MSc student Maty Tall takes part in youth leaders climate change summit

Maty attended the Youth and Leaders summit at Sciences Po in Paris
Maty attended the Youth and Leaders summit at Sciences Po in Paris
Maty Tall, a first year student on the MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems, was among a handful of promising young leaders from around the globe selected to take part in the prestigious Youth and Leaders summit in Paris earlier this month.

The annual summit is organised by the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), to create a forum where young leaders can challenge “today’s leading international affairs personalities” on pressing global issues.

Maty was one of just three Mastercard Foundation Scholars (MCFS) selected from universities worldwide to participate in the summit on 20 January 2020. The University of Edinburgh is one of several institutions which participates in the MCFS Program, by providing full scholarships to a select cohort of students from sub-Saharan African countries on the basis of their potential for transformative leadership.

Climate change focus

The theme of this year’s summit, ‘Prospering in a Climate-Affected Society’, allowed participants to explore how global communities might overcome the current climate crisis to prosper both environmentally and economically.

During a series of panel debates and lunchtime discussions, Maty exchanged thoughts with fellow youth leaders and prominent actors from the world stage including the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, former Prime Minister of Italy, Enrico Letta, and senior representatives from a range of political, journalistic, academic and third sector organisations.

Energy systems expertise

Born in Senegal, Maty graduated from Arizona State University in 2019 with a BSc in Electrical Engineering focusing on energy systems and power.

While completing her degree, Maty pursued her interests in energy systems first as an intern with Cummins working on a hybrid power generator in rural Senegal, and later through a DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) Scholarship which enabled her to conduct research at the Institute of New Energy Systems of Ingolstadt, Germany. She came to the School of Engineering to study towards the MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems in autumn 2019.

Overcoming energy poverty

Maty’s choice of MSc at Edinburgh reflects her wider concern with energy poverty and climate adaptation. She is particularly passionate about developing a gendered approach to overcoming energy poverty, saying that “my vision is to design programs and products that approach these issues with women at the forefront of the process.

“Yes, societies around the world will have to learn to prosper in a climate change affected world, but vulnerable individuals i.e women will be the ones affected the most. Therefore, solutions designed to address these issues need to reflect their gendered aspect.”

Summit highlights

Asked about her summit highlights, Maty said “my highlight was not only meeting prominent leaders like Ban Ki-Moon and discussing my vision with them but also meeting like-minded youth, who are equally concerned about pressing issues such as climate change and how they affect those who are most vulnerable.

“It feels great knowing that you are not the only one who cares, any burden feels lighter when its weight is distributed.”

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Maty speaking to former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon
Maty speaking to former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon