This year, the Young Future Energy Leaders program received a US$1 million donation from Sultan bin Rashed Al Dhaheri, Chairman of the Board of the Sultan Bin Rashed Group of Companies, member of the UAE Federal National Council, and member of the Board of Directors of both the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company. With such an established background, Al Dhaheri’s contribution to the program is a clear demonstration that building the science and engineering skills of the next generation is a top priority for Abu Dhabi’s most senior business leaders.

In the following interview, Al Dhaheri talks about his donation and about building the skills of future generations.

Q. What does your contribution mean to you as a UAE national?

A. My individual contribution to YFEL represents only a small token of my gratitude to the community, which has guided me, taught me and molded me into the successful person I am today. Only a community that makes way for the youth to empower themselves will become successful. In my opinion, YFEL creates the right avenues for the youth to equip themselves with the most suitable qualifications and skills.

Q. Does the Emirati community need to be more involved in community building and social empowerment?

A. Any community in which the elders closely involve themselves with the development of the youth will remain progressive. Broadly speaking, outreach programs [like YFEL] are nothing but modern day representations of our age-old practices that include mentoring and teaching the talents to the youngsters.

Q. Does the term ‘sustainability’ mean anything to you? How relevant is ‘sustainability’ in today’s world?

A. Our elders in the pre-oil era lived only with what was available in this desert region, while keeping the future generation in mind. In today’s world, the term “sustainability” takes on added significance because of the way the world’s natural resources are being depleted, along with the additional burden of carbon emissions because of our various modern-day activities. If we do not teach the importance of sustainability to today’s youth through programs such as YFEL, the natural resources of the world will be irretrievably lost.