• 8th UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encourages youth to make voices heard
• GEMS Legacy School will host 40 schools and 500 delegates from five countries
• Keynote speakers include leaders from UNITAR, Dulsco and Siemens Middle East
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 27 October 2021: GEMS Legacy School will host its second School Conference of Parties (SCOPE) global student sustainability event featuring 40 schools and 500 delegates from five countries, with an opening ceremony in the Siemens Centre at the Al Wasl Dome, Expo 2020 Dubai.
Building on the success of last year's inaugural event, where students were inspired by the world's youngest green activist, Licypriya Kangujam, this year's conference promises to equip the students with opportunities to share sustainable solutions with members of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). They will debate topics such as climate capitalism and how social cohesion can answer climate change deniers and promote sustainable fashion.
The three-day event will take place from Tuesday 26 October-Thursday 28 October, and will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Key speakers include Christina Rekakavas, UNITAR/UN CC: Learn Secretariat; Franco Atassi, CEO Smart Infrastructure at Siemens Middle East; David Stockton, CEO, Dulsco and Dino Varkey, Group CEO, GEMS Education.
The event, which takes place just a few days before the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop 26), has gathered global recognition as a notable international sustainability inter-school event supported by the UN, and is becoming a regular fixture on the schools' summit calendar.
Ban Ki-moon, eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “I am happy and encouraged to see that young people and their schools all over the world are increasingly coming together to address and take action against climate change. Events such as SCOPE 2021 give youth the platform to amplify their voices, share their ideas and inspire their peers. Combined with the climate literacy now being taught in schools, the efforts and actions of young people and their teachers have the power to make a real, lasting difference.”
Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman, GEMS Education, said: “Nothing is more critical than the fight against climate change and our battle to preserve the health of our planet. All other challenges pale by comparison. And at the heart of that fight – by virtue of the fact that it is they who will be worst affected should we fail in our collective mission – are the students in our schools today. It is fitting, therefore, that it is young people who are taking centre stage in SCOPE 2021, following in the footsteps of inspirational peers such as Greta Thunberg, but also leading in their own unique capacities.
“As education leaders and responsible adults, it is our duty to hear, empower and support these young activists to the full extent, instilling in them resilience, care and compassion, arming them with understanding and belief in their innate abilities. Above all, we must demonstrate to them in no uncertain terms that we are ready to forge a different path from the mistakes of the past, so that we may together create the bright future that our children and their children so abundantly deserve.”
GEMS Legacy School, formerly the Kindergarten Starters School, is a pioneer of the eco-curriculum, and was recognised as the world's first UN climate-change certified school. The school, led by Principal/CEO Asha Alexander, has introduced an eco-literacy curriculum and all the students are taught by official Climate Change Teachers. Ms Alexander has spearheaded the school's sustainability drive, is a leader in climate change education, and has been invited to speak at COP26 in a virtual event hosted by UNESCO and UNITAR.
Asha Alexander, Principal / CEO at GEMS Legacy School and Executive Leader - Climate Change, said: “SCOPE offers a collaborative platform for students to begin thinking about and implementing an agenda focused on developing deeper understanding of the numerous ways human action can help sustain a balanced planet. This will help build the mindsets of the world's young people to be the drivers now, and in the future, of climate-smart nations. SCOPE has not only helped to improve students' understanding of climate change, but also empowered them to become agents of change for climate action in their school community and beyond.”