15 Harvard Students Receive Funding to Attend COP28  

With funding from the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, students from across Harvard University prepare to attend the critical global climate change conference in Dubai.
Oct 12, 2023

The 15 students receiving grants to travel to the 28th annual Conference of Parties (COP 28) in Dubai represent a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines – but they share a common motivation to experience the world’s most important climate negotiations firsthand. The COP offers students a unique experiential learning opportunity as they observe international climate negotiations and engage with an international cohort of stakeholders working on climate change.  

The COP Student Observers Funding Pilot Program, supported by the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, provides travel funding and related programming to Harvard University students attending these annual meetings.  

Meet the students headed to COP28 this year: 

Abdullah Al-Shakarchi, Harvard Business School

“My work is focused on the energy transition. I can’t wait to meet others across policy, industry and academia tackling the issue to form connections, learn from their expertise and brainstorm together. In particular, I look forward to exploring the latest in public-private sector partnerships and capital pools available to fund early stage climate tech projects.”

Dennis Cha, Harvard Business School

“I am excited to witness the historic convention of world leaders in action to accelerate climate solutions and hold each other accountable as we fight against the greatest threat to humankind.”

Louis Guerin, Harvard Kennedy School

“I am looking forward to using my time at COP28 to learn more about innovative climate finance mechanisms to accelerate clean infrastructure deployment.”

Sadok Kechaou, Harvard Business School

I‘m excited about attending COP28, where I can witness the climate discussions from an insider’s perspective. It’s a chance to absorb knowledge, make connections, and drive real-world impact.”

Madeleine Kline, Harvard Medical School

“I am eager to meet global experts on the impacts of climate change on health, discuss the clean energy transition, and loss and damages in the context of health and healthcare. I am also excited to network with other medical students to leverage our voices as the next generation of healthcare workers towards a more equitable future for our patients.”

Grace Lam, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School; co-founder of NetaCarbon, a climate tech startup incubated at the Harvard Innovation Labs

“I’m excited to be part of the conversation around Article 6 and, more broadly, how carbon finance can be utilized to accelerate climate transition in the Global South. This will be my first COP experience – I am committed to learning from indigenous and vulnerable communities in the global climate discussions.”

Akshay Nambiar, Harvard Kennedy School

“At COP28, I intend to follow Climate Finance, Sustainable Agriculture and Youth Empowerment thematically in addition to the Global Stocktake, which will be a pivotal moment for the plenary to reflect and act on its progress.

Moreover, I’m keen to engage with delegates to understand the evolving landscape of capital mobilization towards clean energy transition, especially by enhancing incentives for the private sector to contribute towards public good.”

Lucas Peilert, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School

My professional and academic focus is on sustainable mobility, and I’m excited to connect with leaders in transportation decarbonization at the COP. But I’m also excited to learn from climate leaders outside the transportation sector – cross-sector coordination is critical, and there’s tremendous potential to learn how tools from different sectors might be applied in other areas.”

Alisha Shaparia, Harvard Kennedy School

“In light of the Global Stocktake findings and discussions on de-globalization, I’m excited to return to the COP to explore how an extended role for global trade can promote carbon competitiveness and climate justice at the inaugural COP28 Trade Day!”

Hugh Shirley, Harvard Medical School

Outside of the COP’s official negotiations, there is a community of people from around the world who create a space to learn, share, grow, and connect with each other over a sense of urgency surrounding the climate crisis. 

I am most looking forward to engaging with fellow students and individuals who are early in their careers and are pushing community leaders to respond to the climate crisis.”

Riad El Soufi, Harvard Graduate School of Design

“Attending COP28 represents a significant milestone in my journey as a committed advocate for environmental sustainability and a professional specializing in climate technology. 

My primary goal is to glean insights from global communities, talks and experts to cultivate a holistic understanding of climate change challenges and opportunities and apply them going forward in my professional and social activism endeavors.”

Emily Tench, Harvard Kennedy School

“I’m really excited to attend COP28 and work to advance financing for climate adaptation globally.”

Cara Yu, Harvard College

“I am deeply invested in learning the intricacies of effective climate lobbying and engagement. 

At COP28, I plan to actively engage in negotiations surrounding fossil fuel phaseout, with a specific focus on treaties and national and international finance mechanisms. Additionally, I eagerly anticipate participating in discussions related to Youth, Women, and Citizen Engagement, as well as Food Finance.”

Cynthia Yue, Harvard Kennedy School

“As an Asian American raised in a rural community, I am looking forward to amplifying the voices of American youth from historically underrepresented communities at COP28 and learning about solutions to the climate crisis and its intersections with health, finance, and policy.”

Angela Zhong, Harvard College

“I am so thankful to the Salata Institute for helping me in pursuing my interest in multilateral climate negotiations! I would not be able to go without their generous support. I look forward to reconnecting with the youth climate movement via side-events and meeting the other Harvard delegates.”