Antiguan Mya Symister among 2024 Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy Cohort


PRESS RELEASE: Island Innovation Announces 2024 Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy Cohort

Island Innovation has announced the selection of 48 young people from across the region to take part in its 2024 Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy (CCJLA). Following a strict application process that saw hundreds of applicants, the cohort features participants from every CARICOM nation, in addition to other territories.

The full list of the selected applicants is at the end of this release.

The Programme is funded by the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

The Caribbean region faces unprecedented challenges due to climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and ecological degradation. Set to start in June, the programme is aimed at building participants’ knowledge of environmental sustainability, climate resilience, international policies and how they impact the Caribbean. A diverse array of expert speakers will deliver lectures to the cohort throughout the 5-month course.

Five exceptional participants will be selected to attend COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan with all expenses covered, the remainder of the cohort will take part in Island Innovation’s annual COP virtual pavilion, which covers the two-week event and the latest developments related to islands.

Speaking on their selection as part of the 2023 cohort that went to Dubai for COP28, Yemi Knight, 2023 CCJLA member from Barbados said, “Attending COP28 was an eye-opening and awe-inspiring experience for me. The sheer magnitude of nearly 40 thousand people from diverse backgrounds coming together in one place with a shared purpose was incredibly powerful. Staying grounded in my values and aspirations while navigating the bustling atmosphere of COP allowed me to glean invaluable insights and connections. It reinforced the notion that despite the enormity of global challenges, collective action and shared determination can pave the way for meaningful progress.”

Muskaan Khemani, 2023 CCJLA member from Curaçao added “[The Academy] was life-changing. I got connected with people from across the Caribbean, and I stopped feeling alone. I felt that my experiences, struggles, desires, and work was shared from people across the Caribbean, and I felt like I belonged somewhere. At COP28, I was able to solidify working relationships with ministerial representatives, and this led to a pilot project where I will be mapping out Land Surface Temperature at the neighborhood level across the island. Along with Oriana Wouters (2023 CCJLA member from Aruba), we are also working together to conduct a retrospective study of their islands to assist in the ratification of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.

Island Innovation CEO James Ellsmoor commented, “The amount of interest we have received from the region’s young people in participating in the 2024 Academy has been nothing short of extraordinary. Our first cohort in 2023 highlighted just how determined Caribbean youth are to building an equitable future, as well as how keen public and private organizations across the region were to support them. Workable sustainable solutions for effective climate action start with collaboration – the Academy is a great catalyser for that. I look forward to seeing the 2024 cohort in action through the upcoming months.

To learn more about the Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy, please visit:

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