The Student Exclusive, an Afternoon of Inspiration


The excitement at ADNEC’s ICC Hall was palpable as several hundred students from the UAE, and other nations from around the world, attended the second annual “Student Exclusive” during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) this afternoon. Now a keystone ADSW event, the Student Exclusive strives to empower and inspire youth to think and conduct themselves sustainably. Students of all ages filled the amphitheater’s rows, and it was a rewarding experience watching them smile and participate during the entire event.

H.E. Dr Ahmed Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, presented the event’s opening address, and praised the Student Exclusive as integral to ADSW’s momentum.

The Minister reminded what was the foundation of ADSW, and offered insight on how to welcome and prepare for the country’s future. “The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed,” he reminded the audience. Those lessons, indeed, must be kept in mind as the world continues its economic and energy transformation this century.

A full lineup of energetic speakers drove home this year’s theme of the Student Exclusive, “Creating a sustainable future by empowering young minds.”

The afternoon was moderated by journalist and UAE social media favourite Khalid Al Ameri, along with fellow Emirati Waheeda Al Hadhrami, a TwoFour54 creative talent developer. Both did a fantastic job of engaging the audience and gave plenty of thoughtful, and at times, sprinkled the event with humorous moments.

The cast of speakers included Majid Al Qassimi, a trained veterinarian who is the Director of the Animal Health & Development Department at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Dr Qassimi exhorted the audience to consider careers such as veterinary science, and he gave a riveting overview of what his training, and now his job, entail. Hasan Al Redaini, who works within Mubadala and was the UAE’s representative to Solar Impulse 2, really worked the crowd as he inspired them to dream big and aim high. Mr Al Redaini offered some background on how he went from having an ordinary office job to his 11 month journey following the world’s first solar-powered flight across the world.

One reason why Student Exclusive is always a rewarding event to staff is because it integrates art with these science- and energy-centered talks. The Emirati pianist Mona Alhashmi wowed the crowd with her compositions, calligraphy from Diaa Allam was stunning and the musicians “G-Beat” and Khalifa Nasser ensured the energy level never dipped.

One thing is clear about how we felt after staffing, observing and watching the Student Exclusive: we cannot wait to organize the next one for ADSW 2018!

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