Latin America and the Caribbean, which has the highest use of renewable energy of any global region, has many outstanding candidates for the $4 million Zayed Future Energy Prize. The prize was created by the government of the United Arab Emirates in 2008. According to Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Prize, “it aims to inspire innovation and recognize achievement in renewable energy and sustainability.” At the Second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum May 18-21, 2015 in New York, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Al-Hosany, who expressed that she would like to see more applications from organizations and schools in Latin America and the Caribbean. The prize is divided into five categories:
- Large corporation: recognition award
- Small and medium enterprise & Non-profit organization: 1.5 million each
- Lifetime achievement: $500,000
- Global high schools: $100,000 for five global high schools in the five world regions (America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceana).
Dr. Al-Hosany discussed the global high school category noting that, “Each school wins up to $100,000 to do a project that addresses one of the three pillars of Sustainable Energy for All – energy access, renewable energy, energy efficiency. The most important thing is this project is that they need to engage the students and to have a level of community achievement.” Applications for each award category, which must be in English, are due by June 22, 2015, and are open to all Latin American and Caribbean countries.
In addition to serving as director of the prize, Dr. Al-Hosany is the director of sustainability at Masdar in the United Arab Emirates, is regarded as one of the 40 most influential Emiratis, was the first female deputy director of the Abu Dhabi Police, and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (she jokes that people only remember the Mt. Kilimanjaro part of her story). She is also passionate about supporting the work of women in the energy industry.
Although the energy industry is male dominated and past winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize have generally reflected that, Dr. Al-Hosany sees evidence of changing trends in the participation of women and girls in the STEM fields. She explained that,
“The good news or the inspiring news is that we had more females represented in the high school awards. So you have more girls’ schools winning, and they are the future, which for me was very inspiring.”
To support the goals of Sustainable Energy for All, nominate an organization or submit an application for the Zayed Future Energy Prize today. For more information about the evaluation process or the terms and references contact firstname.lastname@example.org.