( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Renowned Climate Activist and HBCU Green Fund Founder, Felicia Davis Unveils Empowering Global Youth Initiatives at COP28
Distinguished climate activist and founder of the HBCU Green Fund, Felicia Davis, made waves at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, showcasing the organization’s unwavering commitment to global climate action and youth empowerment. In a momentous press conference, Davis announced the official opening of the HBCU Green Fund’s new Africa office in Senegal and unveiled plans for the third annual Pre-COP Africa, African American Youth Climate Summit, scheduled for June 2024 in Dakar.
“Establishing a significant presence in Africa positions HBCU Green Fund to give voice to people most impacted by climate change and help cultivate innovative youth leadership,” commented Davis on this groundbreaking initiative.
Cheikhou Thiome, HBCU Green Fund’s Africa director, added, “Our Pre-COP29 summit will bring young leaders, activists, and innovators from the United States and across Africa together in Dakar, Senegal, to engage in constructive dialogues, share insights, and ignite climate action.”
The Managing Director of HBCU Green Fund, Illai Kenney, shared insights into the organization’s extensive involvement at COP28. Eight delegates from the United States, credentialed through partner Omega Institute, and network representatives from 12 African countries actively participated. Kenney emphasized the HBCU Green Fund’s dedication to empowering future leaders through supporting youth-led projects in Africa and the US.
“We have a unique Eco Spring Break program that is a service-learning experience connecting HBCU students with peers in West Africa. The program involves hands-on environmental restoration projects, offering students, faculty, and alumni the chance to plant trees, dig wells, plant gardens, and gain firsthand experience in addressing environmental challenges,” said Kenney.
The press conference featured notable figures such as Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, executive vice president of the National Wildlife Federation, Hussein Kassim, Ghana project director, Sharon Gakii Mureithi, Kenya project director, and Denise Ayebare, Uganda local youth coordinator.
Apart from the press conference, HBCU Green Fund delegates actively contributed to multiple COP28 side events. Davis delivered a powerful keynote speech at the Uganda Pavilion, emphasizing the role of youth in addressing the climate crisis. She also participated in panel discussions and side events organized by young climate leaders from various African countries.
Reflecting on COP28’s outcomes, Davis remarked, “A stronger commitment to phasing out fossil fuels remains a reach; however, acknowledging the need to transition away from fossil fuels is still a small step forward. Ultimately, it is action rather than rhetoric that will make the difference for vulnerable communities already impacted by climate change.”
The HBCU Green Fund’s impactful presence at COP28 reflects its dedication to global climate action, sustainability, and empowering the next generation of leaders in the fight against climate change. For more information on the HBCU Green Fund, Sustainable Africa Network, or the 2024 Pre-COP Africa, African American Youth Climate Summit, visit hbcugreenfund.org or follow @hbcugreenfund on social media.