- Conference saw students engage in MUN-style debates based on COP28’s themes
- Resolutions drafted by pupils during event to be presented to delegates at COP28
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: More than 250 students from 35 GEMS Education schools across the UAE gathered at GEMS Founders School – Dubai (GFS) to take part in the GEMS Road to COP28 Conference. The full-day event, led entirely by students, acted as a platform for debates, interactive sessions, and an immersive COP simulation, all centred around the COP28 agenda.
With a focus on nurturing an understanding of green entrepreneurship, the conference activities were aligned to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To provide a comprehensive experience to students, a total of seven committees were created based on the seven themes of the conference, including Health and Peace, Nature and Oceans, Food and Water Systems, Energy Transition and Industry Trade, Youth and Education, Finance and Gender Equality, Urbanisation, and Transport.
Fourteen-year-old GFS student Aliza Siddiqui, the founder and lead organiser of the conference, said: “The GEMS Road to COP28 Conference empowers our students with the knowledge and skills required to actively engage in the global decisions made on environmental issues. It provides a platform for our students to explore the intersection of entrepreneurship and the environment, fostering leadership and creating valuable learning experiences.
“All within a COP28 simulation, the initiative has successfully cultivated a collective sense of responsibility among our peers, motivating them to shape the world through key diplomacy and innovation. Having hosted 22 Sustainable Showcase Schools, with leading companies invited to share their expertise on the green economy, the conference has served as a reminder of the importance of youth involvement in addressing our climate crisis.”
The GEMS Founders cluster of schools played a pivotal role in steering the committee sessions, educating students on their chosen themes, and facilitating the creation of impactful resolution papers, which were instrumental in driving the event’s success.
Mathew Burfield, Senior Vice President – Education at GEMS Education and Executive Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Dubai, said: “We are so proud that our students have engaged in sustainability and the learning we provide, and that they took the initiative to create their very own event. This is a student-initiated and student-led conference bringing together children from across GEMS Education that will continue to build towards COP28.”
The conference on 4 November featured two main zones. The Green Economy & School Showcase saw companies including Jacobs, Choithrams, and Menorah as well as 21 schools presenting their SDG-focused solutions. Projects ranged from laptop-charging bicycles to solar-panelled water dispensers for schools.
The ‘THIMUN Style MUN’ component of the event, meanwhile, mirrored the COP28 themes, with passionate student committees debating the topics and crafting impactful resolutions.
The committee focused on Energy Transition and Industry Trade, for example, made numerous recommendations in its resolution, including encouraging ‘all Member States to become members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’, implementing ‘a higher tax to impose on corporations utilising fossil-fuel-based energy sources to drive their shift towards clean energy sources’, and encouraging ‘domestic business transitions to renewable energy with local subsidies on their energy consumption’.
Click here to view the resolutions drafted by students during the conference.
To further amplify these voices of emerging changemakers, the resolution papers will next be submitted to GEMS’ COP28 student representatives, who will in turn present them at the Green Zone at COP28 itself.
About GEMS Education
GEMS Education is one of the world’s oldest and largest K-12 private education providers. It is a highly regarded choice for quality private education in the Middle East and North Africa region. As a company founded in the UAE in 1959, it holds an unparalleled track record of providing diverse curricula and educational choices to all socio-economic means. GEMS Education now owns and operates 63 schools and educates over 130,000 students in the MENA region; and through its growing network of schools as well as charitable contributions is fulfilling the founder’s vision of putting a quality education within the reach of every child.
For further information about GEMS Education, visit www.gemseducation.com or contact:
- Mina Kiwan
- Senior Account Director
- Memac Ogilvy