The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT and the Young Future Energy Leaders Program at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are jointly organizing a unique summer program that will train social entrepreneurs in starting and running small businesses to extend energy access and enhance sustainable development for rural communities. The course, “Compassionate Young Leaders Program on Energy Access, Ethics and Development”, will take place in August in both Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and in the city of Leh, the capital of the state of Ladakh; a mountainous state of Northwestern India with plentiful natural resources, but limited electricity infrastructure.
“The course is an exciting opportunity to blend knowledge and skills from a diverse group of students – coming from Abu Dhabi, India and the U.S – and to apply their efforts jointly to important challenges in energy and development,” explained Dr. Scott Kennedy, Dean of Research at Masdar Institute and the developer of the workshop. “Solutions to energy poverty that really work require much more than just the right technology. We need teams of bright, motivated and ethical entrepreneurs who want to apply solutions for the benefit of society; and aren’t afraid to try.”
The course will provide a hands-on introduction to sustainable development issues, off-grid energy technologies, and community-based business models, culminating in group projects that focus on expanding energy access for the local community. Half of the students will come from India, and half will start the course in the UAE and then travel to Leh. The cross-cultural exchange and opportunity for creating entrepreneurial teams with access to technical know-how, capital, and local knowledge will be a key outcome of the course. Trainers for the course will include experts from MIT and the Masdar Institute, as well as energy access practitioners with experience in starting small energy enterprises.