Rising Tide: Student Energy to Host Panel at UN SE4ALL Forum

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On Tuesday, May 19th, Student Energy will be speaking at the UN’s prestigious SE4ALL Forum in New York City. This is the second year that Student Energy has been invited to participate in this prestigious forum and we will be hosting a dynamic panel session called “Rising Tide: Harnessing the Power of Youth”.


The inaugural SE4ALL Forum launched in June 2014 to kick off the “Decade of Sustainable Energy for All” for the United Nations. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative brings together top-level leadership from all sectors of society – governments, business and civil society, working towards three distinct goals:

  1. Providing universal access to modern energy services;
  2. Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and
  3. Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Our “Rising Tide” session will feature three youth panelists, including two Zayed Future Energy Prize winners, who are making a direct impact on our global energy system. We are also thrilled to have remarks from the UN’s Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi on the importance of youth engagement to all UN Activities. The panel will be hosted by Student Energy Co-founder Sean Collins.

The stories and projects you’ll hear about in this session include:

  • Dikirani Thaulo – Zayed Solar Academy in Malawi
    • Dikirani Thaulo is a teacher trainee at the Zayed Solar Academy, located in rural northern Malawi. The Academy trains solar technicians in the design, installation, maintenance and repair of PV home systems appropriate to the surrounding local villages as well as larger systems. He is being trained as TEVETA solar teacher for the Central Region of Malawi.  He received his solar training at the Zayed Solar Academy  and at Mzuzu University in the Renewable Energy Department. Prior to joining Zayed Solar Academy, he worked as a field assistant on Climate Change Mapping Project sponsored by National Geographic. His future ambition in addition to teaching, is to design and develop new renewable energy technology appropriate for use in rural villages in Malawi. Dikirani Thaulo was raised by a single mother in Nkhundi village, he was the first in his village to attend secondary school. He is 21 years old. 
  • Alan Burchell – Founder of urbanstrong
    • A professionally licensed mechanical engineer, Alan Burchell is also an accredited leader in energy and environmental design with a focus on Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C), and a certified Green Roof Professional.  For the past ten years he has worked for diverse, global organizations, including wind turbine manufacturer, Gamesa Wind.  Alan has experience in over 50 countries and all seven continents, including Antarctica where he studied first-hand the effects of climate change, as part of an elite expedition team of worldwide industry experts. During the Earth Institute’s Masters of Science in Sustainability Management program at Columbia University, Alan focused on water and energy issues in urban centers.  After graduation, he founded urbanstrong, a project management company with the mission of improving the quality of life in our cities. In demand as a speaker on environmental issues, Alan has served as an expert trial witness and regularly lectures at K-12 schools.
  • Ruby Wynn Williams – Melbourne Girls College
    • Ruby Wynn-Williams is the 2015 Environment Captain at Melbourne Girls’ College, where she oversees a team of 52 students. Ruby has championed environmental projects for over a decade as part of the MGC environment team and Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and prior to that in her primary school in Christchurch, New Zealand where she first developed a passion for environmental activism. Ruby participates in many youth United Nations conferences and debates with focuses on international relations and global issues. She is a passionate environmentalist and is committed to making positive change in whatever career path she chooses.

We are also fortunate enough to have the folks from the Zayed Future Energy Prize share with us why Ruby and Dikirani’s projects were selected to win their prestigious prize, as well as some additional information about these great projects.

Melbourne Girls’ College

Melbourne Girls’ College are the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize winner in the Global High Schools category for the Oceania region. The Victorian school received funding for its proposal to build a curriculum-integrated renewable energy education centre - with the aim of becoming carbon-neutral by 2020. With their project, the students of Melbourne Girl’s College aim to generate 45 per cent of the schools energy needs through renewables.

Nkhata Bay School Authority

In 2014, Nkhata Bay School Authority won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Global High Schools category for the Africa region. Their prize winning project comprises the Zayed Solar Academy and the Zayed Energy and Ecology Centre. The Zayed Solar Academy trains students as rural solar engineers, while the Zayed Energy and Ecology Centre demonstrates practical applications of solar energy within the community.

If you are interested to learn more or attend, check out We hope to see you all next week in New York!