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Perry World House on Oct. 15, 2020. Credit: Max Mester

The Perry World House will host a panel of experts, including two Penn alumni, to explain the role of United Nations summits in furthering climate policies.

The event "Super Size Me: How Massive UN Summits Advance Policy Agendas" will be held at 4 p.m. in a hybrid format — in the World Forum and on Zoom. It will be moderated by Perry World House Senior Faculty Fellow and Director of Post-Graduate Programs Michael Weisberg, featuring speakers 1989 Engineering graduate Lolita Jackson, 1998 College graduate Elizabeth Yee, and Koko Warner.

The speakers will share their own experiences advocating for the climate agenda, and the strategies for impacting policy both at summits behind closed doors — in the “blue zone" — and in the public “green zone.”

“There’s something called the ‘blue zone’ where that’s the actual negotiation and negotiators from other countries steer those negotiations to happen," Jackson said. "The ‘green zone’ is companies, NGOs, and other entities that want to make sure that they’re supporting the goals of the negotiations.” 

While UN Climate Negotiations have resulted in successes like the Paris Agreement, Weisberg said, they have also received criticism for becoming "too large, too complex, and have too much going on beyond the core negotiations."

“Our speakers will address this from different angles: from the UN, from the NGO world, and from the private sector. I am very interested to hear their reflections," Weisberg said.

Jackson is the Executive Director of Communications & Sustainable Cities for Sustainable Development Capital, a billion-dollar London-based climate finance and investment firm. Koko Warner is an expert on climate change risks, impacts, and resilience at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat. Elizabeth Yee is the Executive Vice President, Program Strategy, and Chief of Staff at the Rockefeller Foundation and oversees the Foundation’s portfolio of global programs. 

“The goal for this event, as with many others in this space, is to bring together the insights of academic researchers working on climate issues and policymakers,” Weisberg said. 

The Perry World House will follow the University’s current COVID-19 guidelines — access to the hybrid event is open to the public as well as the Penn community.

“In order to solve the climate crisis, you need all elements of society engaged and involved,” Jackson said. You do not need to be a climate scientist to be involved in helping the climate. There’s a role for anybody who wants to be involved, no matter what you’re studying.”