International Forum on Higher Education and the Climate Crisis

A celebratory event showcasing and discussing the findings of the four-year Global Challenges Research Fund project Climate-U, jointly hosted by University College London, UK and the ACU.

Pexels Guilherme Christmann 16313103 (1)
18 Oct 2023
Woburn House, London, UK

20-24 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9HF
United Kingdom

Transforming universities for a changing climate

Climate change is widely recognised as the most critical challenge of our time. However, the many effects of climate change are felt most strongly in the poorest communities of the world. To avoid devastating impacts, the world needs urgent action in the next decades, with radical shifts by 2050 (IPCC 2018). 

Higher education has a crucial role to play in responding to the climate crisis, not only through carrying out research, but also through teaching, community engagement and public awareness. This forum aims to foster a dynamic exchange of ideas, research findings and interdisciplinary perspectives from prominent speakers and decision makers in climate and education. 

In doing so, it will build on the experiences of fifteen higher education institutions in Brazil, Fiji, Kenya,  India, Indonesia, and Tanzania in a GCRF-funded project (Climate-U), developing participatory action research that brought together local communities with universities to address climate change. 

Please note that this is an in-person and by invitation only event.


Morning session: Celebration with regional focus

09:30 - 10:00

Registration and photography exhibition

10:00 - 10:05 Welcome from the ACU Professor Colin Riordan CBE, Secretary General and Chief Executive, ACU 
10:05 - 10:10 Welcome from UCL Professor Lynn Ang, Pro-Director, Institute of Education, University College London, UK
10:10 - 10:15 Welcome from Climate-U Professor Tristan McCowan, Climate-U Principal Investigator, University College London, UK
10:15 - 11:00

Transforming universities for the climate crisis: key findings from the Climate-U project

Dr Luciana Brandli, Climate-U Co-Investigator, University of Passo Fundo, Brazil

Dr Rosiana Lagi, Climate-U Co-Investigator, University of the South Pacific, Fiji

Dr Jackline Nyerere, Climate-U Co-Investigator, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Dr Alexandre Frediani, International Institute for Environment and Development

11:00 - 11:30

Coffee and regional discussion tables

Brazil, Fiji, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Tanzania and the UK

11:30 - 12:30

Institutional change for climate action – breakout discussions

  1. Climate Learning (Woburn Hall)

Co-facilitated by Prof Salomão Hage (Federal University of Pará, Brazil) and Dr Bibhu Nayak (Tata Institute for Social Sciences, India)

  1. Community Engagement (UUK Boardroom, 1st Floor)

Co-facilitated by Sowmya Balasubramaniam (Hooga Seed Keepers Collective, India) and Dr Almas Mazigo (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) 

  1. Collaborating Internationally (Commonwealth Room, 4th floor)

Facilitated by Dr Aslam Saja, ACU Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch  

Afternoon session: Looking forward

13:30 - 14:00  Keynote address The Honourable Aseri Radrodro, Minister of Education, Fiji
14:00 - 15:00 

Climate justice in practice: breakout discussions


  1. Indigenous Knowledges (Woburn Hall)

Co-facilitated by Sereima Takiveikata (Fiji National University) and Dr John Muchiri (Kenya Methodist University) 

  1. Students as changemakers (UUK Boardroom, 1st floor)

Co-facilitated by Joanna Socha (University College London, UK) and Amanda Lange Salvia (University of Passo Fundo, Brazil)

  1. Engaging non-academic stakeholders (Commonwealth Room, 4th floor)

Facilitated by Aidatu Abubakari, ACU Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort

15:00 - 15:15 

Refreshment break 

15:15 - 16:30 

University leadership for climate action: an international dialogue

Dr Tracey Harjatanaya (Chair), Vice Chancellor of Satya Terra Bhinneka University, Indonesia

Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities

Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, Vice Chancellor of University of London, UK

Professor Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho, Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Pará, Brazil

Professor Paul K. Wainaina, Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta University, Kenya

16:30 - 17:00 

Plenary discussion, next steps and launch of Climate-U network

Professor Tristan McCowan, Climate-U Principal Investigator, University College London, UK
17:00 - 18:00 

Networking and drinks reception  

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