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Honorary degree citation - Christiana Figueres

By: William Cheaib, June 2015

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, so that you may confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Ms. Figueres is a leading figure in international efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainability. She will be addressing our graduating class by video from the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference that is currently taking place in Bonn, Germany.

Christiana Figueres mène depuis de nombreuses années une brillante carrière dans le domaine de la durabilité.

Elle participe d'ailleurs aux négociations sur les changements climatiques depuis les années 90. Forte d'une vaste expérience de travail auprès de gouvernements et d'organisations non gouvernementales, Mme Figueres a fréquemment agi en qualité de conseillère pour le secteur privé.

Elle a, en outre, siégé au conseil d'administration de nombreuses ONG du secteur de la protection du climat et signé des documents phares sur la conception des solutions climatiques.

Ms. Figueres is also a lecturer and widely published author on the design of climate solutions.

A native of Costa Rica, Ms. Figueres began her life of public service at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Germany in 1982. She has served in roles that include Director of International Cooperation at Costa Rica's Ministry of Planning, as well as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture. In 1995, she founded and directed the Centre for Sustainable Development of the Americas, a non-profit think tank.

From 2008 to 2009 she was a member of the Executive Board of the United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism, which is designed to help countries meet emission reduction objectives. Ms. Figueres has served as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2010.

She has directed four consecutive successful Conferences of the Parties, and is now charged with the intergovernmental process to deliver the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

The selection of Ms. Figueres for the honorary degree tonight continues Concordia's efforts and commitment to sustainability. This year, the award is all the more fitting, as Montreal was recently selected to be the global hub for Future Earth, a major international research platform focused on sustainable development. The Global hub and Executive Secretariat for Future Earth will be housed at Concordia.

Many of our students, faculty and staff are hard at work addressing the challenges facing sustainability. For our community, and for our graduates today, Ms. Figueres is certainly an inspiring role model.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Ms. Christiana Figueres, who will now address the graduating class by video from the UN Climate Change Conference in Germany.

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