UC Davis to Help Young Africans Tackling Energy Challenges

A man beside a tree lectures to onlooking fellows.
Fellows learn how to measure tree carbon on a field trip to Lake Tahoe during the 2016 institute. (Julia Ann Easley/UC Davis photo)

The University of California, Davis, has been selected to host the second energy institute for young African leaders who are tackling energy challenges in their countries.

Considered the most sustainable university in the world, UC Davis will offer “Sustainably Extending Energy Services: A Stakeholders Approach” for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship of the U.S. government’s Young African Leaders Initiative.

Last year, UC Davis pioneered the fellowship’s first energy-themed institute for 25 participants from sub-Saharan Africa, where — according to the U.S. Agency for International Development — two out of three people lack access to electricity.

The campus is among 38 colleges and universities that will welcome a total of about 1,000 fellows for six-week summer programs in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management. The selection of the hosts was recently announced by the U.S. State Department and IREX, the international nonprofit that administers the fellowship program.

Fellows will be chosen through a competitive process this spring; last year, more than 40,000 applied. Successful applicants will have already promoted innovation and accomplished positive change at home and make a commitment to apply what they learn to benefit their community or country.

UC Davis is a ‘living lab’

The UC Davis institute, organized by Global Affairs, will be within the public management track and will be held June 17 through July 29. Fellows will gain skills around the design, evaluation and viability of clean energy projects; approaches to the integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies; and an understanding of innovative policy, regulatory and entrepreneurial approaches to energy projection and distribution.

On campus, fellows will experience a living lab featuring commercially viable projects in advanced energy efficiency technologies, consumer behavior and demand reduction, as well as generation from renewable resources to displace fossil fuels.

Ranked first in the world for sustainability by the GreenMetric World University Ranking, the campus is home to West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero-net energy community; the Honda Smart Home, showcasing technologies that enable zero-net energy living; and the largest solar power plant at an American university.

Includes field trips and guest lectures

Seminars and lectures will draw on the expertise of faculty from a broad range of disciplines and some dozen UC Davis institutes and research centers — including the Energy Efficiency Center, which accelerates the development and commercialization of integrated energy efficiency solutions.

Field trips and guest lectures will expose the fellows to key energy organizations and leaders focused on energy systems in California and beyond.

Peter Hartsough, an assistant project scientist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, is academic director of the institute; Jennie Konsella-Norene, an international funding analyst in Global Affairs, is its administrative director.

Media Resources

Peter Hartsough, UC Davis Land, Air and Water Resources, 530-752-1210, phartsough@ucdavis.edu

Jennie Konsella-Norene, UC Davis Global Affairs, 530-754-9403, jknorene@ucdavis.edu

Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

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