Student Energy Summit 2023 Showcases Unprecedented Youth Leadership in the Energy Transition

Press Release
Key Facts
GEAPP was proud to sponsor SES and support a delegation of 40 aspiring leaders from priority countries across Africa
Student Energy Summit (SES) 2023 hosted two events - the Leaders Forum and Innovation Jam
The prestigious ‘Leaders Forum’ brought together nearly 100 highly engaged young leaders

Abu Dhabi, UAE | 8 December 2023 – Student Energy Summit (SES) 2023, the world’s largest youth-led conference on energy, made history this year by converging in the heart of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the very first time. Hosted by New York University Abu Dhabi, SES 2023 witnessed a groundswell of passionate young minds driving dialogue, innovation, and action in the energy sector.

Central to the summit were two key events — the Leaders Forum and Innovation Jam. The prestigious ‘Leaders Forum’ brought together nearly 100 highly engaged young leaders to connect and collaborate through impactful discussions and thought-provoking sessions. From workshops on ‘Decolonizing Identities’ led by SevenGen Energy to a Hackathon orchestrated by KPMG, the Global Covenant of Mayors for People and Climate (GCoM), and Leaders Forum showcased diverse youth perspectives and solutions. Facilitators included Avery Johnstone and Jorn Verbeeck of KPMG, Lea Ranalder of UN-Habitat, and Danielle Kehler and Nathan Kaye of SevenGen Energy.

“As Student Energy’s flagship event,” said Helen Watts, Executive Director of Student Energy, “SES 2023 and the Leaders Forum provide young people with a unique opportunity to meet their peers from around the world, in person, and engage in hands-on learning and problem-solving. By building these critical innovation and collaboration skills, we hope that youth will return to their communities with a broadened global perspective that strengthens their climate action work.”

Recognizing the underrepresentation of African youth in international forums, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) was proud to sponsor SES and support a delegation of 40 aspiring leaders from priority countries across Africa. This sponsorship not only facilitated their attendance but also provided invaluable opportunities for growth, networking, and exposure within the energy sector. In a bid to continue fostering global youth empowerment, GEAPP is working towards launching various programs and interventions in 2024, aiming to support and mentor young leaders worldwide.

“Empowering youth is at the core of our mission” stated Wanjiru Wambugu, GEAPP’s Associate for Youth and Entrepreneurship. “We believe in providing avenues for knowledge enhancement, fostering critical networks, and amplifying exposure within our sector. SES 2023 was a prime example of channeling our commitment into action and it was amazing to see youth in action, creating their own spaces to support each other to meaningfully participate in the renewables sector. We are excited to take more significant steps forward in empowering youth to lead the change towards a sustainable future.”

A consistent highlight for delegates at past Summits, the Innovation Jam provides a space for delegates to collaborate on solving critical energy problems affecting their communities around the world. The Innovation Jam affords delegates with the preparation, mentorship, and a platform to pitch their ideas and engages all attendees – delegates, partners, and staff alike – in strategic planning to turn these ideas into a reality. This year, with $5,000 up for grabs, 5 teams made it to the final round of pitching and the winning solution was by the Youth for Sustainable Energy and Mobility team – an awareness and capacity-building campaign seeking to create a pipeline of youth innovations and leverage on the existing network of the e-mobility sector in Kenya to train youth and and provide avenues to nurture and develop their concepts.

Key takeaways from the Leaders Forum and Innovation Jam resonated with a call for increased youth leadership in city-level climate action, amplified support for youth-led climate solutions, and the pressing need for platforms fostering collaboration among young changemakers. The Student Energy Summit 2023 serves as a testament to the immense potential of youth-driven initiatives in shaping the future of energy.

SES 2023 has been a catalyst for global conversations, rallying the brightest minds and nurturing a shared commitment to drive change in the energy landscape. The next iteration of the Summit is planned for 2025.