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American University of Sharjah is Gearing up for COP28

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The American University of Sharjah (AUS) is gearing up for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) opening November 30 at Expo City in Dubai. Focusing on the importance of youth participation and the pivotal role of education in accelerating progress to achieve global climate ambitions, AUS students, faculty and staff will be engaging in a myriad of events and activities in hubs located in COP28’s publicly accessible Green Zone.

In the Greening Education Hub – (Erth), Legacy from the Land of Zayed, hosted by the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Greening Education Partnership with its secretariat at UNESCO, AUS faculty will share their expertise on incorporating sustainability into curricula. They will participate in panel discussions on eco-literacy, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), using the activity-based learning approach FunDoo-GreenPal to enhance adolescents’ digital climate action skills, implementing the Greening Education Partnership in Higher Education, and the role of scientific research and research networks in climate change. AUS has been particularly successful in integrating sustainability into the curriculum, with approximately 72 per cent of all AUS undergraduate and graduate courses having at least some component related to sustainability. 

The AUS Office of Sustainability will lead a joint panel discussion with sustainability professionals from New York University Abu Dhabi and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi on the progress made in measuring and tracking greenhouse gas emissions in higher education institutions in the UAE.

Visitors to the Greening Education Hub will also learn about the sustainability-focused research of AUS students and faculty, including the prominent work of the university’s Dana Gas Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Petrofac Research Chair in Renewable Energy and Riad T. Sadek Chair in Civil Engineering. AUS’ commitment to advanced research and academic excellence will also be underscored as it spotlights its PhD programs in bioscience and engineering, and materials science and engineering, as well as its three newly established research institutes: the Energy, Water and Sustainable Environment Research Center in the College of Engineering; the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Development in the School of Business Administration; and the Materials Research Center in the College of Arts and Sciences.

AUS students will tackle some of the issues closest to the hearts of the youth at the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) Pavilion in the Climate Finance Hub, from youth ambitions for climate action, climate impact on culture and national identity, eco-anxiety and eco-grief in a climate crisis, to smart cities and UAE youth perspectives on learnings from COP.

AUS student work will also be on display at the Dubai Municipality Pavilion and the Prototypes for Humanity project. AUS will also be present at COP28’s exclusive Blue Zone, the formal conference and negotiation space managed by the UNFCCC. Julia Carlow, Acting Head of AUS Sustainability, will represent AUS in a UAE Alliance for Climate Action (UACA) event on “One Year of Impact: UAE Alliance for Climate Action.” A group of AUS faculty members will also take part in a workshop on climate policy science addressing the gaps analysis of climate change research in the UAE.

As a member of the Universities Climate Network (UCN) and UACA, AUS has been actively engaged in the lead-up to COP28, co-hosting the Conference of Youth 18 (COY18), the largest youth conference on multilateral UN climate processes, in Dubai from November 26-28.  AUS students will also participate in the Student Energy Summit (SES) held November 29-December 1 under the theme “Reimagining the Future.”

AUS has also held many activities to engage its community in the lead up to COP28. The most prominent of these programs is the launch of a Green Living and Learning Community for students in its residential halls, the Expo City Climate Ambassador Program, the Shams Media Day on “Climate Immediacy” as well as a “Climate Action Awareness Day” for Sharakah School students. 

“Universities can be powerful catalysts for change by integrating sustainability in the classroom, fostering impactful research and innovation, and championing environmental practices within their own operations. Our many activities in the lead-up to this global conference and our diverse participation in COP28 reflect the many aspects that led AUS to become a sustainability education forerunner. AUS believes in advocating for policies that support sustainability and climate education both within the institution and beyond. It is through these collaborative efforts that we play a pivotal role in instilling a sense of responsibility and stewardship in the leaders of tomorrow,” said Carlow.

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