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Posted on on November 21st, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

The title may look strange, and indeed nobody put the three meetings I attended Friday, November 20, 2009, in direct contact with each other – but then my imagination was busy telling me – what if those people would indeed sit in the same room and plan together for a better functioning world?

First – the Solar Tower Technology:

An experimental smaller tower I saw years ago in Israel, but in the 1980s a German firm built a 50 kw prototype tower in Spain and operated it for 8 years collecting data. That tower was 650 feet tall and 33 feet wide, and the collector was about 1000 feet wide. The technology combines wind and solar technologies to produce electricity without emissions, without using up water, and at a price competitive with fossil fuels. The Solar Tower uses solar insolation and radiation to heat air beneath a large translucent collector (greenhouse) that creates a constant flow of air to drive electricity-generating turbines. The turbines are located at the base of the tower in a shape like an orange cut in a half. There is an updraft of air in the tower. There is also a capability to store heat so the system works also at night and electricity is delivered 24/7.
For more information look please at –

A 200MV Tower is planned for the Mohave desert in Arizona. The tower will reach 2400 feet height and the inside temperature will be 180 degrees. The location was picked so that it will supply electricity to a market in California.

The information was presented by Mr. Christopher Davey, President, EnviroMission (USA), Inc. and hosted by Mark Townsend Cox, Managing Partner of New Energy Fund with further backing from Raymond James & Associates, Inc., members of the New York Stock Exchange.


Second – the financial meeting was billed as The Middle East Leaders Forum 2009 and was hosted by DLA Piper a law firm with pan-Gulf presence  I was organized with the help of Edgar Perez, CEO of Golden Networking who chaired the event. DLA has 3,500 lawyers in 29 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, the US, South Asia, and Asia in general.

The panels dealt with –
Evolution of Capital Markets in the Middle East;
Alternative Approaches for Private Equity Investing in the Gulf;
Tapping into the World’s Richest Sovereign Wealth Funds;
Retaining Talent and Focusing Teams in the Middle East.

The speakers ranged from the Thompson Reuters Head of Islamic Finance to various International Investment Groups – management and strategy heads. What I came away with is the clear understanding that there is a lot of private money out there – even if much of it is held by individuals in the name of Sovereign entities. This money will not want to buy US treasuries. Places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar – the smaller members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – have turned into Financial Centers and one of the speakers called the GCC the biggest bank in the world. Sure, there was a lot of talk of outside investments potential in the GCC States, also about income from oil, but now the ruling families are rather interested in being seen as investors and manager of finances then oil producers. So, here is my angle – why not invest in the technologies of the future – like the Solar Tower I mentioned above? There is also the angle of Islamic Finances that do not have as a target gains from interest – so why not turn this into investments instead?

There is a lot of sun in the desert, but no water – so these towers could do a lot of good for the development of the GCC region itself. They could also invest in the production of electricity in Sahara and sell it in Europe. Cables will be the new energy pipelines. They could start by participating already in the first development of the technology in Arizona. This could also improve the image of states that seem to be pushing only for sales of oil – something they can start being less dependent on because of their new standing as financial centers. The technology could also be related to desalination projects …

Third – the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation that since 1973 facilitates cultural exchange programs that promote mutual understanding and peace. The foundation brings volunteers and NGOs for meaningful exchanges that also focus on sustainable development. These are the people that could through example facilitate thinking that there is a common good in helping bring about change when change is needed – and today doing something about decreasing a potential runaway of climate change is the order of the day. Patrick Sciarratta, is the Executive Director of the Ambassadors – they could try to promote a common ground between those that have the money they could use to work out needed answers to the stalled Copenhagen process, and the technology people that have the know-how.

One not so trivia I learned about the Friendship Ambassadors last evening was the fact that among the many young people they brought from the Developing world to the United States were Kofi Annan and Shashi Tharoor, when they were still young students – they later became among the most successful, low key, public servants in UN history. Kofi Annan as perhaps the only other Secretary General, besides Dag Hammarskjold, that left a positive imprint on the organization, and Shashi Tharoor, author of many books of thought, the highest intellectual Under-Secretary General in charge of Communications, who tried to be Annan’s successor, but was seemingly too much for the G.W. Bush Administration for that job. I mention this here as it seems that this youth-Ambassador NGO, that was funded originally from the Readers Digest fortune, has indeed had the penchant of picking right people – specially among the young – to promote global understanding for right causes.

My conclusions for the day – there is hope if the right people will provide the links between the different elements that are in place already, rather then allow these elements to fester in their solitude and pursue a detrimental future unconnected.

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One Response to “Technologies, as in Australia’s EnviroMission Solar Tower, Finances as in Islamic Finances and the exchanges in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, and people of goodwill as in Friendship Ambassadors – all in half a day’s work – there is indeed unconventional hope out there.”

  1. Mark Says:

    Great reporting Pincas, I understand Enviromission has been looking for a Project in UAE. All the best from Australia

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