How CSCLeaders for Students inspired me to make a difference

by Christine Souffrant

In April 2014, 80 students from around the world convened for the CSCLeaders for students programme in Dubai to discuss the challenge for 2014-15: 'What makes a city smart?'

As a participant, I learned about the growing complexities faced in ensuring sustainable ecosystems. I found that the core challenge and solution to the problem was creating efficient innovative cities and explored the smart city movement that was occurring in countries around the world.

As students we discussed, we debated and we innovated different ways for tackling the challenge in creating a smart city. Helped by the mentorship of representatives from 20 companies across Dubai, within just 24 hours we had generated some innovative solutions.

It was then that I asked myself - what would happen if we extended this conversation outside of CSCLeaders? What impact would we have if we turned these conversations into ideas and these ideas into official commitment to actions across Dubai and around the world?

Christine Souffrant Dubai

That's when I thought of Smart City Weekend - an initiative that brings together industry leaders, governments and students to incubate ideas that can generate impact.

The collective insight at these weekend events can transform lives and accelerate progress for all global smart city initiatives.

The inaugural Smart City Weekend movement starts 31 May, 2014 in Dubai. For the next 5 years we will initiate two Smart City Weekend events per year across the UAE (10 in total) as we countdown to Dubai Expo2020. After this, we will expand globally to ignite incubation events around the world.

I hope years from now industry leaders, governments and students who join this movement can look back on Smart City Weekend events as moments of inspiration, innovation and impact. This is the vision we have for this initiative and we welcome our world leaders to join our commitment in ensuring smart city futures.

Find out more about CSCLeaders for students

Smart City Weekend

About the Author: Christine Souffrant is an aspiring Haitian American entrepreneur with 7 years of business management experience, 6 years of international study in over 26 countries, and 2 years of banking & finance expertise. Christine is a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar and a graduate of Dartmouth College. In 2013 she decided to take a leap of faith and exit Corporate America to pursue a Masters at Hult International Business School in Dubai focusing on Social Entrepreneurship. Within 7 months she has acquired several influential hats including: being Managing Director of Startup Grind Dubai, a member of the Leadership Circle of Jumeirah and Rotary's Rotaract Club, and the CEO & Founder of Vended International, a social enterprise that is now a 2014 Poverty Alleviation Commitment to Action under the Clinton Global Initiative network.

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CSCLeaders is the renewal of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences - first run in 1956 – for the 21st Century, a partnership between international leadership development organisation Common Purpose and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences (UK Fund).

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