Global Citizen NOW: Climate Sessions is a thought leadership series amid UNGA Week aimed at driving action towards investing in a green transition and protecting access to education in the face of rapid climate change.

Program Details

8:00 AM

Check-In & Breakfast

Please check-in upon arrival to Guastavino's with a valid ID and enjoy breakfast on the first floor.

9:00 AM

Welcome to Global Citizen NOW: Climate Sessions

SPEAKERS: Fran Katsoudas, Hugh Evans

9:05 AM

Keynote Address

SPEAKER: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen

9:15 AM

Class is Canceled: Protecting Access to Education in the Face of Rapid Climate Change 

MODERATOR: Pashtana Durrani
SPEAKERS: Rose Kirk, Yasmine Sherif, Chernor Bah, Emanuela Claudia Del Re

Take Action

The climate crisis disrupts the education of 40 million children each year. In this session, Education Cannot Wait and Global Citizen will discuss how the climate crisis, conflicts, and record-breaking displacement overlap, putting millions of young people’s futures at risk. We will explore inspiring case studies, funding models, and policy initiatives that showcase how businesses and governments can better collaborate to create policies that integrate climate resilience and education continuity while also building funding mechanisms that encourage private sector investment in climate-resilient education infrastructure. We will also explore how governments and the private sector can work together to develop innovative technologies that enhance remote learning and education continuity during climate-related disruptions. Please join us to unpack how these partnerships can not only enrich educational experiences but also cultivate a generation ready to lead the charge against climate challenges.

10:00 AM

Networking & Refreshments

10:30 AM

Partnerships To #PowerOurPlanet: Working Together to Address Climate Change NOW

MODERATOR: Alok Sharma
SPEAKERS: Mary de Wysocki, Patricia Zurita, Surbhi Martin, Xiye Bastida

Take Action

The world stands at a crossroads. As inequality and climate change threaten to undo a generation’s progress on extreme poverty, it is clear that the private sector and civil society must combine their expertise, resources, and influence to accelerate transformative action on a global scale. In this discussion, leaders from business and civil society will share case studies and initiatives where collaboration has led to significant positive outcomes, including emissions reduction, sustainable practices, and community engagement. We will explore specific examples of how unique partnerships between companies and civil society have unlocked innovative financing models, public-private partnerships, and leveraged the use of technology to scale up climate projects. We will also address the challenges and barriers that may impede successful collaboration between the private sector and civil society and ways to overcome trust deficits, ensuring an inclusive and equitable approach to climate action. 

11:15 AM

Networking & Refreshments

11:35 AM

Green Energy Playbook: Ending Extreme Poverty By Investing in Countries on the Forefront of Climate Change

MODERATOR: Michael Sheldrick
SPEAKERS: Bogolo Kenewendo, Rodrigo Salvado, Joseph Mwakima, Sonia Guajajara

Take Action

In an era where the global community faces unprecedented environmental challenges, the private sector has emerged as a critical force in shaping the trajectory of climate solutions and the transition to a green economy. While science-based targets, net zero commitments, and decarbonizing the global economy are a critical first step for the private sector, investment in sustainable infrastructure and resilient communities are an essential next step.  For example, we know that when the private sector invests in climate infrastructure, it also has the potential to create new jobs for youth and women, especially in countries most affected by climate change. The energy transition must not leave anyone behind as it creates major opportunities for green jobs and new industries. In this discussion we will explore what it really means to go beyond net zero targets and make transformative climate investments in the most vulnerable communities. This exclusive session brings together visionary leaders from the private sector, civil society and government to explore innovative strategies and opportunities that harness the power of business to combat climate change while fostering sustainable growth. 

12:20 PM

Fireside Chat: The Role of the United States in Addressing Rapid Climate Change

SPEAKER: Ali Zaidi

This will be a lightning conversation to discuss the state of United States leadership in addressing rapid climate change. Topics include the role of the US in cutting global emissions, how to build more climate resilient communities given the recent devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, and how the private sector can best ensure local communities, especially indigenous communities, are able to benefit from the voluntary carbon market.

12:35 PM

Breakout Sessions

Join fellow attendees for a robust and collaborative conversation reflecting on the three Global Citizen NOW: Climate Sessions panels. Your name tag has a color coded sticker which correlates to the table you have been assigned to. 

1:05 PM

Reflections from Breakout Sessions

1:15 PM

Keynote Address

SPEAKER: President of Ghana Akufo-Addo

1:25 PM

Closing Remarks

SPEAKER: Liza Henshaw

1:30 PM


Please join us for a vegetarian buffet lunch on the first floor. 

2:00 PM

End of Global Citizen NOW: Climate Sessions

Speakers & Moderators

Fran Katsoudas

EVP and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer, Cisco

Hugh Evans

Co-Founder and CEO, Global Citizen

Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission

Pashtana Durrani

Executive Director, LEARN Afghanistan, 2023 Global Citizen Prize Winner

Yasmine Sherif

Executive Director, Education Cannot Wait

Rose Kirk

Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon 

Chernor Bah

Minister Of Information and Civic Education, Government of Sierra Leone

Emanuela Claudia Del Re

European Union Special Representative for the Sahel

Alok Sharma

COP26 President and Member of UK Parliament

Mary de Wysocki

Chief Sustainability Officer, Cisco

Xiye Bastida

Co-Founder and Climate Activist, Re-Earth Initiative

Patricia Zurita

Chief Strategy Officer, Conservation International

Surbhi Martin

Senior Vice President, Danone

Michael Sheldrick

Co-Founder, Chief Government Affairs, Policy, and Impact Officer, Global Citizen

Rodrigo Salvado 

Director General, Operational Partnership Department, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Joseph Mwakima

Community Relations Officer, Wildlife Works

Sonia Guajajara

Minister of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil  

Bogolo Kenewendo

UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ Special Advisor, Africa Director

Bill Nye

Bill Nye, Science Educator and CEO of The Planetary Society, Global Citizen Ambassador

Ali Zaidi

White House National Climate Advisor

Nana Akufo-Addo

President Of Ghana

Liza Henshaw

President, Global Citizen

Lucas Turner

Senior Director of Global Corporate Partnerships, Global Citizen

A very special thank you to all of our panelists, moderators and keynote speakers. Thank you to our co-host and Global Partner, Cisco, and to Education Cannot Wait, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Wildlife Works and Two Good - Danone North America, for making Global Citizen NOW: Climate Sessions possible.