Young people and teachers from across the globe set to take the stage at COP28 with their climate change solutions

By Pooja Verma Nov27,2023 #Education

Burjeel Holdings-Oxford Saïd Climate Change Challenge

From classrooms worldwide to refugee camps in Jordan, the Burjeel Holdings-Oxford Saïd Climate Change Challenge has galvanized the global community, in a remarkable display of unity, to tackle the climate crisis

Oxford/Abu Dhabi, November 27The Burjeel Holdings-Oxford Saïd Climate Change Challenge has announced the finalists of its worldwide competition, with entries from 43 countries. The young people and teachers, whose ideas to tackle climate change have been shortlisted, will attend an award ceremony at COP28 in Dubai next week, to find out who will win a place to study climate change at the University of Oxford.

The finalists distinguished themselves among more than 600 applications from across the world, demonstrating the passion felt by students and teachers globally, determined to tackle humanity’s greatest threat. The response makes it one of the biggest global competitions to help tackle the climate crisis, specifically targeting this community. The entries were reviewed by a judging panel made up of influential thought-leaders, founders, CEOs and global entrepreneurs. 

From piezoelectric crystals and artificial intelligence to entomopathogenic fungi to heterotrophs, the student finalists have embraced innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges brought about by climate change. They will be presenting their solutions and lesson plans to judges in Abu Dhabi next week, ahead of the award ceremony at COP28.

Professor Soumitra Dutta, Dean of Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, said: ‘The diverse range of applications from more than 40 countries, including entries from refugee camps, highlights the intense interest among school students and educators in tackling climate change. It also reaffirms the competition’s role as a catalyst for driving innovative solutions, and giving young people agency in tackling the greatest challenge of our age. We should all be inspired by the finalists’ entries and I look forward to the culmination of this challenge on stage at COP28.’

The student finalists are:

  • – ECO₂ – Gayathri, Trisha, Unnimaya, Elvina and Nischala from Gems Our Own English School; Dubai, UAE 
  • – Lightning McQueens – Zosia, Hania, Maja and Matylda from American School of Warsaw; Poland 
  • – Ecotelligent – Ammar, Grace, Ninar, Rina and Zainab from Latakia, Syria. The team attends Teens In AI
  • – Acquifier Guardians – Aniba, Anika, Jasreen, Naina and Sonali from Ryan International School; New Delhi, India
  • – Entofarm – Junhyeok, Gregory, Aiden, Dowon and Jihan, students of Phillips Exeter
  • Academy; they are variously based in USA, South Korea and Indonesia

Teacher entries were received from an equally diverse set of locations. The lesson plans put forward reflect a high quality of teaching about climate change and strong desire to imbue their students with a sense of purpose, in having a positive impact on the Earth’s future.

The teacher finalists are:

  • – Dr. Frithi Francis from Cambridge High School; Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • – Lucas Olscamp from Pearson College UWC (United World College); Metchosin, Canada
  • – Michael Jones from Northfleet Technology College; Northfleet, UK 
  • – Roudaina Kassam from Rashaya Public High School; Rashaya, Lebanon
  • – Laxmidevi Upadhyay from Udayachal High School; Mumbai, India

Juliane Reinecke, Professor of Management Studies, Oxford Saïd, will be a judge at the finals and is the academic lead for the specially curated climate change course the winners will be invited to attend in Oxford next summer. She said: ‘What sets this competition apart is how it empowers young people living with the harsh reality of climate-related challenges. Notably, the competition’s entries emphasize the importance of local community-driven solutions. I’m so encouraged by the quality of solutions put forward and cannot wait to meet the young people who came up with them.’

The challenge culminates in a Climate Change Symposium: Champions of Change Panel at COP28 on Saturday 2nd December, where the winners will be announced.

For interviews with finalists, images, or interviews, please contact anshul.sharma@sbs.ox.ac.uk

List of countries from which entries were received: Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, India, Armenia, Fiji, Canada, Romania, China, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Senegal, Moldova, Uganda, Serbia, Italy, UAE, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Egypt, USA, Refugee Camps (Jordan), Kenya, Lebanon, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, Singapore, Greece, Ecuador, Albania, Turkey, Australia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Philippines and Argentina.

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