“Humanitarian Action & Climate Change,” Sept. 30 – Oct. 2

“Humanitarian Action & Climate Change,” Sept. 30 – Oct. 2

Flood waters wash over a roadway.

Fairfield University will host the "Humanitarian Action & Climate Change" conference in the Dolan School of Business Event Hall L01.

Registration is now open for the 7th Biennial JUHAN Student Leadership Conference, a hybrid event that will take place in person at Fairfield University and connect virtually with students and faculty at five collaborating Jesuit universities.

Students, faculty, and staff from Jesuit colleges and universities across the country will convene, both in person and virtually, for the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN)’s conference “Humanitarian Action and Climate Change,” at Fairfield University on the evenings of Thursday, Sept. 30 and Friday, October 1, and on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 2.

"We are thrilled to be gathering student, faculty and staff from across our JUHAN network to hear from some of the most respected leaders in the field of climate change and its intersection with humanitarian action," said Julie Mughal, associate director for Humanitarian Action in Fairfield’s Center for Social Impact at Fairfield University. "Climate change is an issue that affects all of us, especially those in the most vulnerable situations, and is a major precipitator of global displacement. Students will not just learn and engage during the three-day conference but develop tangible actions to address sustainability and climate change issues on each of our campuses."

The conference agenda features student skill-building modules, action planning sessions, and guest speakers, facilitated by Foundations for Environmental Stewardship (FES), a youth-serving sustainable development organization founded by 28-year-old climate change activist and policy advocate to the United Nations, Steve Lee.

Lee, along with Christiana Zenner, PhD, associate professor of theology, science, and ethics at Fordham University, will open the conference and familiarize participants with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”

The call to action is clear: in April, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock noted, “Climate change is already one of the top drivers of humanitarian need and human suffering, alongside conflict and disease — both of which, by the way, are exacerbated by climate change.”

The following day, during faculty and student “Changemakers Panels,” panelists will share ideas with attendees on how to become sustainability champions on their campuses and in their neighborhoods. Faculty panelists will include Fairfield assistant professor of physics Robert Nazarian, PhD. A keynote address on Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, “Laudato si’ and the Seven-Year Plan,” will set the stage for the final morning’s Action Model Plan Workshop, in which participants will learn how to innovate and implement SDG projects.

The Laudato si’ action platform has been described by Rev. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, SBD, coordinator of Ecology and Creation at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, as “a single global framework that unites our distinct experiences and perspectives under one umbrella, promoting local and sectoral initiatives to the fullest possible extent and developing each member of the human family to lead in his or her own way.”

JUHAN was launched in 2006 by Fairfield, Fordham, and Georgetown Universities to raise awareness and jointly address the needs of those who are suffering in the face of humanitarian crises. Since its founding, JUHAN has found an administrative home at Fairfield University and will convene the upcoming 2021 conference with the support and collaboration of colleagues from The College of the Holy Cross, Fordham University, University of Scranton, John Carroll University, and Loyola University Chicago. Students who attend the full conference will receive an FES certificate of participation.

For Fairfield University students, faculty, and staff who wish to attend in person, the conference will take place in the Dolan School of Business Event Hall, L01. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit fairfield.edu/socialimpact.

Conference: "Humanitarian Action & Climate Change"

Date: Thursday, Sept. 30 – Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021
Time: Thurs. & Fri.: 5–8 p.m., Sat.: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Location: Attend virtually or in person at the Dolan School of Business Event Hall L01

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