Abu Dhabi: The 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize in various categories were given to winners on Tuesday night by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at a ceremony at the Emirates Palace.
Shaikh Mohammad said that under the leadership of President His Highness, Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, sustainable development across sectors has been placed at the forefront and the core of the national strategy. He said in the spirit of safeguarding the nation and its people, the leadership’s international collaborations are aimed at securing peace and prosperity for humankind.
“We believe that investing in people is the future energy challenge; we believe that investing in people is the future of our collective prosperity. Through the prize, we are not only recognising tremendous achievement, but also providing support to help accelerate promising technologies and fund organisations, schools, and individuals committed to impacting communities around the world,” said the Crown Prince.
He stressed: “This is exactly what the Zayed Future Energy Prize set out to do through honouring a deep rooted legacy that Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, God rest his soul, instilled in us.”
Oafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of the Republic of Iceland, said that inspired by Shaikh Zayed, Abu Dhabi has become a centre for global dialogue on renewable energy and a sustainable future.
“The winners tonight show that change is possible, that vision and innovative thinking hold great promise for us all through practical endeavours. These winners are indeed the true heirs of the legacy of Shaikh Zayed,” said President Grimsson.
He added that the initiation of the Global High Schools Prize is a positive message that the committee received from the young generation about the need to sustain energy and to protect the environment.
“With the initiation of the Global High Schools Prize and the substantial positive feedback, the award gears towards recognising achievements in sustainable energy and becoming a catalyst for innovation.”
For his part, Dr Sultan Al Jaber director of Zayed Future Energy Prize and CEO of Masdar, said: “Our wise leadership established this prize in honour of our late founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul… who laid the foundations for sustainable development in the UAE, through his efforts in the development of the UAE infrastructure, its economy, and the conservation of our natural resources for future generations.”
“We are especially pleased about the quality of submissions for the prize in 2012 which have continued to evolve with every passing year due to the unwavering efforts of our alumni, committee members and our various stakeholders,” Al Jaber said.
He added that, “Today, under the visionary leadership of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the nation continues its drive for international collaboration — exerting every effort to address challenges — energy, water, food security, health, women’s empowerment as well as social, economic and environmental sustainability.”
He said that the winner has collectively reduced the plight of 140,000 displaced people.
Awards were presented in five categories. The winner for large corporations received a recognition award, For Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the winner was given $1.5 million (Dh5.5 million). Winners from non-governmental organisations were given $1.5 million. A Lifetime Achievement Award (given to an individual) came with a prize of $500,000 and the Global High Schools Prize was divided among five regions with each school getting up to $100,000 (The Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania).
Professor Jose Goldernberg professor of physics at the University of Sao Paulo and former Brazilian minister of environment received the Lifetime Achievement Award. “I have introduced biofuel to the Brazilian community which helped a lot of people, particularly the poor ones, to benefit from this energy source for heating and for cooking at cheaper prices. I helped coverting sugarcane ethanol into fuel,” Goldernberg told Gulf News.
“I am proud to be granted this prize which is a testament of achievments. I wished to meet the late Shaikh Zayed and I hope my achievement will be remembered by the generations to come as Shaikh Zayed is remembered now,” Goldenberg said.
He added: “I will donate part of the award to research in Brazil where experts and scientists are not well paid.”
Anisul Hassan, President of Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School from the UAE, said that winning such a prize is an honour and will inspire all the staff and the personnel in the educational fields to stress initiatives that save humanity.
“We have launched an eco-club which helps save the environment and to orient students about risks resulting thereof of any imbalances in nature,” said Hassan.