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AUS student to represent UAE in global climate action at COP28
A passion for climate change advocacy has seen American University of Sharjah (AUS) student Manal Nadeem, selected to represent the UAE at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 as part of the UAE Youth Climate Delegate Program (YCDP).
The YCDP, launched by the UAE Federal Youth Authority (FYA) in partnership with the Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, aims to increase youth participation in the multilateral climate process. The program embeds them in the UAE's negotiations and partnerships teams at COP and engages them in public and private sector initiatives, to enhance upskilling and create awareness of the UAE's climate action track record.
COP28 refers to the 28th session of the Conference of Parties, a global meeting of countries to discuss climate change and take action.
A second-year international studies student at AUS, Nadeem’s passion for climate change advocacy was ignited when she became an Orwell Youth Fellow in November 2020. One of the highlights of her fellowship was writing and designing a 50-page magazine on climate change, which opened her eyes to the diverse ways people from all backgrounds and fields can participate in climate action.
“I had always thought of climate change as a scientific and environmental issue that was too complicated for me to understand, let alone attempt to solve. However, approaching climate change from a creative angle opened my eyes to the myriad of ways in which everyone, regardless of background and field, can and should get involved in climate action,” said Nadeem.
Her AUS studies have also helped fuel her passion for climate change issues. She took a course in Oil and Energy in the Contemporary World, which sparked her interest in the intersection between climate change and international studies. Additionally, AUS Sustainability’s event AUS Insights on COP27 motivated her to apply for the UAE YCDP.
“I committed myself to crafting the best application I could. What started as late-night drafts on my phone turned into a 1000-word application. I channeled my genuine interest into the application, and spoke about my climate engagement in the past, the intersections I had observed between the climate cause and my academic field of international affairs and how I hoped to utilize this role to equip youth like me to engage in climate conversations,” added Nadeem.
Nadeem is thrilled to be part of this global climate action and looks forward to representing the UAE as a Youth Climate Delegate. As part of the YCDP, she aims to empower and equip other young people like her to engage in climate conversations confidently and critically. She hopes to bridge the generational gap between climate change decision-makers and stakeholders.
She said: “It is an honor to be part of the UAE YCDP. This role will give me insight into the role that diplomacy and negotiation play in helping the world accomplish its climate goals. I am grateful to AUS for contributing to my journey and to the YCDP for this opportunity to make a difference in the fight against climate change.”
In addition to her studies, Nadeem also holds the position of Co-Director of Research at the Higher Education Climate Dialogues (HECD), a student-led climate conference at AUS taking place on March 21, 2023. The conference will see students from universities across the UAE come together to exchange the best sustainability practices through panel discussions, a Youth Climate Negotiation Simulation in partnership with Masdar's Youth 4 Sustainability initiative and Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, a research exhibition and a circular economy competition for aspiring entrepreneurs, in partnership with dnata.
Nadeem's selection for the UAE Youth Climate Delegate Program is a testament to AUS' firm commitment to sustainability and the empowerment of young leaders to drive meaningful change towards a sustainable future. As part of the COP28 University Taskforce, AUS representatives will have the opportunity to participate in key climate change debates and shape the global conversation around sustainability.
The Department of International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences provides an ideal vantage point for students to engage in multidisciplinary approaches to understand the complex political, economic, social and cultural conditions in the region and beyond. Its mission is to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world and to become responsible, active global citizens. For more information on the program, visit www.aus.edu/cas/bais.