Global Campus Alumni Together for Climate Justice and the Right of Future Generations - a remarkable gathering in Athens

As part of the growing emphasis of the Global Campus of Human Rights on the value of its alumni network, the Global Campus Alumni (GCA) recently organised their largest three-day event in years in Athens, Greece. This gathering followed the participation of a "taskforce" consisting of seven alumni from each GC region in the 2023 High-Level Conference in Venice. Subsequently, they planned a year-long alumni programme focusing on climate justice and the rights of future generations. Despite its small size, the taskforce has successfully engaged with over 50 alumni from around the globe, who have been actively involved in various on-the-ground activities. The majority of these alumni attended the conference hosted by Panteion University, a longstanding member of the Global Campus. The event provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the progress of the alumni and to expand their voluntary efforts.

(Global Campus Alumni engaging in debate, credits: Dina Botsa)

Showcasing alumni projects and initiatives

Alumni have tailored their activities to the priorities and characteristics of each region. It's challenging to capture the breadth and specificity of these activities, but we'll attempt to summarise:

1) Alumni from the Arab World focused on mapping climate justice actors in the MENA region.

2) African alumni concentrated on establishing a research and advocacy hub in Africa, starting with a podcast series on children’s rights and climate justice.

3) Latin American alumni prioritised climate justice education in schools.

4) Asia Pacific alumni worked on mapping capacity and resources, as well as developing child-friendly educational materials.

4) Europe alumni conducted country-specific mapping and initiated a 'campaign for beginners'.

5) Alumni from South East Europe tackled disinformation about the climate crisis in the Balkan region and launched the Voices for Tomorrow lecture series.

6) Caucasus alumni presented a diverse range of activities, including a photography exhibition, creative games, and discussions on specific challenges faced by the Post-Soviet region regarding climate justice.

(Global Campus Alumni at Ministry of Digital Transition of Greece, credits: Dina Botsa)

Fostering collaborations and connections across regions

In addition to addressing climate justice and the rights of future generations, the event provided a platform for alumni to network and share insights. A key feature of the conference was the unique chance for the seven leaders of regional alumni associations to convene, exchange best practices, and strengthen the global identity of GCA. 

(Global Campus Alumni at Municipality of Athens, credits: Hazem Mizyed)

Engaging with the Greek scene

Participants not only had the opportunity to connect with each other but also engage with inspiring Greek representatives leading the climate justice movement. Professors Daniella Marouda (GC Europe national director) and Vasiliki Karagiorgou (both from Panteion University), along with MEP Petros Kokkalis from the Green Party, shared insights into strategic litigations and socio-economic complexities surrounding climate justice. Additionally, contributions from individuals such as filmmakers Dimitris Kourtis and Stratis Vogiatzis, Deputy Ombudsman Theoni Koufonikolakou, and representatives from Climate Justice Camp and Scientist Rebellion enriched discussions on climate activism and societal change.

Alumni also delved into the local Greek context, exploring initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change. Visits to the municipality of Athens and the National Observatory of Athens provided firsthand insights into climate governance and adaptation strategies, highlighting the significance of local action in addressing global challenges. Nikos Chrysogelos, Deputy Mayor of Athens for Climate Governance Social Economy, welcomed the GC Alumni to the Municipality of Athens, shedding light on the city's struggles with climate justice and socio-economic challenges faced by young people. Dr. Christos Giannakopoulos, Research Director at the National Observatory of Athens and IPCC National Focal Point for Greece, not only showcased the facilities and museum of the National Observatory but also delivered a compelling lecture on the impact of climate change on people of various age groups and geographical locations. He emphasised the urgent need for a swift response and advocated for the rights of future generations.

(Representatives of GCA with Nikos Chrysogelos, Deputy Mayor of Athens for Climate Governance Social Economy, credits: Dina Botsa)

Way forward

As the conference concluded, participants reflected on the transformative ideas and connections forged during the event. Each presentation, whether focused on education initiatives utilising innovative tools like Minecraft or engaging with civil society organisations in the MENA region, underscored the collective commitment of GCA to amplify voices for climate justice and advocate for future generations. In a world grappling with unprecedented environmental challenges, the Global Campus Alumni Conference in Athens served as a significant milestone. It provided participants from around the globe, as well as esteemed local representatives, with the opportunity to collaboratively develop new plans and ideas regarding climate justice.

Stay tuned for further updates and outcomes from this impactful collaboration of impressive minds as GCA continues its mission to advocate for a just and sustainable future. Learn more about the GC Alumni Climate Justice Programme and activities implemented by the seven regional associations: 

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