‘Green Sheikh’ Comes to P.R. Promoting UAE Alliance
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, known worldwide as the “Green Sheikh,” is visiting Puerto Rico earlier this week to discover the socio-economic and cultural potential it possesses, as part of an ongoing global journey advocating the importance of changing oil-driven societies into ecologically conscientious countries.
Al Nuaimi, a member of one of the ruling Ajman families in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), arrived to the island earlier this week and will stay for seven days offering conferences and cultural exchanges primarily to students in the Interamerican University Bayamón campus, Metropolitan University in Cupey (in San Juan), University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez and the Polytechnic University in Hato Rey (San Juan).
“I’m here to explore… I’m bringing my heart and my mind to take this message to my country and to the people around the world that there are a lot of people in Puerto Rico that are looking for friendship, opportunities and infinite possibilities,” said the Green Sheikh last Monday during a press conference in the Sheraton Hotel & Casino in San Juan.
“The one [main] reason to come here is to have sustainable friendships; this will open up many opportunities for young people because we need real leaders who can come up front and make a difference,” said Sheikh Al Nuaimi, also noting the importance of empowering women as leaders and entrepreneurs to transform and improve the island’s status, especially during the current fiscal-economic downturn.
Putting into perspective the high dependence of oil, gas and petrochemical resources in the UAE, and standing as the world’s third largest crude oil exporter and fifth largest natural gas reserve, Sheikh Al Nuaimi mentioned an imperative alternative for energy production in Puerto Rico can be achieved through the investment of solar panels and the harnessing of wind into energy.
“We need experience, entrepreneurs, universities and successful people from the outside to come here [to Puerto Rico] and invest on waste so it can be converted into energy and money. There is no bulletproof solution but there are grand, collective solutions,” the Sheikh added.
Having a doctorate degree in Cleaner Production and Industrial Ecosystems, a masters in Environmental Sciences, a diploma in Military Sciences and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Sheikh Al Nuaimi told Caribbean Business that knowledge and ethics should be the base for every person and business in order to ensure social responsibility and awareness of the environment.
Present during the press conference was Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz, president of the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA); Rodrigo Mases, president of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA); Manuel Fernós, president of the Interamerican University and the Rector of the Inter-Bayamón campus, Juan F. Martínez; interim president of the UPR, Celeste Freytes González and the rector of UPR-Mayagüez, John F. Van Cleve; Rector of Metropolitan University, Carlos Padín; Carlos González, dean of the Engineering School in the Polytechnic University; economist Gustavo Vélez; and Yunus Fasasi, Imaan of the mosque in Vega Alta.
“As part of our survival as an industry [of construction and manufacturing], we need to start looking at what is happening in other countries so we can learn from them and have the opportunity to teach and showcase what Puerto Rico is for visitors,” said PRBA’s Álvarez-Díaz with regards to how Puerto Rico can benefit from creating ties with the UAE and learn to become substantially eco-dependent.