Dubai: In an emotionally charged ceremony at COP28 at Expo City Dubai, Mary Zayed, named after the founder of the UAE the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, captured the hearts of attendees at the Zayed Sustainability Prize event.
Addressing the audience during the award ceremony of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, Mary’s grandfather shared a deeply moving narrative. He recounted his origins in a region of Malawi where the prospect of electricity remained a distant dream for an extended period.
As a younger man, the grandfather endured the profound grief of losing his first child, a tragedy exacerbated by the absence of access to electricity.
During a visit to the obstetrics department at a local hospital, the absence of basic amenities was so acute that we resorted to lighting fires to provide warmth, he said.
“Our lives began to transform when Malawi received the Zayed Sustainability Prize. This accolade heralded the establishment of an academy dedicated to expanding solar energy across our community, something which played a crucial role during a significant moment in my life — the birth of my daughter’s first child.
In honour of the transformative impact of the Prize and to express our gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, we named her Zayed, symbolising a new era of hope and progress birthed from Sheikh Zayed’s legacy.
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Earlier yesterday, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has awarded the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s global award in sustainability and humanitarianism, during a ceremony held at COP28 UAE in Expo City Dubai.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize, established in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has been a beacon of hope and innovation for over 15 years. This year, 11 winners across six categories were honoured, with a collective prize fund of $3.6 million, for their contributions in health, food, energy, water, and climate action. These projects have impacted the lives of 384 million people globally.
In a significant announcement, the Prize committee revealed an increase in the endowment from $3.6 million to $5.9 million.