Antigua’s Mya Symister among 10 Caribbean Youth selected to Participate at UN Climate Summit

Island Innovation has announced the 10 members of its Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy (CCJLA) that will be attending the United Nations’ yearly climate summit, COP28, that is being hosted in Dubai.


The organization, with support from the Open Society Foundation, had previously selected 35 young people from every CARICOM nation to take part in the Academy earlier this year.

After a 10-week programme that built their knowledge on environmental sustainability, climate resilience, international policies and how they impact the Caribbean the following participants were chosen (in alphabetical order):

  • Mya Symister, Antigua & Barbuda
  • Luciano Doest, Suriname
  • K. Lisana Dyer, Dominica
  • Kerese Elliott, St. Kitts Nevis
  • Raeann Gervais, Trinidad & Tobago


  • Muskaan Khemani, Curaçao
  • Yemi Knight, Barbados
  • Dejea Lyons, Cayman Islands


  • Christine Samwaroo, Guyana
  • Oriana Wouters, Aruba

Originally planned to be a selection of 5 members, the cohort’s outstanding results and involvement pushed organizers to add an additional 5 participants to the Dubai delegation.


The group will now prepare for its participation in COP28, which is happening between November 30 and December 12, 2023.

While in Dubai the group will participate in panel discussions, meet international delegates and interact with other young climate leaders, providing them with additional skills and experience they can leverage to further their own work in the Caribbean.

“This cohort has been truly inspirational,” commented Island Innovation CEO James Ellsmoor, “It is our first year setting up and running the Academy and we could not have asked for a higher level of participation.


When we look at the effect climate change has on island communities and the lack of representation of these same communities at international events like COP, you realize that there is a need for climate justice – the Academy will help amplify the voice of Caribbean youth, and we are excited to support them at COP28.”


Reflecting on the Academy’s success. Stacey Alvarez de La Campa, Program Manager at Island Innovation said, “Everything about this program was ground-breaking: From the breath-taking diversity of the participants and the nuanced appreciation of the complexities of climate justice, to the powerful levels of personal development and solid bonds of friendship that were forged in mutual respect and empathy.


There was a palpable, enduring confidence that bloomed as everyone felt increasingly empowered, and I am deeply humbled by the qualities of leadership that came shining through from these exceptional young champions of climate justice.”

About the Programme

Following a strict application process that saw hundreds of applicants from across the region, the first cohort was announced by Island Innovation in mid-July with the 35 participants hailing from every CARICOM nation in addition to other territories across the region.

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.

The cohort underwent a 10-week programme aimed at building their knowledge on environmental sustainability, climate resilience, international policies and how they impact the Caribbean.

Speakers included Island Innovation CEO James Ellsmoor, Stop Ecocide Ambassador Nesha Abiraj, author Jeremy Williams, as well as Bajan tech entrepreneur and activist Donnya Piggott.





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  1. All the best. PM GASTON BROWNE ADMINISTRATION has been leading the way on climate change issues. Looking forward to the SIDS CONFERENCE to be held in Antigua next year 🇦🇬 🇦🇬 🇦🇬 🇦🇬

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