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  • Writer's pictureMARCUS AYOUB

YSA Founder Marcus Ayoub Speaks at COP28 alongside CEO Martin Weslaar and Mubadala Partners

On December 3rd, 2023, I had the honor of representing our collective vision at the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference. A fireside chat that brought together minds from different realms—there, I stood beside Martin Wetselaar, CEO of CEPSA, a leading Spanish multinational oil and gas company, as well as dedicated employees from Mubadala and TAQA.

In the panel titled, "Igniting the Youth Energy Transition," the conversation delved into CEPSA's green initiatives, focusing on hydrogen and biofuels, and explored the company's efforts in cultivating and attracting young talent. The panel, inclusive of representatives of different generations, posed questions to Wetselaar, covering topics such as the gender gap in the energy sector, the role of youth-led initiatives, the diverse paths to driving the energy transition, and the mannerisms in which the youth can integrate their diverse skill sets as seen with YSA. 

This moment was not just about dialogue; it was about the convergence of diverse perspectives, a testament to the power of collaboration across generations. On that stage, we were not just representatives; we were advocates for change, striving to champion a sustainable future. The Youth Sustainability Alliance had a seat at the table, proving that the youth can and will play a pivotal role in shaping the course of history, thereby making it crucial that I had left the audience with something to remember. During the round-robin segment, I was asked a multitude of interesting questions by our respective moderator, but one that stood out to me was the final question, what my call to action for the youth was. I responded with 4 things: Educate yourself about the importance of the renewable energy sector, foster collaboration, recognize your individual crucial role in the energy transition, and finally, let your vulnerability be your call to action. Being on the panel with the renowned CEO of CEPSA, was eye opening, it showed the true capability of our youth, and a memorable remark he made was, ‘if you don’t break the rules, the world does not learn from you’. It’s difficult to say that our generation and subsequent generations will be present to experience the beauties of a sustained Earth. I emphasized to the audience that I broke the rules because of my vulnerability. I broke the rules to lay a foundation for those who have the desire to initiate change, but are hesitant in doing so. With limited time to avert irreversible detriments of unsustainable industries, the Youth Sustainability Alliance strives to prepare the youth for an uncertain future, recognizing that the future is no longer guaranteed to be built for us, and it is up to us to build each other for the future.

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