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Zayed Future Energy Prize names jury

(Wam) / 27 July 2011

ABU DHABI - A distinguished group of international leaders in the government, business and academia and renowned Green activists has been selected to join the jury for the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is recognised as the world’s preeminent award driving innovation, leadership, long-term vision and impact in renewable energy and sustainability. 

“We welcome to the Prize highly accomplished individuals who bring together a multifaceted set of experiences in the industry along with a shared passion and commitment to advancing renewable energy and sustainability around the world,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director-General of the Prize. “We will greatly benefit by each of their specific areas of expertise and participation.”

The newly selected members of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury are:  Mohammed Nasheed, President of the Republic of the Maldives; Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, Minister of Energy for South Africa; Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation and Better World Fund; Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar-award winning actor and environmental activist; Andre Agassi, Founder of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and Grand Slam tennis champion; and Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation.

The new jury members will join continuing members: Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland; Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar; and Dr Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Our appreciation is also extended to the exiting jury members whose efforts have laid the foundation and created the momentum for the prize in its inception phase. We recognise their efforts and are confident that they will continue to support the prize as its ambassadors. The participation of these leading figures is not only a tribute to the environmental stewardship of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan  but also to his vision of building bridges and fostering friendships that extend across the world,” he added. In line with the far-reaching vision of the UAE leadership, the Zayed Future Energy Prize aims to incentivise, encourage and become a catalyst for the ongoing development of renewable energy and clean technology.

The jury will convene later this year as the final judging panel in a four-tiered open process that selects the prize winners and finalists who will be honoured in an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on January 17, 2012.

The annual Zayed Future Energy Prize is open to individuals, large companies, entrepreneurs, small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and NGOs in the field of renewable energy and sustainability. Award category and prizes are: SMEs/NGOs: $1.5 million (winner), $1m (first runner-up), and $500,000 (second runner-up); Lifetime Achievement — Individual: $500,000; large corporations: Recognition Award.

A High School Prize (Global) of $500,000 will be launched in 2012 and awarded in 2013 for the first time signalling ongoing development of the Zayed Future Energy Prize in its efforts to inspire the youth, our future generations of leaders and innovators.

The prize organisation has developed a multi-tiered evaluation procedure to ensure consistency throughout the judging process. First, the Evaluations Committee provides due diligence on all submitted entries and selects the leading candidates for the Review Committee. Top entries are then forwarded to the Selection Committee, comprising energy experts from around the world, who present their top tier candidates to the jury for final selection of winners in each category.

New jury members

Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of Maldives, the first country to sign the Kyoto protocol, has been selected for his lifelong work as an environmental protectionist, most recently with untiring efforts to make his country carbon neutral within a decade.

“The Zayed Future Energy Prize serves as a catalyst to sustainable development. For us, going carbon neutral is not just the right thing to do; we believe it is in our economic self-interest. Countries that have the foresight to green their economies today will be the winners of tomorrow,” said President Nasheed.

Dipuo Peters, Minister of Energy for South Africa, selected for her many years of public service as a social and political activist, has dedicated to freedom of democracy, women’s issues, energy efficiency and the South African youth movement. She most recently led South Africa’s efforts to establish a renewable energy feed-in tariff and currently reach the country’s established target of 10,000 GW/h of renewable energy by 2013. “We have to ensure a balanced approach to energy infrastructure where we are delivering large-scale energy capacity at an equitable cost. The broad scope of achievement that is awarded by the Zayed Future Energy Prize exemplifies this interdisciplinary effort to advance clean energy.”

Wirth has been selected for his career leadership as an environmental steward and efforts to further the advancement of technology and policy directives in the clean energy sector. Consistently voted one of the most effective members of the US Congress, where he served from 1974 to 1990, Wirth was one of the early leaders to focus on solutions to climate change.

He outlined the groundbreaking ‘cap and trade’ concept which became law in 1990, and subsequently in 1993, authored the Colorado Wilderness Bill. As the first Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs under President Bill Clinton, he concentrated on global environmental issues and was an early supporter of the Kyoto Protocol. Since 1998, he has served as president of the UN Foundation, continuing these efforts on an international scale.

“In its size and visibility, the Zayed Future Energy Prize is globally unique and serves as a tribute to those who are leading the way for innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies.  It also serves as an incentive for the next generation of leaders. It is an honour to be among the judges.”

Leonardo DiCaprio has been selected for his demonstrated leadership as an environmental philanthropist, policy activist, and his personal and cinematic efforts to educate the public on the issues of global warming. Since launching the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation more than 15 years ago, and later Leonardo DiCaprio.org, DiCaprio collaborates with many organisations to foster awareness of environmental and clean energy issues.

He has served as chair for US National Earth Day and has counselled US Administration to adopt greener practices. As a member of the National Resources Defence Council and Global Green USA, he works to inspire future generations to make a lifelong commitment to the environment. His cinematic works to this end includes Global Warming, Water Planet, The 11th Hour, and Planet Green Network’s Greensburg.

“It is our generation that must create a sustainable environment and mitigate the potentially devastating effects of climate change. I therefore look forward to serving on the jury of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and realising our shared vision of a world abundant in clean, renewable energy.”

Agassi has been selected for his successful leadership in effecting energy efficiency, limiting the use of natural resources, and overall efforts to protect the environment. The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which has raised more than $150 million for at-risk children in Las Vegas, is installing a fully permitted and approved 465 kW photo-voltaic energy system to provide electric power to the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.

“Like the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the Agassi Foundation is committed to advancing the use of renewable energy systems as a vital step to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the negative effects of climate change. I am pleased to be a member of this jury to support worldwide efforts to create a cleaner sustainable energy future for generations to come.”

Cherie Blair has been selected for her active work for equality and human rights and improved work/life balance for both women and men, especially in developing nations. The mission of the Cherie Blair Foundation is to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs in countries where they lack equal opportunities so they can grow their businesses and become greater contributors to their economies. Her esteemed career includes service as a lawyer, Queens Counsel, Recorder and mediator in addition to serving as first lady of the United Kingdom. “The Prize creates a great opportunity to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and practical action around the topic of renewable energy,” she said.

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