Coinciding with COP27, the third edition of the School Conference of Parties Exposition (SCOPE) was recently held at GEMS Legacy School and GEMS World Academy – Dubai respectively.
A first-of-its-kind forum for student voice and action against climate change, SCOPE was launched in 2020 and was this year held both in person as well as virtually for some 380 students from 22 schools spread across the UAE and overseas.
Providing a collaborative space for students of all ages to learn from each other as they exchange ideas and opinions, SCOPE challenges young people to find solutions linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
This year’s event engaged students in wide-ranging inclusive, collaborative activities, from sustainable diet and fashion, design and innovation, to climate change research, speech writing and delivery, storytelling and more.
Describing the event, Hana Mohamed Suneer, the GEMS Global Student Ambassador and a Grade 6 pupil at GEMS Legacy School, said: “An opportunity. An impact. A tribute. A journey. A goal. A forum to exchange problems and solutions. A platform for climate change mitigation. A chance to leave a positive impact on people and nature. To me, SCOPE 2022 was not just an exposition. To me, it was a revolution.”
Andre Cherian, a Year 11 student at GEMS Winchester School – Dubai, said: “SCOPE 2022 was an eye-opening and astonishing event to say the least. A multitude of schools taking part in a conference tackling some of the biggest crises facing today’s world. I participated in Markup, a competition in which students pitched their innovative business idea to a team of eager investors. Climate change and sustainability were the main focal points – the core issues that must be addressed in the modern era to cope and ultimately sustain life for future generations. SCOPE is an opportunity for young minds to showcase their creativity, innovation and passion for sustainable development. I gained a lot of knowledge, skills and the drive for learning thanks to my incredible experience at SCOPE.”
Sahila Yaqoob, a Grade 8 student who attended the event remotely from her school, DPS Budgam, in India, said: “Change your deeds, or else nature will force you to change. Small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. SCOPE 2022 was a wonderful platform to showcase our talent and spread awareness of how to save Mother Earth. We were delighted to be a part of SCOPE 2022 and share ideas on what nations must do to move toward a sustainable future.”
Asha Alexander, Executive Leader – Climate Change for GEMS Education and Principal of GEMS Legacy School, which was the first school in the world to have its entire faculty become UN-certified Climate Change Teachers, said: “As COP27 draws to a close, GEMS Education raises the curtains on how education and youth can help change the narrative for effective climate action. SCOPE and the GEMS Global Ambassadors programme serve to bring school students together to discuss and debate climate action. They are springboards for young people to act in response to the urgent and dramatic challenges that the planet faces. Initiatives such as SCOPE, as well as efforts to embed climate literacy in schools, aim to bring about the personal and societal transformation that is necessary to change the course of climate adversity.”
Also in attendance were Dino Varkey, GEMS Education’s Group CEO, Dr Saima Rana, Chief Education Officer for GEMS Education, and Zafar Raja, GEMS Education’s Chief Operating Officer.
SCOPE is the brainchild of Ms Alexander, who, having represented GEMS and the UAE at COP25 in Madrid and observed that schools and education were at the peripherals of COP, set out to create a space where young people could share ideas, perspectives and actions on climate change.
Over the years, SCOPE has seen the voices of its participating youth get stronger and louder as more and more young people rightly claim their role as important players in the global climate change policymaking process.
The first SCOPE was held virtually in October 2020, involving students from schools across the world. The event empowered participants with high levels of climate change awareness, deep climate change research and collaborative global problem-solving skills.
Following the launch of SCOPE, GEMS Legacy School has developed a host of new partnerships and initiatives, including the ‘Plant a Legacy’ and ‘Plogging’ beach clean-up programmes.