The Zayed Sustainability Prize awards US$100 000 to ALA students

ALA students Jesse Forrester and Wuntia Gomda were awarded US$100 000 as winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize for Global High Schools, Sub-Saharan Africa on January 14, 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

With the help of ALA Faculty members Matthew Young and Hans Sowder, Jesse and Wuntia applied for the grant last year to develop a project that would make ALA more environmentally sustainable.

Their project, the ‘Living Machine’ will create a greywater treatment machine and implement solar energy projects to develop their region to help alleviate other communities from poverty.

“It’s been an incredible honor to be selected as winners for the Zayed Sustainability Prize. It was just a testament to what we can do as young people, and I’m really excited about what we’ll be able to achieve back home and the impact we’ll have on peoples’ lives,” says Wuntia.

While in the UAE, the category winners and finalists took part in “The Festival at Masdar City”, where they participated in a series of fun and educational activities related to sustainability against the backdrop of one of the world’s most sustainable cities.

They also had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion today during the Future Skills 2030, at this year’s Youth 4 Sustainability Hub.

Wuntia recalls one of the most memorable moments during Sustainability Week was meeting His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, “I was really touched by his kindness and his humility. It is something that I have taken with me and I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, alongside leaders and representatives from the winners’ countries, presented awards to the 10 winners of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize at the annual awards ceremony.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed praised their creative ideas and efforts that have contributed to the economic and social development of their countries and regions.

The 11th edition of the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s annual awards ceremony was attended by global heads of state, UAE government ministers, stakeholders, and beneficiaries.

Established in 2008, the Prize has grown from an ambitious, UAE leadership-driven initiative that sought to encourage global action on the development of renewable energy solutions, into one of the most significant and globally-renowned awards for affecting positive human and sustainable impact.

In its first 10 years, the Prize has added categories and expanded its reach by rewarding an ever-increasing number of visionaries, innovators and pioneers, in the field of renewable energy. The Zayed Sustainability Prize categories are Health, Food, Energy, Water, and Global High Schools.

The Global High Schools category, which was introduced in 2012, expanded in 2019 from five to six schools, with each representing a specific world region. Participating schools submitted a project proposal that addressed one or more of the four sustainability challenges: Health, Food, Energy or Water.

The recipients of the 2019 Global High Schools category were: African Leadership Academy (South Africa), representing Sub-Saharan Africa; The Impact School (Guatemala), representing The Americas; Gymnasium Goethe (Tajikistan), representing Europe & Central Asia; American School of Dubai (UAE), representing the Middle East and North Africa region; SECMOL (India), representing South Asia; and Muntinlupa National High School (The Philippines), representing East Asia & Pacific.