OPEC Vienna Energy Scholar Programme
WU student Lisney Fernando participated in the first week of the OPEC Vienna Energy Scholar Programme. The program was organized for the first time and included representatives of the City of Vienna, Wien Energie and OPEC. In an interview, Lisney tells us about her experiences and the insights she gained.
International Office: Lisney, you participated in the OPEC Vienna Energy Scholar Programme (VESP). How did you learn about it and what made you apply for it?
I found out about the OPEC Vienna Energy Scholar Programe on your Instagram page @wuinternationaloffice. I participated in a similar program in the United States a few years ago when I was 18 years old, which was an enriching experience on many levels.
Due to the pandemic, I did not have the opportunity to engage myself in international programs. That's why the decision to apply for the program was easy.
However, the main reason why I applied for the VESP was the urge to break out of my own comfort zone and to broaden my knowledge in this energy subject. Before, I didn't know much about the oil industry.
International Office: The first week of the program is over. What did you take home from the event in terms of content? Which role did topics such as sustainability and the energy transition play?
We had an intensive program week with different activities like a visit to the OPEC Fund, a cocktail reception with Michael Ludwig (Mayor and Governor of Vienna), lectures, group work, and debates. There were also exciting discussions with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BMEIA), Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT), City of Vienna and Wien Energie.
The topics of sustainability and energy transition played an enormously important role during the program. For example, on the second day of the week we had an "Energy Debate" where we had to research in groups on the topic of Energy Transition and later had to represent different viewpoints which were assigned to us.
I was not too familiar with the complexity of the Energy Transition before the start of the program week and before the research - especially that e.g. SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Enerngy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) can be contradicting in some cases
International Office: What do you expect from the second week of the program?
The second week we will travel - if the current COVID-19 situation allows it - to one of the thirteen OPEC member states. I hope to learn more about the work of OPEC and the oil industry from a different perspective and I am very much looking forward to the intercultural exchange in the respective country.
International Office: What is your first impression of the OPEC Vienna Energy Scholar Programme? Do you plan to further internationalize your studies?
I had an exciting first week at the Vienna Energy Scholar Programme! Special thanks go to OPEC, who gave us this amazing opportunity, and to the other delegates. Each one of my colleagues had a different academic and professional background, which made the week very exciting and enriching on many levels! I was able to gain a lot of knowledge and make new connections.
After my studies at WU Vienna, I will definitely pursue an international master's degree
Photos: © OPEC / © OPEC FUND (Abdullah Alipour Jeddi)