ABU DHABI, April 26 2015 – Local youth leaders gathered yesterday in Abu Dhabi to take part in the first-ever programme exposing youth to the inner workings of the agency tasked with supporting the global uptake of renewable energy.
Organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Model IRENA programme simulated the IRENA Council, one of the Agency’s principal governing organs.
Roughly 50 students participated from New York University Abu Dhabi, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, the Petroleum Institute University and Research Center, United Arab Emirates University and Heriot-Watt University in Dubai.
“The students and young professionals of today are the experts and leaders oftomorrow,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “The Model IRENA programme was designed to educate and engage motivated youth on the world’s most pressing energy challenges, and the central importance of international cooperation for a sustainable energy future.”
Yesterday’s event modelled the actual procedures of intergovernmental bodies, including country interventions, open floor debates, negotiations, and bilateral and multilateral side-meetings. Participants assumed the role of IRENA delegates and presented their country’s position on two topics: renewable energy and climate change, and the socio-economic benefits of renewable energy deployment.
“My field of study is sustainability, so I’m interested in the bigger picture, for example, how governments and international organizations work in this area,” said Mouza Mohammed al Kaabi, a national of the UAE and student at Sorbonne University representing Uruguay in the simulation exercise. “Model IRENA gave me a chance to interact with other students, exchange ideas, and step outside my comfort zone by learning new things.”
“I joined this programme because I wanted to learn more about renewable energy and I knew IRENA was the best source for this,” said Carrisa Tehputri, a national of Indonesia and student from New York University representing Norway in the simulation exercise. “Model IRENA gave us the opportunity to learn first-hand from experts in the field, and to understand more about different countries’ agendas on renewables and energy.”
The simulation exercise was preceded by four preparatory workshops including an IRENA experts day, a debating workshop, a visit to the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a final mock-up exercise to help participants prepare.
“I’ve been involved in a few other youth modelling exercises, but Model IRENA was more than just modelling because members of the IRENA Secretariat were actively involved and working with us,” said Norbert Monti, a national of Hungary and student from New York University representing India in the simulation exercise. “The Model IRENA experience felt more authentic.”