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The inaugural event took place Nov. 17 in Nablus, West Bank and was attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, officials from the Palestinian Energy Authority and representatives from both partner universities.
“Together, ASU and An-Najah National University will develop comprehensive and implementable renewable energy strategies that not only address our regional energy challenges, but will also impact the global energy arena,” said Sayfe Kiaei, director of Connection One and professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, within ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“The objective of this course is to develop a comprehensive training program on renewable energy,” Kiaei said. “The participants included representatives from energy industry, utility companies, policymakers and energy sectors. After a one-week successful training program at An-Najah, there will be a one-week course at ASU.
"We look forward to continued collaboration and international transfer of knowledge between the two universities,” added Kiaei, who was joined by Ron Roedel, ASU emeritus professor of electrical engineering; Stephen Feinson, assistant vice president of ASU Global Engagement; Mike Pasqualetti, professor in ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning; and Jessica Cheng, a project manager at ASU.
The training program is funded by LightWorks, an ASU initiative that unites resources and researchers across ASU to confront global energy challenges.
During the commencement speech, Prime Minister Hamdallah said Palestine has reached an important milestone in the advancement of the energy sector, and assured that it meets the increasing needs of the Palestinian people and reduces the need to buy electric power from Israel. This milestone is thanks to the complementary roles between the public and private sectors and to the support of friendly states.
The Deputy President for International and Strategic Affairs at An-Najah National University, Kherieh Rassas, said the Renewable Energy Leadership Training Program is the culmination of more than two years’ work emphasizing the importance of the development of renewable energy resources in order to improve community and environmental objectives in Palestine.
“We are optimistic, for as soon as the project is completed, it will have marked the establishment of a clearer strategic path for improving access to renewable energy resources, and this is what will also help in the development of an independent electricity supply in Palestine,” Rassas said.
Palestinian officials will meet again in 2014 at ASU to continue the training program and discuss energy conditions, issues, policies and programs in both regions.
To learn more about the Renewable Energy Leadership Training Program, visit najah.edu/ren-leaders/about.