Innovating for Impact – Six ALA students participate in the GALESS 2023 Energy Transition Challenge

True to our purpose, we connect our young leaders to opportunities that upskill and empower them. The Global Alliance of Leading Edge Schools for Sustainability (GALESS) is another such opportunity. Six students from the African Leadership are participating in this year’s GALESS challenge focusing on the critical energy transition agenda. The transition towards alternative energy is radically changing energy relations between countries. Where oil and natural gas still dominate international energy policies, solar and wind energy are increasingly setting the tone.

The geographical and technical characteristics of alternative energy systems are fundamentally different from those of fossil fuels. Renewed sources are widespread and diverse. Energy production by means of sun or wind lends itself to decentralized generation and uses scarce materials; the distribution, after all, is mainly electrical and this entails long-distance losses and strict operational requirements.

The sources of coal, oil and natural gas, on the other hand, are geographically concentrated and finite, energy production is large-scale, storage is easy, and their distribution around the world is relatively simple. These differences bring with them both new opportunities as well as challenges for energy security and energy relations. Our students are working with the faculty team on campus to innovate on the most feasible means to deploy renewable energy solutions in this GALESS challenge.

This dynamic learning event enables high school students, ages 16 – 19, from all over the world to engage in research studies surrounding topics that are especially focused on the theme of sustainability in five different research areas. The aim of the TiltShift challenge is ‘to bring together young students in a meeting of hearts and minds, plant seeds of friendship and dialogue, instill in them an awareness of issues facing humanity across the continents and empower them towards impactful action within their community’.

Over the last decade, more than 200 research–contributions were made. That is more than 200 teams of young, forward-thinking leaders who come together to study and provide solutions to matters that surrounding themes for a sustainable future all over the world. These contributions give direction to a sustainable society with intended impact on local communities.

We are very proud of the ALA students who have teamed up to etch their ideas and research on this platform. Ela BenSaad, Ngaatendwe Kodogo, and Tanatsiwa Dube are representing us in the USA leg of the challenge; while Fabris Mulindi, Samantha Magowo, and Adem Ezzedini are representing us in Poland. The former team will be competing online, and the latter will attend the June conference in Rybnik, Poland. The teams have been superbly supported by faculty members Ms. Efua Adabe, Mr. Phenyo Tshwantsho, and Mr. Keshav Signh, as they do research on the energy system of their chosen country of research. They are mandated to propose a plan for transitioning, with many considerations made on the challenges that they might face and how they could be mitigated.

GALESS provides an empowering platform, with the mission to ‘nurture young students who feel proud, included and competent in contributing towards global issues, through scientific and social sciences research, evidence–based practice and ethical thinking, by way of taking part in international conferences convened by GALESS’. This is in perfect alignment
with the purport observed by our network and the Academy.

In the current time where we are living in a pressing need for new solutions to sustainable energy, the research that is conducted by the students is apt for its time. Through the process of contemplation, research and creativity, these
young leaders will have access to an international conference planned with a host school with support and practical assistance from the GALESS team; a quality framework for sustainable student research projects at the school level; and an international jury consisting of professionals, dedicated to different research areas.

We are thrilled to have access to a platform that encourages connections across the globe. Through these thoughtful connections, young leaders get to address key issues that they’d have to consider for their future endeavors. We are happy to be nurturing the future minds who will spearhead the topic of energy transit across Africa. AL for Infrastructure wishes the two GALESS ALA teams all the best as they prepare for this outstanding feat.

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