage competition, Ms. Karpauskaite will be Masdar’s VIP social media influencer at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which this year runs from January 12th – 21st.

“We’re very pleased to see the record level of participation this year’s Engage Contest generated,” said Masdar’s Anca Westley, Director of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. “At a time when Masdar’s recent GenZ Youth Survey showed just how passionate young citizens worldwide are about addressing climate change, the contest raised many ideas of how society can ensure sustainable development over the next 10 years. We at Masdar were impressed with the wide range of opinions, as well as the high level of discussion that has continued on social media.

“The enthusiasm shared by both the contest’s participants and readers showed just how important this topic is to people around the world. The volume of comments on many of the postings, and the ongoing conversation on social media, revealed the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the next decade. And as a segue into the events that will soon launch during ADSW, this discussion enhances the event’s reputation as one where solutions can be found to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and sustainable technologies. The contest served an important purpose: to help build excitement for the coming week, and showcase why Abu Dhabi has become a leading global energy hub.”

During this year’s ADSW, the Middle East’s largest gathering on sustainability, Ms. Karpauskaite will have the opportunity to cover the event’s official Opening Ceremony and Global Action Day. Ms. Karpauskaite will also report on the tenth World Future Energy Summit, the ninth Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony, the fifth International Water Summit, the fourth annual EcoWaste Summit, the second Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) side event, the second Student Exclusive event, and the first Global Energy Forum, in addition to other ADSW activities.

The contest’s runners-up were offered a complimentary pass for ADSW, which included access to all of the conference’s events. The participants who were also considered as the contest’s finalists were:

  • Evan Rankin, USA
  • Girish Shivakumar, India
  • Samuel Stephens, United Kingdom
  • Mark Bessoudo, Canada
  • Lenka Kollar, USA

This year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is projected to gather more than 37,000 participants from 170 countries, including global decision makers in research, policy, industry and finance, to address the interconnected challenges and opportunities of sustainable development, renewable energy and water security.

18 JAN 2017

SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS! Three school teams from Al Gharbia win “Solar Oven Challenge”

The winning teams in a school contest to build an electric oven powered by solar energy received their trophies and cash prizes at Shams Solar Power Company in Madinat Zayed yesterday.

Sixteen schools from Al Gharbia in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region challenged themselves over four weeks to create a safe, working oven powered only by the sun.

Grade 11 and 12 students competed in teams of four, with at least two of the team-members UAE nationals, and a budget of AED500.

The three winning schools who will be showing off their students’ solar-powered cooking technology at The Festival at Masdar City on January 20-21 are: Qatr Al Nada school from Madinat Zayed came in the 1st and 3rd place with two different teams; Al Baya school from Sila came in the second place.

Shams Solar Power Company, operator of the Shams 1 solar power plant, organised the “Solar Oven Challenge” to mark this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which takes place from January 12-21.

The winning team received a cheque for AED10,000. Second-place earned AED5,000 and the school in third received AED2,000. At least half of the winnings must go towards a school project.

To win the challenge, teams had to build an oven that could reach temperatures of between 150 and 200 degrees Celsius for at least one hour. They also had to be able to bake a dish for the judges to eat, and explain how their cash prize would be spent to help their class or school.

“We were amazed at the ingenuity of all the competing teams and extremely impressed that so many school teams took part,” said Abdulaziz Al Obaidli, General Manager of Shams Power Company.

“The Solar Oven Challenge was a fun way to raise awareness of the potential of renewable energy. And there was serious message too, because millions of people around the world don’t have access to reliable and affordable sources of cooking fuel. Solar-powered cooking technology if applied on a wide scale could transform the quality of life of countless people.”

15 JAN 2017

Atlantic Councils Global Energy Forum Brings a Fast Start to ADSW 2017

For the first time, the Atlantic Council held its annual Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi. And quite frankly, there was no better place to discuss geo-economics, energy trends, the U.S. election and its affect on energy markets than this two-day forum that is wrapping up today in Abu Dhabi. At 10:00 a.m. yesterday, this event kicked-off the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017, the Middle East’s largest sustainability gathering, which is hosted by Masdar.

Several high-level policy discussions included perspectives from H.E. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy; H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar; H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy; and former Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman, who is Chairman of the Atlantic Council - some of whom the staff at Masdar has had the pleasure to interact or work with. The meeting of this minds strengthens Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a global energy hub.

Sure, this country has long been a leader in hydrocarbons; but over the last several years, the UAE has emerged as a major player within the world’s renewable energy sector. Through projects including those funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and implemented by Masdar, some of the world’s most remote nations have embarked on a path towards securing more secure and safer energy for their citizens. Meanwhile, more countries are investing in offshore wind and massive solar projects as they have become proven to become more efficient and cost effective in recent years. And all this is happening at a time when oil prices have been very low. But that could change at any time. As Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Agency told the Global Energy Forum audience, “We are entering a time of oil price volatility.” Mr. Birol surmised that declining oil industry investment could actually lead to greater oil prices soon. In any event, more governments and businesses are making the decision to invest in renewables so that they can stabilize energy prices; and that in turn, these trends could only make these sources of energy more price-competitive in the long run. In sum, it was a dynamic gathering of leaders and professionals, with a diverse point of view, who attended this event on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island.

And it was the perfect launch for ADSW 2017, where once again civil society, corporates and government leaders are exchanging ideas and making deals to advance the cause of clean energy and technology solutions.

14 JAN 2017

ADSW and Festival at Masdar City Come to the Corniche

It’s been a weekend of family fun on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, as Masdar and Abu Dhabi Municipality teamed up to bring ADSW and Festival at Masdar City to local residents. The past two nights, children have been treated to an activation, or sneak preview, of what’s in store for the 20-21 January Festival at Masdar City. On the East Plaza, where Khallej Al Arabi and Corniche Steets meet, a large Masdar booth greeted guests who were strolling upon the Corniche.

Children can color and design t-shirts with sustainability messages; or have a smoothie, which they would mix themselves by peddling on a stationary bicycle; or assemble, and then race, a model solar-powered car while they learn the basics of renewable energy. Younger children also had a corner where they could color and draw images of solar panels and wind mills. “I’m so glad we came by during our walk this evening,” said Nigel, a United Kingdom national who has lived with his family in Abu Dhabi for three years. “I’ve heard the adverts on radio and have seen some signs, but having this area right in the middle of the Corniche ended up making this an even nicer evening for us.

Now we definitely are keen come to Masdar City next weekend and explore the Festival.” The activation at Masdar City has its final evening tomorrow, 14 January, from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Festival at Masdar City will occur Friday, 20 January, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday, 21 January, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Activities include a do-it-yourself crafts zone, arcades and carnival games, a bazaar selling foods and handicrafts, science experiments as well as arts and entertainment. We look forward to hosting you there!